Facial compression during sleep results in wrinkles, and possibly contributes to skin expansion, according to research recently published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.
Goesel Anson, MD, FACS, of Anson, Edwards & Higgins, Plastic Surgery Associates, Las Vegas, and colleagues conducted a literature review related to wrinkle development and biomechanical changes occurring “in response to intrinsic and extrinsic influences.”
“Sleep wrinkles differ from expression wrinkles in mechanism of origin, location and directionality,” the researchers wrote. “We suggest these are sufficient reasons to reconsider wrinkle classifications and consider the possibility that facial distortion during sleep may also contribute to overall facial aging.”
The researchers found that facial tissue is subject to shear, compression and tensile mechanic forces during side or stomach sleeping, with the skin stretched in all directions based on sleep position.
“These forces become significant when we consider the amount of time spent in sleep and sleep position,” the researchers wrote.
Sleep wrinkle development appears to be less predictable than that of expression wrinkles, due to the number of variables that influence sleep wrinkle development. The researchers found that sleep wrinkles appeared to occur at locations where the skin buckles to external forces, and that sleep patterns can reinforce expression lines.
“It’s important that we identify the etiology of changes that occur with aging,” Anson told Healio.com. “A wrinkle is not just a wrinkle! Facial distortion during sleep deserves further study. The mechanical forces acting on the face during lateral or prone sleep positions are very different from those that occur during standing and we spend a significant amount of time sleeping.”
“The only reliable way to minimize sleep wrinkles is to avoid facial distortion,” the researchers concluded. “While we recommend back sleeping, it is extremely difficult to consciously change sleep patterns. Specialty pillows now exist that are designed to minimize facial distortion during sleep.” – by Bruce Thiel
Disclosure: Anson reports being a partner with JuveRest, LLC, and being an honorarium recipient and on the advisory board of Allergan. Please see the full study for a list of the other researchers’ relevant financial disclosures.