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Are silk pillowcases good for your skin?

Stephanie says: Is it true that it is better for your skin to sleep on silk pillow cases?


The Left Brain believes:

There is some evidence, like this Pubmed article, that indicates special silk clothing can reduce atopic dermatitis in children who are prone to that condition. However, I have can’t find any evidence that sleeping on silk pillowcases is really better for your skin. Nonetheless, one brand, Silkskin Antiwrinkle Pillowcases, says they actually fight the signs of aging. Here are a few claims from their website followed by my comments:

1. Gives your skin the chance to breathe naturally

While your skin does perspire and while certain chemicals can clog your pores and cause acne, skin does not really “breathe” so silk doesn’t really make a difference in this regard.

2. Because moisture levels are being maintained throughout the night, deeper lines and wrinkles are not forming.

Moisture loss causes dry scaly skin, not wrinkles. A pillow case can not stop wrinkles from forming.

3. Different from run of the mill silk pillow case as it is made from organic silk which contains amino acids, the building blocks of your skin.

ALL silk is made of amino acids, so the fact that this silk is organic is completely irrelevant. And the amino acid profile of silk is different than keratin protein, which is what skin is made of. And, even if it were the same, it’s not like the amino acids leap off the pillowcase and attach to your skin.

4. Organic silk also has the same pH balance of your skin.

Measuring pH really only makes sense when you’re talking about a water solution. Yes, skin has a optimal pH balance, but the pH of fabric you’re sleeping on is really irrelevant.

5. When sleeping on this pillowcase, your night cream is fully absorbed by the skin and won’t rub off like it usually does, therefore allowing the cream to work to maximum effect.

I’m curious if Silkskin has any actual data to back up this claim. I suppose it’s possible that silk is less absorbent than cotton, which means it could absorb less oils and moisture from the surface of your skin. But even if silk is less absorbent, just the friction of your skin against the fabric as you move around in your sleep is still enough to wipe some of the lotion off your face. Without some kind of test data to show Silkskin has a beneficial effect, I’m skeptical on this claim.

6. Silk stops you getting the dreaded ‘bedhead’ as your hair will simply glide over the pillowcase.

Bed head isn’t just caused by rubbing your hair across the fabric of the pillow. It’s also caused by the warmth and moisture of your perspiring scalp saturating your hair and reforming the hydrogen bonds (also known as salt bonds) in your hair, which results in the bizarre hair configuration you wake up with. Since silk doesn’t stop you from perspiring, it probably has little effect on bed head. But once again, if there’s test data to the contrary I’ll gladly reconsider my position.

7. Dust mites cannot live on silk so the pillowcase is excellent for allergy sufferers.

This is the most intriguing of all Silkskin’s claims. While I found references to very tightly woven pillowcases being used to prevent dust mites from penetrating into pillows, I could not find any legitimate scientific source that answered this question one way or the other.

The Beauty Brains bottom line:

There may be some legitimate benefits to sleeping on silk, but Silkskin makes a number of definitive claims without providing much information to back them up. Maybe it’s true that dust mites can’t live on silk, but I’d rather not take the word of the company trying to sell me the product as proof. A little independent confirmation would go a long way toward making me feel better about buying this product.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lydia August 13, 2015, 9:39 pm

    THANK YOU. I’m reading a lot of about skin care and this whole “silk pillow!” thing popped up somewhere along the line. Supposedly (according to someone’s blog mind you) a doctor claimed that you can get “permanent creases” in your skin as your collagen decreases, due to pressing your face on a cotton pillow case constantly… WHAT?! Ok, I’m not a doctor but aren’t the creases constantly RANDOM, wouldn’t it take continually pressing your face against the same exact and exactly placed crease or creases for a crazy amount of time to ever be able to cause said damage if that could even ever happen…? That just sounds insane.

    You make actual intelligent points. When I tried looking for info as you say you did, all I could find were similar unsound claims telling me how all the celebrities are doing it. I have enough to worry about… pillow cases don’t age you unless you’re sleeping on concrete… (granted unnatural detergents and fabric softeners are bad for your overall health and the environment so using more natural products is always better for everyone). I tend to obsess and get paranoid when I hear things like this despite my better judgment. I just really appreciate someone taking an honest and critically thinking approach to this whole thing. So, thanks!

  • ana July 31, 2017, 5:42 pm

    I used a silk pillowcase and broke out. I’m not sure why but something caused tiny bumps along the side of my face I was sleeping on. I’ve never had this happen with my regular cotton pillowcases so I think I’ll ditch the hyped up claims of silk and go back to what works.

    • Lizzy March 26, 2018, 8:11 am

      I just recently made this connection! Im a side sleeper and both of my temples and top of cheekbones have this weird bumpy rash. Its not acne and its not ant other condition. I tried everything to het rid of it and nothing works. So I was wondering if its the silk pillow case!!!

  • Organic Savings Mall December 31, 2017, 3:44 pm

    You stated that skin does not “breath” in your explanation about silk and skin health. Every living cell obtains oxygen in some way, and thus, every living cell including skin, “breaths” unless hindered by something which is then unhealthy.

    • Perry Romanowski January 9, 2018, 10:24 am

      When using a word metaphorically, it can mean anything. So even rocks can “breath” metaphorically. Skin does not literally breath.

  • Natalie April 9, 2018, 12:10 pm

    Now I’m glad that I didn’t went out and buy a silk pillowcase after I was fear fearmobgored by a few beauty gurus lol.