Could Your Bedding Improve Your Skin and Hair Health? A Dermatologist Reveals All
We spend 210,824 hours in bed, on average – that’s a third of our lives! But did you know that all these hours resting in bed can have an effect on your skin and hair?
We consulted Consultant Dermatologist and Co-Founder of skindoc, Dr Sreedhar Krishna, for his expert advice on which fabrics can help or hinder your skin and hair health. Whether you suffer from acne, wrinkles, eczema or dry hair, we have five solutions to your problems – all you need to do is change your bedding.
1. Suffer from acne, eczema or dry hair? Sleep in silk bedding
Research shows that silk bedding and pillowcases have a number of health benefits for your hair and skin. Silk is naturally moisturising, so it helps to keep skin and dry hair hydrated. If you suffer from eczema on your face or neck, a recent clinical trial showed that not only does wearing silk result in a ‘significant decrease’ of eczema, but it also ‘promotes good skin appearance [and] comfort’.
Dr Krishna says, ‘Skin and hair don't like friction – thus, silk is strongly preferred. This will enable you to glide over your bedding as you move during sleep without being too abrasive. This is even more important if you are a fidgety sleeper. People who make the investment will quickly notice that they no longer wake up with stiff creases on their skin.
‘The night is when our body goes through its repair phase and so to help you look your best, it's worthwhile to invest in silk bedding. If the body is not relaxed or is being aggravated by friction, your sleep quality may be affected which can limit your body’s ability to recuperate.’
You can also combat acne with a silk pillowcase, according to another study. The fabric is moisture-wicking, so it transports sweat and dirt away from your skin, so you wake up feeling fresher.
2. Do you have sensitive skin or eczema? Choose cotton bedding
Dr Krishna says, ‘cotton is a highly absorbent substance’, which makes it feel cool and comfortable to sleep on. This soft and cooling effect will help you sweat less at night, which can make your skin feel less irritated.
Cotton is also another bedding option if you have eczema-prone skin. The National Eczema Society says that cotton ‘allows the skin to breathe’, thanks to its cooling characteristics. Cotton bedding is also naturally hypoallergenic, reducing your itching and fighting off dust mites that feed on dead skin cells.
3. Trying to reduce wrinkles? You need a copper-based pillowcase
Dr Krishna says, ‘Copper is naturally antimicrobial, so protects against breakouts. It is also used by the body to help synthesise new collagen. New collagen can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on your skin.’ So, if you want reduce wrinkles, invest in a copper pillowcase.
One study showed that using a copper oxide pillowcase can lessen wrinkle depth and improve your skin’s overall appearance, with the results showing a significant decrease of crow’s feet after just four weeks.
4. Struggling with clogged pores? You should try linen bedding
Linen is similar to cotton, as they’re both hypoallergenic materials which are very absorbent, which is why linen bedding is perfect if you get hot at night. The temperature-regulating fabric minimises sweating and reduces any dirt clogging your pores.
Dr Krishna says, ‘linen can be durable, anti-bacterial and easily washable. The absorbent nature of the material can be helpful to prevent facial sweating which can protect your skin against breakouts.’
What’s more, linen has tiny breaks in the material, which provide a gentle massaging effect. This stimulates blood flow, increasing the oxygen and nutrients delivered to your skin cells, which can result in a healthier-looking complexion.
5. Want glossy hair and your face to soak up skincare products? Opt for satin bedding
Satin is a type of weave, often made using a mix of different fabrics to create silky-soft bedding, which is usually non-absorbent and won’t soak up moisture from your skincare products. If you use nightly body moisturisers or face creams, consider choosing satin to help keep the products on your skin, rather than on your bedding.
Dr Krishna says, ‘Some forms of satin can be softer than silk, which can be more comfortable. It's much easier to clean than silk and can be readily washed with other garments. Satin is also much more affordable than silk but retains the same ability for hair and skin to glide over.’ The smoothness of satin is also less likely to tangle and knot your hair, resulting in fewer breakages, which can give you shinier, glossier locks.
Avoid polyester bedding, which can harm your skin and slow down hair growth
Polyester could be the worst fabric for your bedding because of how it can impact your skin and hair. Scientists have found that polyester contains high concentrations of quinolines and aromatic amines, both of which are considered as toxic and can be harmful to your skin.
If that wasn’t enough, another study uncovered that wearing polyester for just two months can slow down hair growth and hinder hair density, so it may not be the best choice for your bedding.
‘Switching to silk bedding improved my breakouts in a few months’
We asked Jennifer, 23 for her real-life story of swapping to silk bedding to see how it worked. Jennifer said, ‘I had acne as a teen and while it’s not as bad anymore, I still get frequent breakouts. I’ve tried many different skincare routines, but nothing really works. I’d heard about silk being better for your skin, but I was quite sceptical. My sister bought me a set and was really surprised to see my breakouts improve a few months later.’
How often should you clean your bedding for better skin and hair?
Not only can the fabric you choose for your bedding improve your skin and hair, but regular cleaning will help too. Over time, dust mites and skin cells build up, which you don’t want to transfer onto your skin or into your hair. It’s recommended to wash your bedding every two weeks at the minimum, or even once a week if you’re prone to acne.
Cleaning your pillow matters too, as bacteria can still get through your pillowcase even with frequent washing. It’s best to clean your pillow every two to three months by spot-cleaning stains with a mild detergent and then deodorising it with baking soda for freshness.
For more advice, check out our blog and advice sections.