Is your sleeping position causing wrinkles?

Dear Dr. Irwin, Thank you for this wonderful blog and for answering some of my questions in the past. I've recently seen some youtube videos extolling the virtues of "frownies" or sleeping with medical tape to prevent scrunching the face while sleeping and thereby minimize forehead wrinkles, the 11's between the eyes etc. I am 35 and starting to see signs of real aging and the beginning of forehead wrinkles. Is this something I should bother with? It seems uncomfortable and unsightly but I would do it if it would make a difference. I have the same question about silk pillowcases. Does it do anything to prevent sleep wrinkles? Thank you, Bella

Satin pillow cases, certain sleep positions, specially shaped pillows, odd taping systems….. and more.  There seems to be a ton of home remedies out there on the web.  Here’s a practical bottom line approach that won’t drive you crazy!

The 11s are much better dealt with with a little Botox/Dysport.

First, accept the fact that most people find it very difficult to change decades of sleep habits, so please don’t beat yourself up over this. No one….truly…ever died of a sleep wrinkle!  Besides that, most disappear in a few hours.

The most effective thing is to try to change your position and your pillow.  Or, ask your injector (if an expert), to put a little dermal filler under to support it there.

Sleep position:

  1. You can try to sleep on your back, but many people just can’t.  And sleeping on the back seems to contribute to snoring!
  2. If you are a stomach sleeper, you may be able to change to your side, which would be better.
  3. Side sleepers may really benefit from experimenting with different pillow sizes and shapes.  And “bolstering” with pillows around the body (like many of us did when pregnant) may be helpful, but it’s also not very friendly to sleeping partners! 🙂

Pillow cases:

These really don’t make much difference unless you are waking up with wrinkles in the middle of your cheeks.  If you are, try a different pillow or case.  Forehead sleep lines are usually related to pressure, not the pillowcase itself wrinkling.

Night creams and anti-aging products:

These are great for other reasons, but in my opinion, don’t do a single thing for sleep position induced wrinkles.

Face taping systems (like “frownies”):

These seem to wax and wane in popularity.  I can’t think of a single patient or friend who has been able to use these for longer than a few weeks. They become really annoying and irritating to skin after repeated use.


Hope this helps,
Dr. Brandith Irwin
Founder, SkinTour
Director, Madison Skin & Laser Center
Follow my skin tips and travels on Instagram!
Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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