by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

How To: Prevent Wrinkles with Dr Gaby Syerly

This may come as a surprise, but did you know two of the most common types of wrinkles are sleep wrinkles and expression wrinkles? After sunlight and UV exposure, making the same expressions and squishing your face into a pillow every night is like ironing lines into the skin.

Luckily, we asked Dr Gaby Syerly, M. Biomed, aesthetic doctor and founder of the Jakarta-based Youth & Beauty Clinic, to share more on how wrinkles form and her top recommendations for preventing them.

What is and causes sleep wrinkles?

Sleep wrinkles develop due to the distortion created when your face is pressed against a sleep surface. This compression or stress forces result in transient facial lines, which will eventually disappear when you wake up. However, sleep wrinkles can become permanent with time and repetition, factoring in the personʼs age and skin condition.

What is and causes expression of wrinkles?

Expressional or dynamic wrinkles are caused by sub-dermal muscle contraction. This occurs when we make facial expressions, which can become permanent over time and with repeated expressions.

What are the key differences between these wrinkle types?

Sleep wrinkles differ from expression wrinkles in terms of origin, location and direction. Sleep wrinkles are caused by external forces and are generally more vertical or diagonal in nature. Expression wrinkles are caused by internal muscle contraction and are more horizontal in nature.

Can Botox prevent wrinkles?

Botox is not a preventative treatment; you’ll only benefit from Botox if you already have wrinkles in the first place. Botox acts to relax muscle contraction by blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles that are responsible for creating wrinkles in that particular area. By doing this, the treated muscles can no longer contract, resulting in visibly smoother skin.

Are there any other aesthetic treatments that can help prevent or minimize wrinkles?

Wrinkles are an inevitable biological process; aesthetic treatments canʼt prevent them, but they can help to minimize their appearance. These include Botox, dermal fillers, Ultherapy, Thermage FLX, Collagen-Induction Therapy (microneedling), Fractional Lasers or Ablative/Non-Ablative Laser (generally not recommended for Asian skin).

Aside from Botox and dermal fillers, the rest of the treatments mentioned above have a similar concept: to create a deliberate “injury” within the skin. This “injury” could be in a form of thermal or physical injury (micro-needling) to stimulate our bodyʼs natural healing process. As part of the wound-healing process, collagen is stimulated and repaired within the skin. This helps in replacing the damaged tissues and leading to improved skin texture and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. For some treatments (like Ultherapy and Thermage FLX), you will get a lifting effect as a byproduct of the healing process.

Most importantly, you should have a committed skincare routine that includes daily use of sunscreen, a non-stripping cleanser, serum and moisturizer.

Any skincare ingredients or products you would recommend?

First and foremost, sunscreen. It helps to protect our skin from oxidative damage and photo-ageing as a result of UV radiation.

As for ingredients, you can include antioxidants in your routine. They help to fight against free radicals caused by UV exposure and pollution. These include retinoids (vitamin A), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), niacinamide (vitamin B3) and tocopherol (vitamin E).

Hydroxy acids — glycolic acid, lactic acid, azelaic acid — should also be included. They help remove dead skin cells and regenerate new ones for smoother skin, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Last but not least, hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient to use as it binds water molecules within the skin to maintain hydration and prevent skin dryness. Dry skin has a higher tendency to develop fine lines due to the weaker support structure of the skin.


Shiseido Global Suncare The Perfect Protector SPF 50+/PA++++, SGD65
Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3, SGD149
Kora Organics Noni Night AHA Resurfacing Serum, SGD98
Allies of Skin Triple Hyaluronic Antioxidant Hydration Serum, SGD105

For more beauty tidbits from our industry experts, hit that ‘Sign Up’ button at the bottom to receive the latest round-up.