Does a pillowcase for acne really work? We compare the best pillowcase for acne prone skin to help you discover which one is best for your skin.
If you’ve ever been an acne sufferer, you know how hard it can be to manage breakouts from happening. Over 50 million people in America alone suffer from acne breakouts. I recently discovered that the type of pillowcase you use can either help or hinder acne management.
Today, I’m going to share with you the top 5 best pillowcases for acne sufferers, the myths and facts behind acne, and a buying guide to help you make a more informed choice when shopping around for a pillow cover that won’t add to your breakouts. Let’s start off with the reviews!
5 Best Pillowcases for Acne Reviews
Discover what pillowcase is good for acne. Below we review the most popular, best-selling silk, satin and bamboo pillowcase for acne available on the market today.
1. Best Overall: Alaska Bear Silk Pillowcase
Why We Love It: If you want a silk pillowcase that also has good breathability, this silk pillowcase from Alaska Bear is the perfect option for you to help out with breakouts.
This pillowcase is made from 100% Mulberry silk in a 600 thread count and 19 momme (we’ll go over what silk types and momme means a bit further on). Unlike a lot of other silk pillowcases, this one is very breathable and is of a strong construction for durability. It regulates temperature quite well, making it a good choice for all seasons and helps transfer less oil. The silky-smooth case is also hypoallergenic and, because it’s made from natural fibers, it’s suitable for all skin types. It’s also designed to reduce wrinkles and prevent hair from spliting and drying out. The pillowcase also has a hidden zipper, which means your pillow won’t be slipping out of the pillowcase at night. It comes in 7 sizes and 27 patterns and colors using only natural dyes.
Pros: Durable and constructed well, hypoallergenic, has a silky smooth feel, a secure zipper, and comes in a variety of colors and sizes.
Cons: The pillowcase needs extra care and can only be machine washed in cold wash settings
2. Best for Hot Sleepers: Fishers Finery Mulberry Silk Pillowcase
Why We Love It: If you want a silk pillowcase that regulates temperature well and help support clearer skin, try this Mulberry silk pillowcase from Fishers Finery.
This pillowcase is made from 100% mulberry silk in a high 25 momme, making for a super soft silky feel. It is of high density for extra durability and uses natural materials, making it suitable for everyone, especially those with sensitive skin or acne-prone skin. The pillowcases’ breathability feature protects your hair and skin from drawing away moisture, which dries out both the skin and hair. The pillowcase is designed with an envelope flap enclosure to help keep it in place as you sleep. It comes in queen and king sizes and can be hand-washed or dry cleaned.
Pros: The fabric is dense and durable, while still being silky soft, it’s breathable, made of high-quality materials, and is pill-resistant.
Cons: Some buyers felt that this pillowcase was a bit on the pricey side and that it was prone to wrinkling.
3. Best Hypoallergenic Pillowcase: Ravmix Mulberry Pillowcase
Why We Love It: If you have acne-prone sensitive skin or suffer with allergies and want a silk pillowcase that is affordable, this mulberry silk pillowcase from Ravmix is the one for you.
It’s made from 100% pure mulberry silk and has a 21 momme weight, which makes it quite durable yet very soft to the skin causing less friction and thus preventing irritation. It helps minimize wrinkles and also prevents with hair breakage. It has a hidden zipper that will keep your pillow from sliding out at night and the fabric is very breathable to help keep you cool, as well as hypoallergenic to protect against dust mites and allergens. It also comes in a nice variety of colors and is a bit more affordable.
Pros: It’s a high-quality pillowcase that is affordable, very breathable, hypoallergenic, has a hidden zipper enclosure, and comes in a good variety of color choices.
Cons: Some buyers complained that the material frayed over time, but this can be avoided if the pillowcase is properly cared for.
4. Budget Pick: Bedsure Two-Pack Satin Pillowcase Set
Why We Love It: Bedsure’s wonderfully smooth 100% polyester satin pillowcases protects your skin and are affordable, comfortable, and soft.
This pillowcase set is made from polyester satin, which makes it more affordable and still feeling as smooth as silk reducing stretching and pulling on the skin. The envelope enclosure helps keep pillows in place, and it comes standard and king size. It has a hypoallergenic feature that resists allergens, prevents dust mites and other contaminants from accumulating and doesn’t draw oil away from the face. The weave of this pillowcase allows for good airflow and breathability, and polyester satin blends are known for their temperature regulating properties. You get 2 cases and a 30-day return policy.
Pros: Very affordable, comes with two pillowcases, is hypoallergenic, breathable, comes in 2 sizes, and is very breathable.
Cons: The only downside is that it needs to be cleaned on a delicate wash cycle and air-dried only.
