Beware; Sleeping position can cause facial wrinkles

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Wrinkles are a part of the natural ageing process but a recent study has revealed that the sleeping position can affect the formation of facial wrinkles and distortions. A recent study published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal by American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) shows that the compression and tension that is applied on the face during sleeping can lead to the formation of lines and wrinkles as well as other facial distortions when we sleep on our sides as well as on stomach.

These are the ‘sleep wrinkles’ which are created on the facial surface due to the distortions that occur when the face is compressed against the sleeping surface or pillow. These wrinkles tend to become severe and deep over the course of time when the sideways sleeping posture is repeated combined with the decreased skin elasticity and thinning as we age.

The duration spent in various sleeping postures also affects the sleep wrinkles. We consciously take our initial sleeping position but we unconsciously tend to take different positions throughout the night. The number of changes in sleeping position decreases from 27 to 16 as we progress in age.

Facial Sleeping Wrinkle Effect


The studies show that the lateral side sleeping position is the most common with an average of 65% while 35% takes spine or back position and only 5 % takes the stomach position. Some patterns of sleep wrinkles may reinforce the patterns of expression lines while most of the sleep wrinkles appear perpendicularly to the expression lines.

Facial Wrinkles


As seen in the diagram, the pattern of appearance of most of the sleep wrinkles is forehead, cheeks area and around lips this is because these areas are particularly compressed against the sleeping surface more frequently.

Another important finding is that the wrinkles of facial expressions are formed as a result of muscle contractions, are treatable through Botulinum toxin while the sleep wrinkles are formed as a result of mechanical compression cannot be removed through botulinum toxin treatment.

According to the researcher Dr. Anson, it is possible to reduce sleep wrinkles by limiting the facial distortions and compression during sleep. The ideal posture is to sleep on your back. This can be achieved through the use of speciality pillows that are available in the market. Dermal fillers can make temporary improvements in these types of wrinkles however the effect of neurotoxins will be limited because these are not formed by contraction of muscles.

The cosmetic surgeons and doctors advise to sleep on your back and avoid the lateral and prone sleeping positions as they can further contribute to the severity of the wrinkles formed as a result of ageing process. Along with this they also advise the use of daily sunscreen, adopt healthy life style habits and optimise diet with maximum skin care to slow down the process of ageing.

The non-surgical cosmetic treatments that promote the production of collagen and elastin such as chemical skin peels, dermal fillers, PDO thread lift treatment, within skin could help to reduce sleep wrinkles.

(For review of complete study visit

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