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How to combat sleep wrinkles?

Contrary to what one might think, sleep does not only have beneficial effects on the skin! Indeed, the position adopted during sleep influences skin ageing and can cause wrinkles. Once they have set in, how can they be reduced? Discover here the methods to combat sleep wrinkles.

Published June 14, 2024, updated on June 14, 2024, by Marie, Scientific Editor — 6 min read

Hyaluronic acid injections.

Sleep wrinkles are very difficult to diminish. Indeed, while expression wrinkles result from brief contractions of our facial muscles, sleep wrinkles are caused by the deformation of the skin over several hours in contact with the pillow. Traditional cosmetic firming agents therefore have little effect on this type of wrinkle, unlike aesthetic medicine techniques.

Among these, hyaluronic acid injections are highly favoured. These involve injecting cross-linked hyaluronic acid, a particularly stable form, using a sterilised medical syringe directly into the subcutaneous level in order to fill the areas affected by a loss of volume. The results typically last between six months and two years. Numerous studies have been conducted on the effects of hyaluronic acid injections on wrinkles. The results of some are compiled in the table below. Due to the high biocompatibility of hyaluronic acid, these injections are generally very well tolerated. The most common side effects remain minimal (redness, temporary swelling...). However, some serious adverse effects have been reported (tissue necrosis, infection...).

In case of doubt, it is important to immediately consult your doctor so that they can act swiftly.

StudyNumber of patientsQuantity of hyaluronic acid injectedResults
GOLDBERG & al. (2009)270.4 mL per eyeAfter 3 months, photographic evaluation showed improvement in 23 patients, little change in 3, and deterioration in 1
GLASGOLD & et al. (2010)120.5 mL per eyeAfter 1 month, average volume increase of 17%
MALHOTRA & al. (2011)1000.59 mL per eyeAfter 3 months, 85% of the patients were "very satisfied" or "satisfied", 5% were "sceptical", and 10% were "dissatisfied"
Les effets des injections d'acide hyaluronique sur les rides.

Botulinum toxin injections.

Botulinum toxin, commonly known as botox, can also be a solution for getting rid of wrinkles. It consists of 7 types of neurotoxins, but only toxin A is used for the injections. This acts by blocking the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in muscle activity, which results in a paralysis of the local muscles. This usually occurs 24 hours to two weeks after the botox injection and the effect can last between three and six months. By acting in this way on the neuromuscular junction, botox reduces facial wrinkles. The risks and side effects are substantially the same as those of hyaluronic acid injections.

Botulinum toxin injections are traditionally used to smooth out expression lines, but their use in the case of sleep wrinkles is also possible.

A deep chemical peel.

Beyond hyaluronic acid injections and botulinum toxin, the chemical peel is an option to combat sleep wrinkles. This is a dermatological procedure that involves applying phenol, a potent exfoliating agent, to the skin's surface to fight against signs of ageing. The aim of a deep peel is to destroy the superficial layers of the skin and reach the mid-reticular dermis, which allows for rapid renewal of the epidermal tissues and intense synthesis of collagen and elastin. It should be noted that this procedure should only be performed by a professional, after two to four weeks of skin preparation.

Indeed, deep peeling is not a trivial procedure and requires cardiac monitoring as phenol is toxic to the heart and its use is strictly regulated. The application of phenol causes an intense burning sensation, whitening and swelling of the skin, as well as bleeding. In the weeks following the peel, the skin must be protected from the sun and ointments and dressings must be regularly applied.

The laser.

Finally, lasers are becoming an increasingly popular option for treating sleep wrinkles, offering a less invasive alternative to injections and chemical peels. There are several types of lasers used in dermatology, each relying on a distinct mode of action. One of the most commonly used is the CO2 fractional laser. It works by creating tiny perforations in the skin, thus stimulating collagen production and promoting the renewal of skin cells. This treatment may require a recovery period of several days to a week, during which the skin may be red and slightly swollen.

Another type of laser commonly used is the pulsed dye laser. While it is primarily used to fade redness and visible blood vessels, it can also help to improve skin texture and reduce wrinkles. By specifically targeting cutaneous blood vessels, the pulsed dye laser promotes circulation and encourages the synthesis of elastic fibres. Side effects also include slight redness and temporary swelling.

Note : Other types of lasers such as the erbium laser or the Nd laser can help combat sleep wrinkles.


  • AL-WAIZ K. & others. Treatment of periorbital wrinkles using repeated medium-depth chemical peels in individuals with darker skin tones. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (2005).

  • GOLDBERG R. & others. Utilisation of hyaluronic acid gel for upper eyelid filling and contouring. Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (2009).

  • GLASGOLD M. & al. Quantitative assessment of volume enhancement in the tear trough using a hyaluronic acid-based filler: a three-dimensional analysis. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (2010).

  • MALHOTRA R. & al. Utilisation of hyaluronic acid filler for tear-trough rejuvenation as an alternative to lower eyelid surgery. Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (2011).

  • CHEN C. & al. A systematic review of comparative studies of CO2 and erbium:YAG lasers in resurfacing facial rhytides (wrinkles). Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy (2017).

  • SATRIYASA B. & al. Botulinum toxin (Botox) A for diminishing the visibility of facial wrinkles: a literature review of its clinical application and pharmacological aspect. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology (2019).

  • RAGGIO B. & al. Chemical Peels for Skin Resurfacing. National Library of Medicine (2023).


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