5. Best Rayon from Bamboo Pillowcase: Luxor Linens Bali Bamboo
Why We Love It: If you are looking for a bamboo pillowcase that has good wicking capabilities for a fresh surface free of oils and residue, this Bali Bamboo pillowcase from Luxor Linens is perfect for you.
The pillowcase is made from a blend of 40% bamboo rayon and 60% polyester microfiber. This gives the pillowcase a sleek, soft, and stretchy quality so it doesn’t crease or tug your face. It has a 300 thread count weave to give it a soft texture and bamboo is known for its ability to wick moisture to help keep you cool. Bamboo also features certain vitamins and minerals that make it much healthier for your skin than other pillow types. It comes in 12 color options and can be machine washed and dried. You also get a 90-day trial to help you decide if this pillowcase is right for you.
Pros: The pillowcase is highly breathable, moisture-wicking, has a soft texture, regulates temperature, has a 90-day trial period and comes in a variety of colors.
Cons: Some customers found the pillowcase to be a bit on the pricey side.
Pillowcases for Acne-Prone Skin: Buying Guide
The type of pillow cover you use can either help or hinder acne. Some materials, like cotton and flannel, tend to allow for the build-up of bacteria that worsens your breakout. Whereas, more natural and hypoallergenic fabrics, such as silk, are better for sensitive skin. Let’s take a look at the most common fabrics used for pillowcases.
What kind of pillowcase is best for acne?
A lot of research has been done over the years that suggest fabrics, such as hemp, cotton, microfiber, and bamboo worsen acne because they absorb the oils and dirt on your skin. Dermatologists agree that silk, some bamboo, and satin were better for acne because they were least absorbent.
Out of all the pillowcase materials, silk comes out on top as being the best for beauty and acne. It’s super soft, natural, and durable. Silk is also non-absorbent, repels oils, dirt, allergens, and mold, which means you won’t have these things building up on your pillowcase and getting onto your face, making any acne breakouts worse. It’s a highly used fabric in the beauty industry because it is wrinkle-free and provides a smooth surface for the face. It’s also known to support hydration, suppleness, and promotes skin cell renewal.
Verdict: Silk looks like the top fabric for people with acne.
Satin comes in second to silk due to its shiny, smooth surface, which is gentle on your skin. Like silk, it won’t bunch up and leave you with wrinkle imprints on your face. Satin is believed to help in the prevention of wrinkles on the face and its smooth surface helps to keep your hair from getting tangled at night. Satin bedding can be made using silk, nylon, and polyester blends, and provides a healthier environment for the skin.
Verdict: Satin makes a less expensive option with the same benefits as silk.
Microfiber fabrics are made from synthetic fibers; nylon and polyester. These fibers create a tight, smooth, and soft weave that makes it naturally repellent to allergens, dirt, dust mites, and oils. It’s also supportive of clear skin, skin hydration, and skin surface texture, making it a good choice for acne sufferers.
Verdict: Microfiber looks like it’s another good choice for acne sufferers.
Antimicrobial Silver Technology Weaves
This one is fairly new and still being studied, but the theory is that using silver threads to weave into fabrics will aid in the health of your skin. It claims that silver is a natural antibacterial element that dispels bacteria, allergens, molds, dirt, and odors. We know that silver can interrupt the ability of a bacteria cell to form a chemical bond that it needs to survive. So it’s believed that using this with a poly blend in a pillowcase should support facial skin health.
Verdict: if the theory works, this will be a great fabric for acne sufferers, but we will have to wait and see.
We all love the feel of cotton, but it isn’t the best choice if you have skin problems. Cotton is an absorbent fabric that draws in oil and moisture. This means that dirt, dead skin, and dust all get locked into the fibers. This quickly builds up and then gets transferred back to your skin, which can aggravate acne by clogging your pores. Since cotton draws moisture away, your skin becomes drier and this can cause an excess production of sebum.
Verdict: Cotton isn’t a good choice for acne sufferers.
Like cotton, flannel is a very absorbent material, which means it will have the same effect on your skin that cotton does. It can trap that excess oil, dirt, and dead skin into the fabric, and pulls away the moisture in the skin, leaving it dry. This starts that whole excess sebum production routine, which we know leads to acne breakouts.
Verdict: Flannel is not the best material for acne-prone skin.
Nylon can often look like satin and, while it isn’t absorbent, it does make the face sweat. Excess sweat can work to trap dirt and oil in the pores, which can lead to acne flare-ups. When it’s blended with other fibers that are more breathable, it can be OK for acne, but not really the best choice.
Verdict: Nylon isn’t a good choice on its own for acne sufferers.
