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Sleep is when your body regenerates. In particular, it’s when your skin gets a chance to relax and do the work to look its very best. While we know of products that can aid you in your sleep, there are also types of bedding that are better for your skin than others.
Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, says those with acne-prone skin should be mindful of how the ingredients in their skin care routine can inadvertently ruin their bedding. “For those using benzoyl peroxide products to treat acne, they are likely all too aware of how benzoyl peroxide can bleach fabric. Benzoyl peroxide-resistant sheets and pillowcases can be a great choice,” she says.
To gain a better understanding of what other bedding options are beneficial for skin, we spoke with dermatologists for their recommendations. From organic cotton sheets to classic silk pillowcases, these expert-recommended bedding essentials can help make your beauty sleep more enjoyable while improving your skin.
Silk is lightweight, breathable and non-irritating.
Hadley King, MD, board-certified dermatologist
Benefits of silk pillowcases and sheets
The experts we spoke to recommended silk pillowcases for those concerned with how their bedding affects their skin. “Sheets that keep you cool and comfortable are best,” says Caren Campbell, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in San Francisco, adding that “silk sheets have been shown to be less irritating to the skin for patients with eczema.” She recommends DermaSilk by Alpretec bedding, a medical textile device company focusing on allergy prevention technology—hence “Al-Pre-Tec.” Campbell says their bedding contains antimicrobial material for people with eczema or easily irritated skin, which can worsen when the normal skin bacteria overgrow, causing inflammation and irritation that Dermasilk can prevent and reduce.
King agrees silk sheets and pillowcases are helpful for the skin. “They can be helpful for sensitive skin because silk is lightweight, breathable and non-irritating,” says King, who’s based in New York City. “Silk dressings are sometimes used for burns and severe eczema because of these properties.”
Best silk pillowcases
Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, said that, if possible, you should splurge on a high-end silk pillowcase and save on the rest, and specifically noted the quality of Slip Pillowcase. “There's no need to invest in a full set of silk sheets,” said Robinson, president and co-founder of Modern Dermatology. “The rest of your body won't benefit the way your hair and face will.”
The 600 The 600 thread count pillowcase is made of high-quality, 100-percent mulberry silk. There's also a hidden zipper so you won't have to worry about accidentally snagging your skin or hair. Choose between 40 colors and patterns such as Tiffany, The Dandelion and The Marble White and seven sizes including body pillow and travel pillow.
SpaSilk made its 100-percent charmeuse silk pillowcase with preventing face wrinkles and frizzy hair in mind. The hypoallergenic and breathable material is helpful for those with allergies. It’s available in 13 colors, including Sage, Champagne and Burgundy and in three sizes, including travel, queen and king.
How to get rid of sleep wrinkles
Rough sleepers who wake up with sleep wrinkles don’t have a completely clear path to freedom. “Sleeping on your back is important at preventing sleep wrinkles, but again good sleep is most important. Back sleeping can worsen other medical conditions like acid reflux or snoring for example, so only practice back sleeping if it also enables you to get good rest,” says Campbell.
King wants to remind readers that while silk pillowcases are often recommended for preventing sleep creases because the soft material is less likely to crease your skin, the effectiveness of silk for this purpose has not been proven. She does, however, recommend Nurse Jamie Beauty Bear Age Defy Pillow for the issue of sleep wrinkles because “its unique U-shape design cradles the face so it does not become creased with pressure as on a standard pillow.”
Benefits of metals in bedding
Brands are infusing their sheets and bedding with metals, like silver, which has antimicrobial properties. A 2012 study in the National Library of Medicine found that pillowcases infused with copper help with signs of aging.
However, the doctors we consulted recommend taking that information with a grain of salt. Jessie Cheung, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Chicago, has an idea of where that idea came from: “Germaphobia is to blame for the trend in silver and copper bedding, as these metals are antimicrobial. The idea is to decrease the bacteria that cause acne and odors, although we don't know if we are causing a detrimental imbalance of our normal skin microbiome.”
Cheung continues that both silver and copper are anti-inflammatory and enhance wound healing, while copper boosts collagen synthesis. “However, with the variability in the amount of silver and copper lost while washing your bedding, it may make more sense to invest in a shower before bedtime and just do laundry more frequently,” she explains.
If you’re still interested in trying out some metal-infused sheets there are a few options on the market. Silvon Home sheet sets are 100% cotton infused with silver threads. Miracle Brand’s Miracle Sheet Set is made with all-natural silver and the company says it removes “99% of bacteria through a process called ionization.” Sheex Luxury Copper Sheets uses PRO+IONIC copper fabric, a super-soft material that releases ions that may decrease oxidants in the body as well as helps to keep the body cool.
Benefits of breathability in pillowcases and sheets
On the other hand, the dermatologists we consulted agree that breathable fabrics are helpful. The experts say breathability is an important factor in regulating skin temperature, which has been shown to affect sleep quality. King recommends finding 100-percent cotton or silk bedding to promote excellent sleep quality.
“Breathable natural fibers such as eucalyptus, bamboo, crisp percale cotton and linen are popular,” Cheung says. These 300 thread count sheets from Sol Organics are made from 100-percent organic cotton and available in five colors, including Ivory and Steel Grey. The sets come with one fitted sheet, one flat sheet and two pillowcases and are available in six sizes — from Twin to California King mattresses.
Brooklinen’s sheets are a popular choice for linen fans and sweaty sleepers, according to Cheung. “Less heat is trapped and moisture is removed away from the skin to keep them comfortable overnight,” she says. These 100-percent linen sheets are made with Belgian and French Flax and the company says they are OEKO-TEX certified for chemical safety.
These sheets are both breathable and sustainable, made of 100-percent lyocell, an environmentally sustainable fiber made from eucalyptus tree pulp. These ultra-soft sheets will have you sleeping comfortably, knowing both your skin and the environment will benefit. Available in seven colors and seven sizes, including Split King, you can find an option to fit your personal style.
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