Sleep Wrinkles: Facial Aging and Facial Distortion During Sleep

Aesthet Surg J. 2016 Sep;36(8):931-40. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjw074. Epub 2016 Jun 21.


Wrinkles are just one indicator of facial aging, but an indicator that is of prime importance in our world of facial aesthetics. Wrinkles occur where fault lines develop in aging skin. Those fault lines may be due to skin distortion resulting from facial expression or may be due to skin distortion from mechanical compression during sleep. Expression wrinkles and sleep wrinkles differ in etiology, location, and anatomical pattern. Compression, shear, and stress forces act on the face in lateral or prone sleep positions. We review the literature relating to the development of wrinkles and the biomechanical changes that occur in response to intrinsic and extrinsic influences. We explore the possibility that compression during sleep not only results in wrinkles but may also contribute to facial skin expansion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Face
  • Facial Expression*
  • Humans
  • Pressure
  • Prone Position
  • Skin Aging*
  • Sleep*