The compression, tension, and shear forces applied to the face while sleeping on one’s sides or stomach may cause facial distortion, leading to the development of sleep wrinkles over time.

This is the conclusion from a study published recently in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, the peer-reviewed publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

“Sleep wrinkles form in response to distortion created when the face is pressed against any sleep surface. They tend to worsen over time due to repetition combined with thinning of the skin and decreased elasticity as we age,” explains ASAPS member and the study’s lead author, Goesel Anson, MD, FACS, in a media release from ASAPS.

Sleep wrinkles are also influenced by the amount of time spent in various positions. While our initial sleep position is a conscious decision, we change positions throughout the night unconsciously. The number of shifts decreases as we age from 27 to 16 per night, with an average of about 20 position shifts, according to the release.

While some sleep wrinkle patterns can reinforce facial expression lines, most sleep wrinkles tend to be perpendicular to expression wrinkles. Most sleep wrinkles can be seen on the forehead, lips and cheeks. Unlike facial expression wrinkles caused by muscle contractions, sleep wrinkles that are formed because of mechanical compression during sleep can’t be eliminated using Botulinum Toxin, the release continues.

“One way to minimize sleep wrinkles is to limit facial distortion during sleep. If you can stay on your back, that’s ideal. There are several specialty pillows available to help achieve that,” Anson states.

“Dermal fillers can temporarily improve wrinkles of any type. However, neurotoxins won’t have much effect on these wrinkles since they are not caused by muscle contractions,” Anson adds in the release.

[Source(s): American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, PR Newswire]