Woke up with pillow lines on your face? Here’s how to nix them ASAP

April 19, 2023

Clinically reviewed by: Allison Marks, holistic esthetician

Don’t shoot the messenger, but a lot of things we do every single day can cause temporary and permanent lines on our face: Frowning, sipping from a straw, furrowing our brows and, unfortunately, sleeping. “When the facial skin has spent all night against a pillowcase, this can lead to a breakdown of elastic tissue and collagen,” explains Aanand Geria, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Verona, NJ. “When it’s repeated enough, permanent wrinkles can result.” No thanks! Here’s his 5-step plan to help prevent those pesky pillow lines.  

1. Massage your face

“Pillow lines will dissipate once you wake up and begin to move your face,” Dr. Geria says. However, if you want to speed things up a little, he suggests gently massaging your face and using your fingers to tap over the wrinkled folds until they fade. “This increases blood flow and circulation to the skin’s surface,” he says.  

2. Break out the tea bags

“White or green tea can help reduce pillow lines thanks to their antioxidant and caffeine contents,” Dr. Geria advises. Soak them in cold water, then apply to your skin for a few minutes.

3. Sleep on a silk pillowcase

To prevent pillow lines, a good quality silk pillowcase is your best bet. Here’s why: “Sleep wrinkles occur when skin rubs against your pillow and causes friction,” Dr. Geria says. “With a silk pillowcase, the skin slides, as opposed to pulling.”  

4. Wear a night mask

Alternatively, Dr. Geria says night masks can help keep your skin in place while at rest, so even when your face is pressed into the pillow, it won’t “fold.” Or, he adds, sleeping on your back, if it’s comfortable for you, is another easy way to prevent pillow lines.  

5. Incorporate a retinal formula into your nighttime skincare routine

Dr. Geria adds that a retinal formula can also help reduce pillow lines. “The goal is to stimulate more collagen to decrease creases,” he says. “Retinols [including retinal] are vitamin A derivatives. They train the skin to act youthful again.” And applying retinal overnight is the best time to do so since it is a photosensitive ingredient. Additionally, he recommends switching to a heavier cream at night for maximum moisturizing benefits. 

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Murad, and are for informational purposes only, even if the advice of physicians and medical practitioners are included. This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should not be considered specific medical advice.   

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Jessica Estrada is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and editor covering a wide range of lifestyle topics including beauty, skincare, wellness and mental health. Her work has been featured in Well + Good, Refinery29, Bustle, Elite Daily, Byrdie, The Zoe Report, Cosmopolitan, The Cut and more.