Our interconnected, networked reality occasionally allows urban legends and misconceptions to proliferate rapidly. Also with regard to care of our skin. The latest myth says that sleeping position has an impact on the appearance of wrinkles on the face. True or false?
It seems logical: if you sleep on your side and place your face against the pillow, your skin will seem to wrinkle. And especially so if you sleep face down ... Hasty conclusion: over the years these sleeping positions lead to wrinkles and enhance facial ageing by causing sagging. So, best sleep on your back, and maybe even use a U-shaped pillow to stop rolling over during the night. It has also been recommended to use satin instead of cotton pillowcases, to allow the face to slide more easily. Then a mass-circulation medium – e.g., The Huffington Post – discusses the issue and launches a chain of half-truths repeated ad nauseam in websites, print media and TV channels. Thus is the false myth created.
The rumour is, in fact, false and has no scientific grounding. It is not true that our sleeping position affects facial wrinkling, quite the opposite. A study by Dr. Brett S. Kotlus – a plastic surgeon based in Michigan (USA) – that was published in Dermatologic Surgery arrived at this opposite conclusion. In his study of 100 women, some of whom always slept on their right side, others on their left side, others face up and others face down, he analysed the facial wrinkles of each subject using high-resolution digital photographs. The conclusion:
“Sleep side preference was not significantly correlated with the appearance of wrinkles or facial descent."
What Dr. Kotlus did discover, as an overall result, was that the left side of the face always has more wrinkles. The reason is exposure to ultraviolet rays while driving (the same reason why more skin cancers develop on the left side of the face). This situation is reversed for drivers on the left (around 30% of the world’s roads), as then the right side of the face is more affected.
In short, special pillows or bedding made from sophisticated fabrics have no impact on wrinkling. We can sleep at ease. And in whatever position we like ...