(NEW YORK) — Beauty sleep? Dream on! Dermatologists say sleeping doesn’t relieve wrinkles on the face — instead, it causes them.
Now, however, a Las Vegas plastic surgeon says she has found the solution: a new type of pillow.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, facial wrinkles can be divided into two types: expression wrinkles, which result from repeated contractions of the facial muscles (smiling, frowning, etc.), and sleep wrinkles, which are caused by the face repeatedly being mashed up against (and distorted by) one’s pillow, during sleep.
The former type, according to the Academy, can be improved by various means, including wrinkle creams, skin resurfacing, plastic surgery and injections of Botox, which, by weakening the muscles underlying the skin, reduces their contractions.
Sleep wrinkles, however, are not susceptible to improvement by these means. Their origin isn’t muscular, so Botox is ineffective. Temporarily, their appearance can be improved by creams, fillers and surgery, but they will reappear and worsen so long as the sleeper’s face continues to be distorted every night by her pillow.
Richard G. Glogau, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California San Francisco, ranks among the world’s foremost authorities on facial aging. His “Glogau Wrinkle Scale” has become the standard tool used by physicians to classify the severity of frown lines, wrinkles and sun damage.
Sleep wrinkles, Glogau tells ABC News, aren’t anything new.
“They have been around as long as there have been pillows and people sleeping,” he said.
But they are getting more attention now because Botox isn’t effective against them. The only therapies available for treating them, he says, are the old stand-bys: using small amounts of filler to soften them, putting tape on one’s face before bed to prevent the skin from deforming, and, if all else fails, sleeping on one’s back (so one’s face isn’t squashed).
Sleeping on one’s back, however, doesn’t work for everybody. Dr. Goesel Anson of Las Vegas, nationally recognized in aesthetic plastic surgery of the face, cites statistics showing that sleepers typically change position 20 times a night, spending only 33 percent of their time on their back, 60 percent on their side and 7 percent on their stomach.
It was her patients’ frustration with the lack of treatment for sleep wrinkles, Anson tells ABC News, that gave her the incentive to come up with JuveRest, a new-fangled pillow designed to prevent distortion of the face.
To develop the product, she collaborated with Juverset co-founder Cynthia Callendar, a Las Vegas lawyer and entrepreneur who previously had brought to market Sleep Master, a new type of sleep mask.
Callendar tells ABC News that when the time came time to make the pillow’s prototype, Anson took a turkey carving knife and hunk of Styrofoam — “the kind you’d use for a floral arrangement” — and went to work.
Today, the final product’s materials are different, says Callendar, but the concept has remained the same: a central panel on which a person sleeping on their back can rest their head; and, to either side, panels designed to cradle the head of someone sleeping on their side.
The pillow will go on sale on QVC in July (price: $128). It also can be bought through JuveRest’s website.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio