Humans spend approximately one-third of their lives sleeping. While this statistic may seem depressing to some, sleep is crucial in maintaining our health, well-being and overall function.
Sleep affects every organ in the body, not just the brain. Sleep restores our energy levels and also is a time for the body to heal. Furthermore, our skin restores itself during sleep by balancing its hydration levels and allowing the growth hormones that are released overnight to repair damaged cells. (EverydayHealth)
If we spend one-third of our lives in contact with our pillowcase, it is evident that the fabric we choose for our pillowcase is important. In fact, choosing the wrong pillowcase fabric can lead to acne breakouts and wrinkles. Continue reading to learn the different types of fabrics used in bed linens, which specific textiles can benefit your skin, and why pillowcase fabric matters.
Types of Fabric Used in Pillowcases
Cotton is a soft, extremely absorbent fabric. In fact, cotton has the ability to absorb up to 27 times its weight in water. (sciencing.com) This is because cotton is mostly comprised of cellulose, a hydrophilic (water-loving) polysaccharide. (Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, 2016)
While this highly absorptive fabric comes in handy in your bath towels, cotton might be one of the worst fabrics for your bedding. Our bodies naturally lose moisture and oils as we sleep, which ends up being absorbed into the cotton pillowcase. This becomes a problem when our skin sticks to the fabric, causing friction that can lead to creases in facial skin. Also, the buildup of sweat and oil in the fabric can cause or worsen acne.
Flannel is a loosely woven cotton material that is soft and provides warmth. Flannel fabrics used in bedding have the same properties as regular cotton sheets.
Linen is a natural product made from the flax plant. This textile is also very absorbent and it offers coolness as compared to flannel, but it can be not as soft and it wrinkles easily.
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers. (Wikipedia) It is very strong and does not hold onto moisture like cotton, so it dries faster.
Polyesters are polymers that contain the ester function group in their main chain. Polyester fabrics are highly-stain resistant, have low water absorption, and have minimal shrinkage. (Wikipedia)
A common misconception is that satin fabrics are made of silk. Satin is actually a weave in which the threads of the warp are caught and looped by the weft fibers only at certain intervals. While some satin weaves are woven with silk, materials such as nylon or polyester can also be used to create satin. (Wikipedia)
Silk is a protein fiber that is obtained from an animal (the silkworm). It is a light fabric that is not very absorbent and has the ability to adjust to your body temperature, however it can require higher maintenance. (Refinery29)
Rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber that is made from purified cellulose, primarily from wood pulp. Different types of rayon include viscose, modal and lyocell, which differ in how they are manufactured and the specific properties of the end product. Rayon fabrics are soft, cool and highly absorbent. (Wikipedia)
Choosing a Fabric That Benefits Your Skin
Many people use thread count as a standard for choosing their bedding. A product’s thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads woven into one square inch of fabric. While thread count is easily quantifiable, it is not necessarily the best measure of quality. When choosing your bedding fabric, keep thread count in mind but focus more on the material type.
As stated above, cotton pillowcases do not work with the skin. The highly absorbent properties of cotton will cause your skin to stick to the pillowcase, which can lead to creases in the skin and permanent wrinkles over time.
The best types of fabrics for your skin are ones that reduce friction between your facial skin and the pillowcase and also promote constant air flow on both sides of the textile. A fabric that allows air to flow delivers consistent amounts of oxygen to the facial skin. Oxygen is necessary for skin to repair itself overnight. Furthermore, consistent airflow helps to regulate the temperature of the skin and prevent uncomfortable sweating. When facial skin excessively sweats during the night, it is more prone to sleep lines due to increased friction as well as acne breakouts due to clogged pores.
To Sum It Up: Pillowcase Fabric Matters
Due to the amount of time an average person spends sleeping over the course of a lifetime, pillowcase fabric matters. In regards to skin care, it is important to choose a textile for your pillowcases that works for, not against, your skin. This will help to prevent your skin from breaking out as well as forming crease lines overnight.
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