Preventing “Sleep Wrinkles”

Slowing down the aging process is always a popular topic among Dr. Joshua Greenwald’s patients. Many want to know how they can minimize these pesky lines and prevent future lines from forming. Dr. Greenwald offers insight into what are known as “sleep wrinkles,” explaining how they are different from expression wrinkles and the steps to take to minimize them.

Sleep Wrinkles vs. Expression Wrinkles

Most wrinkles, known as expression wrinkles, are caused by the repetition of certain facial expressions over a long period of time. When a muscle contracts to make a facial expression like squinting, frowning or furrowing the brows, the overlying skin develops a wrinkle. For example, consider the Frontalis muscle, which extends vertically up and down the forehead and is responsible for lifting the eyebrows. When the muscle moves to create a surprised or disappointed expression, the forehead skin develops horizontal lines and wrinkles. These can deepen over time. Expression wrinkles are commonly treated with cosmetic injectables (e.g., Botox), laser skin resurfacing or, if they are severe enough, facial plastic surgery.

Sleep wrinkles are not attributed to muscle movement. They develop from repeated forces of stress or compression caused by the position of the head during sleep. For example, sleeping on one’s side or stomach puts tension on certain areas of the skin and leads to lines and wrinkles. Sleep wrinkles typically don’t develop as often in people that sleep primarily on their back, as this position puts the least amount of pressure or tension on the facial skin.

Prevention Is Key

It is very difficult to prevent sleep wrinkles because we cannot always control our sleeping position. You may start out with good intentions sleeping on your back, and then change position 10 times as you sleep, ending up on your stomach or sides. There are pillows that claim to reduce pressure on the facial skin during sleep, but they are not always the most comfortable.

There are things you can do in your daily life to slow down the development of wrinkles.

Smoking and sun exposure are two habits that greatly accelerate the formation of wrinkles.  Dr. Greenwald encourages all of his patients that are worried about wrinkles and signs of aging to quit smoking and wear sunscreen every day. Eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep and managing stress are also important to maintaining beautiful skin.

Learn More about Wrinkle Treatment

If you have noticeable wrinkles and are interested in Dr. Greenwald’s anti-aging treatments, please contact our practice and request a consultation. Call (914) 421-0113 or (212) 518-1642 or email us today to make your appointment.