A Must: 3 Expert Tips To Avoid Wrinkles & Fine Lines While You Sleep
Contrary to what you might think, sleeping is not just idle time—your brain and body are hard at work while you enter dreamland. For example, your skin kicks into repair mode while you sleep; it's arguably the most important time to encourage healthy skin aging.
Catching enough Zzz's is a beauty tip in and of itself, but there's plenty more you can do to ensure healthy, youthful skin while you snooze. If you want to wake up to firm, glowing skin (honestly, who doesn't?), follow along below:
Wash your face.
You may choose to skip a morning cleanse, especially if your skin runs dry—but a nightly wash is nonnegotiable. "If you only want to [cleanse] once a day, do it at night so you can take all the pollution off before you go to sleep," board-certified dermatologist Jeanine Downie, M.D., says regarding how often you should wash your face.
You see, pollutants and daily grime build up on your skin as the day goes on, which can contribute to oxidative stress, dull, crepey skin, and fine lines if you don't cleanse before bed. "Pollution can subject the skin to free radicals, which can contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin and lead to aging of the skin, so it's important to cleanse the skin to avoid these effects," adds board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D.
And if you wear makeup, that makes it even more important to give your skin a good scrub. Frequently sleeping in your makeup can not only cause clogged pores but even lead to premature skin aging.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Here's a little fun fact: The skin is more permeable at night1, meaning it's much easier to lose significant hydration as you snooze—and improper hydration can lead to premature skin aging. That's why you might want to apply heavier, more occlusive moisturizers before bed to prevent precious moisture from seeping out overnight.
"We know that skin hydration levels tend to decline in the afternoon into the evening, which is why heavier night creams are useful," agrees board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. Look for ingredients like ceramides, peptides, and omega-3 fatty acids in your moisturizer, as these feed the skin barrier and keep it strong.
Mind your sleep position.
Yes, your sleep position can lead to wrinkles over time. Specifically, these fine lines fall under the "compression wrinkles" category since they happen when you squish (or compress) your face into your pillow each night. As you grow older and your collagen levels start to decline, you may notice those lines start to stick around.
Sleep wrinkles don't exactly have a tried-and-true solution. "If you are one of those rare specimens who can control your sleep position while sleeping, then more power to you!" board-certified dermatologist Shereene Idriss, M.D., once told us about avoiding chest wrinkles. She recommends sleeping on your back to avoid that pressure—which can be pretty difficult for most people.
You can also invest in a silk or satin pillowcase so your skin will glide across the surface without any friction or tugging. Or you can simply lean on other skin care methods to restore collagen and delay fine lines for as long as possible. Sleep is so important for skin health, so you shouldn't sacrifice a good snooze for fear of pillow lines.
Everyone has their own personalized nighttime skin care routines, but following this derm-led advice will only help you out in the long run. No matter your skin type, you'll find success with the lessons above—and you'll be greeted with glowing skin come morning. To further encourage firm, supple skin, perhaps pour yourself a cup of collagen-spiked coffee when you wake up; after all, collagen supplements are top-notch for preventing fine lines.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.