What would we do without pillows?? This marvelous invention cradles our head as we fall asleep at night and can be used to support our back and neck when awake. It wasn’t until the days of Tudor England that pillows became widely used, and even then people believed that only women giving birth and weak men should use one!!

Pillows have a most interesting history. They were originally used only by the wealthy in Asia and have even been found in Egyptian tombs. Probably the most influential pillow in history was that of the Israelite patriarch, Jacob. As you may remember, when he tricked his older brother, Esau, out of his rightful parental blessing, Esau vowed revenge and so Jacob wisely fled. As he prepared to rest during his flight, Jacob laid his head down on a particular stone for a pillow, fell asleep, and proceeded to have most wonderful dream. In the dream he saw a ladder ascending from his place of sleep into heaven, with angels going up and down the ladder. The Lord God stood at the top of the ladder and promised him the land of Canaan, innumerable descendants, and His ongoing presence. When Jacob awoke, he was awe-struck and called the place of his sleep, “the house of God.” He set the stone upright, anointed it with oil, and named the spot Bethel. Legend has it that the stone was subsequently brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah and then moved to Scotland, where it was named the Stone of Scone. Coronations of the Scottish kings in the middle ages were performed on this rock!

Today we don’t use pillows for coronations. What purpose, then, does a pillow serve? It certainly cushions our head when we sleep, but it also elevates our head and neck into alignment with our spine, a most important function.

When choosing a pillow, comfort is certainly a determining factor and proper neck alignment is critical, but what about the wrinkles that form on the face as it presses against the pillow? Is there a pillow that avoids these distressing sleep lines?

Over the years, this issue of preventing sleep wrinkles that can turn into permanent facial lines has been addressed in a variety of ways. Silk and satin pillowcases have been around for a long time since they allow the skin to “slide”, preventing the “bunching up” that leads to wrinkle formation. These are helpful, but a San Fernando Valley resident by the name of Linda May Randell has taken this one step further by coming up with the “Save My Face Pillow.”

When you sleep on it, you are to position your cheek in the opening between the upper and lower arms of the “C”, thus supporting the head with the side of the temple and the jawline resting on the pillow. This avoids any contact with the cheek skin, minimizing wrinkling of the facial skin during sleep. Also, any facial creams that you may have applied stay on the skin for the entire night, since the pillow does not touch the cheek and rub them off.

What about its use following facial plastic surgery? Facelifts involve a lifting of the cheek and neck skin away from the underlying fat, muscle, and blood vessels, resulting in a temporary decrease in blood flow to the skin. For the first few weeks after surgery it is wise to reduce pressure on the cheek skin so as to maximize this blood flow and promote healing, something that the “Save My Face Pillow” does during your sleep hours by avoiding contact with the cheek skin. The pillow also allows patients who have undergone facial laser resurfacing to avoid any rubbing of the skin against the pillowcase which can result in the separation of the outer layer of skin, leading to delayed healing and even scarring.

The “Save My Face Pillow” comes in an economical disposable version that can be used for the first several weeks after surgery and then discarded. Of course you may then want to purchase a more permanent version of the pillow to benefit from its anti-wrinkle properties and to allow Retin-A and other facial creams to remain on the skin for the entire night.

Should you have any further questions, please contact my office.

You may also receive further information or purchase a “Save My Face Pillow” at http://savemyface.com/cart/

George Sanders, M.D.