Picture this: You wake up late, quickly wash your face, and rush out the door. You get to work, take the first sip of coffee, and finally muster up the courage to look in the mirror. And there it is: Sleep wrinkles on your face and a few on your chest, too. And as the day goes on, they seem to just stick around.
Sleep wrinkles are common. When we’re younger, they disappear quickly — but as we age, they can become a more permanent fixture. But what are sleep wrinkles, exactly, what causes them, and how can you prevent them? Here’s everything you need to know.
According to Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr. Michele Green, “sleep wrinkles are the fine lines and deep folds that result due to repeatedly sleeping in a position that compresses the skin, like sleeping on the side of the body or flat on the stomach as opposed to sleeping on the back.”
Sleeping on the side or on the stomach pulls the skin in different directions than it naturally would be, she explains, typically affecting areas of the body such as the face, and chest, or even causing eye wrinkles. “When we’re younger, we may wake up with visible sleep wrinkles that fade away on their own. As a natural part of the aging process, we lose collagen,” she says. “Collagen is a skin protein that provides the skin with firmness and suppleness as well as contributes to skin elasticity. As collagen is lost over time, skin laxity increases and this makes it more difficult for the skin to “bounce back” after repeated compression. For this reason, permanent sleep wrinkles tend to be correlated with aging.”
As Dr. Green explains, wrinkles caused by sleeping (including chest wrinkles from sleeping) typically happen when sleeping on the side of the body as opposed to flat on the back, because the skin is being pulled in directions that are out of the ordinary throughout the day. “The friction and tugging that occurs through the night when we sleep on our side or on our stomach can contribute to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles on the face as well as on the chest,” she says.
If you want to avoid wrinkles while sleeping, there are a few easy action steps you can take ASAP.
Sorry, side sleepers, but side sleeping causes wrinkles. So one of the first action steps you can take is to change your sleeping position.
“Sleeping on your back is the best way to prevent the formation of sleep wrinkles,” Dr. Green says. “Sleeping flat on the back eliminates any compression of the face and chest that would occur in other sleeping positions, alleviating pressure on these areas of the body that contributes to the development of sleep wrinkles.”
If sleeping on your back feels impossible (or if you want to put some extra prevention measures in place), try sleeping with silk sheets and pillows.
“Silk is a hypoallergenic and tightly woven fabric that’s similar in pH to human skin, making it soothing, gentle, and protective for the skin during a night’s rest,” Dr. Green says. “The smooth properties of silk help to minimize friction against the skin, ultimately reducing friction and helping to prevent the formation of wrinkles and fine lines that can be caused by fabric pulling on the skin when tossing and turning overnight. Using a silk pillowcase and eye mask can make a big difference in your beauty regimen!”
Proper skin care is crucial to preventing and treating sleep wrinkles, too. Topical treatments like retinoids (vitamin A) or night creams can be helpful, and Dr. Green recommends skin-resurfacing lasers, too.
“The laser is used to create controlled, precise micro-injuries in the skin, triggering the natural wound healing process of the skin,” she explains. “Through this process, new collagen and elastin are produced, ultimately resulting in a smoother skin texture and a reduction in the overall appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”
Other more invasive options can include fillers or Botox, according to Dr. Green.
While sleep wrinkles are common as we age and our skin begins to lose collagen, there’s a lot you can do to minimize wrinkles. So work on becoming a back sleeper, invest in a silk pillowcase, and load up on the right skincare products. You’ve got this!
*All referenced results are based on an 8-week U.S. clinical and consumer study.
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*information is taken from The Skincare Source.