We all know that wrinkles come with aging and a little too much time in the sun, but did you know that the second biggest cause of wrinkles is actually sleep? Yes, seriously. But unlike some other kinds of wrinkles, sleep wrinkles are preventable with the right prevention. We’ll watch you through the causes of these wrinkles and then how to prevent wrinkles right now.
What Causes Sleep Wrinkles?
To understand what causes sleep wrinkles, let’s talk about how wrinkles work. Wrinkles happen when your skin loses collagen and elasticity, leaving a permanent mark on your skin. Repeated pressure or muscle motions will eventually break down the collagen in specific areas of your skin, and when that happens, a wrinkle will form. This process is how smile wrinkles build up: the repeated motion of smiling breaks down the collagen and causes the skin to lose elasticity. But what does this science have to do with sleeping?
When you sleep, you put repeated pressure on your face as it presses against your pillow night after night. You’ve probably seen this in small ways—like when you wake up with “pillow face” showing on your skin. For those marks to become permanent, all you need is a little time continuing to sleep that way. And since we spend about a third of our lives asleep… it’s likely to build up over time. That’s the main cause of sleep wrinkles: sleeping with your face pressed against a cotton pillowcase. But with the right prevention, you can keep these sleep wrinkles from showing up on your face and still catch quality ZZZs at night.
Tips for Preventing Sleep Wrinkles
If you’re thinking about sleep wrinkles now, there’s good news: they’re preventable, and you can start preventing them tonight. The sooner you start preventing wrinkles, the more protection you’ll have against those permanent creases. Here are the most effective (yet insanely simple) ways to start preventing wrinkles now:
1. Sleep on Your Back
Since the biggest culprit of sleep wrinkles is sleeping with your face pressed against a pillowcase, the easiest way to prevent them is to not sleep on your face. Side sleepers and stomach sleepers are more likely to pick up these wrinkles because their faces touch the pillow. Back sleepers can get away scotch free. So the easiest way to start preventing these wrinkles is to switch how you sleep at night.
Sleeping switch positions is easier said than done though. Luckily there are a couple hacks to help:
- Try out a neck towel. Take one of your trusty towels and roll it tightly along the short side. Tie the ends with rubber bands or hair bands to keep it secure all night long. Then at night, kick your pillow out of its usual spot and put the towel where your neck goes. Adjust it until it’s comfortable. Voila! The towel will help you sleep on your back.
- Opt for a special pillow. Airplane pillows can be used in your bed, not just plane seats, and they can help you sleep on your back. Some companies also make pillows specifically to force you to sleep on your back, and that’s one way to do it.
Sleeping on your back can pretty much take care of sleep wrinkles for you—so long as you’re consistent and comfortable.
2. Switch Out Your Pillowcase
Let’s say that even the idea of sleeping on your back sounds uncomfortable, or you already have a snoring problem (can happen when you sleep on your back). You might want a different way to prevent sleep wrinkles. So here’s our second solution: switch out your pillowcase. One of the main culprits of sleep wrinkles is the cotton in your pillowcase that puts pressure on your face. So if you switch out the cotton, problem solved.
Instead, you can try silk or satin pillowcases. These silkier and softer materials help your face slide on the pillowcase, instead of pressing against it repeatedly. You can even find options with half cotton and half silk to keep your pillow in place against your bed but soft on your face.
3. Try Night Cream
Another option to help prevent wrinkles is to use a thick, luscious night cream. These ultra-moisturizing creams are both a little greasy and lead to glowing, but they provide deep moisturization that is key to preventing wrinkles. Don’t want to splurge on a fancy cream? You can try coconut oil too. Coconut oil is good for pretty much everything under the sun and moon, including wrinkle prevention. A pea sized dab of coconut oil on your skin before bed can do wonders.
4. Try Out Retinol
Retinol is an awesome wrinkle prevention tool to have in your arsenal. What it does is stimulate the collagen in your skin. Weak collagen is what causes wrinkles, so stimulating it is going to help keep your skin looking young. There are retinol products that are available over-the-counter and with a prescription—depending on the strength you’re looking for.
5. Get Enough Rest
It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing. Getting enough sleep at night—about 7–9 hours—is key for healthy skin and wrinkle prevention. A healthy sleep schedule rejuvenates the skin and keeps it looking younger—an important addition to any wrinkle prevention routine.
So overall, you can prevent sleep wrinkles starting tonight. Just flip onto your back and keep your skin away from your pillow. But to keep your skin rejuvenated and fresh, you do need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night.