H&B Blog

For the latest in Skin, Science and Beauty

What Are Sleep Creases?

Humphrey Cosmetic Dermatology, Vancouver, British Columbia

What if we told you a number of the wrinkles on your face weren’t an inevitability of aging, but were actually caused by the way you sleep? Often misinterpreted as wrinkles, sleep creases have a very unique anatomical pattern and distribution that distinguishes them from frown wrinkles and volume loss folds. They’re caused specifically by sleep patterns and pressure. When your face is repeatedly folded and creased against your pillow night after night, collagen breakdown eventually occurs, leading to the creation of these lines.

First described in 1987 by Dr. Samuel J. Stegman in The American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery, and confirmed by Dr. J. E. Fulton and Dr. F. Gaminchi in 1999, sleep creases are often underemphasized in cosmetic dermatology. In reality, they’re one of the leading causes of permanent wrinkles and folds, along with sunlight and UV exposure, smoking, intrinsic (natural) aging, and dynamic facial movements. A simple hand test performed by a Dermatologist can confirm sleep as the culprit.

Another area that’s notoriously affected by sleep creases is the décolletage. Side sleeping can lead to a folding and creasing of the skin on the chest, particularly for women with larger breasts. Back sleeping, as well as wearing a comfortable sleep bra, can help minimize creasing on the skin of the décolletage.

The good news about sleep creases is that they can be prevented with some simple changes to sleep patterns and habits. Sleeping on your back is the most effective tool for the prevention of sleep creases, to the extent that any increase in back sleeping will reduce the amount of creasing on the face or décolletage overnight. Every effort counts!

If you’re interested in learning more about specific sleep strategies and tools to prevent sleep creases, read our blog on changing your sleep patterns to benefit your skin.

Book An Appointment