How Silk is Made
The creation of silk is quite unique. It begins with a silkworm that eats mulberry leaves until it has fully grown and become ready to pupate. When this happens, the silkworm builds a cocoon using a natural fiber that it produces, which is the starting stage for silk.
When the silkworms are no longer using their cocoons, they are harvested, boiled down, and then separated into these single silk threads. The threads are then fed into spinning reels where they later get woven together to create a piece of fabric. It can take about 1,000 cocoons just to create a silk shirt.
What is the best silk for acne pillowcase?
I mentioned momme earlier on in the review section. Silk, unlike other fabrics, isn’t measured by thread count due to its thin and light fibers. For silk, it weight that matters most, and momme is the unit of measure used. This unit of weight was created by the Japanese. It measures the weight of 100 yards of silk that’s 45-inches in width, by pounds. So, an 8 momme piece of silk weighs 8 pounds per 100 yards. For clothing 8 to 16 momme is suitable. For drapes and upholstery, up to 30 momme is ideal.
The momme weight for a silk pillow should be more than what is used for silk clothing, with the best weight being between the mid to upper teens and the lower 20’s. 16 to 19 momme is considered to be ideal for pillowcases because it is strong enough to withstand frequent use and multiple washings, as well as resists wrinkles.
TIP: For a silk pillow that feels ultra-smooth, stick to a thread count above 400.
When silk is being produced, the silk fibers are twisted into threads. It is then woven into a fabric. There are over 20 types of silk weaves on the market today. Out of these, there are two types that are best for pillowcases; Mulberry and Charmeuse silk.
Mulberry silk is considered very durable. This type of silk comes from Bombyx mori silkworms. They are known to only feed off of the tree leaves of the white mulberry. What makes it different from other silk is that it has excellent breathability and is naturally odorless. It works well to regulate temperature, being able to cool down when it’s hot and warm up when it’s cold. The fabric has long fibers, which is what makes it soft, yet sturdy. It’s also waterproof and stain-resistant.
Charmeuse uses a more delicate weave that gives the front of the material a satin sheen, and an underside whose finish is a bit duller, which is referred to as crepe backing. It gives a more lustrous look and its smooth texture is what makes it perfect for being used in pillowcases. It’s also very breathable and non-absorbent to moisture, dirt, and oils.
An important thing to check when buying a silk pillowcase is how it is put together. Check the stitching detail around the fabric and make sure there are no uneven sections or holes. This is a sign of silk material that is poor in quality. You also want to make sure that all of the seams are secure.
A Crash-Course in Skin
So, we’ve looked at the top 5 pillowcases for acne. Now I want to talk a bit more about acne, what it is, what causes it, and debunk some of the myths surrounding it.
What Is Acne?
Our skin is covered in pores, or tiny holes that produce sebum, a natural oil that helps keep our skin moisturized, supple, and healthy. When these pores become blocked by dead skin cells, excess oil, dirt, and bacteria it causes a pimple to develop. Acne is when your skin is affected by this repeatedly. While acne isn’t a life-threatening condition, it can be painful in severe cases, and can really knock your self-esteem, which leads to emotional distress. It can appear just about anywhere on the body, but is most common on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders.
Types of Acne
There are several types of acne that you can develop, with some being non-inflammatory. If you’ve had acne before, you have probably noticed that the pimples can be black or white. Blackheads and whiteheads are the most common forms of acne lesions. Acne mechanica is a type of acne resulting from something touching and irritating the skin and a possible cause of acne mechanica is rough bedding.
Non-Inflammatory Types of Acne
Both blackheads and whiteheads are non-inflammatory forms of acne. Blackheads are pimples that open at the surface of the skin. They are black as a result of the oxygen in the air. Whiteheads develop just under our skins’ surface, which gives them that white appearance.
Inflammatory Types of Acne
Inflammatory acne lesions tend to cause scarring on the skin and come in four forms.
Papules: these are red, small, raised bumps that occur when hair follicles (on the face) become infected.
Pustules: these are pimples that are red and small and contain pus at the tip.
Nodules: these lumps are more solid and can be painful. They occur under the surface of the skin.
Cysts: these lumps are much large, form under the skin, are quite painful, and contain pus.
Pomade acne: acne that occurs along the forehead, temples and hairline due to the use of vegetables oil based pomades.
What Causes Acne?
As mentioned above, acne happens when the pores of your skin become blocked. All of the pores in our skin are openings to follicles, which contain a sebaceous gland and hair. The sebaceous gland is what releases the natural oil known as sebum.
Acne forms when:
- The follicles produce too much sebum
- Dead skin cells build up within the pores
- Bacteria builds up within the pores
Pimples form when the oils being produced are unable to escape, clogging the pores and forming those small red bumps. When harmless bacteria that live on the skin becomes contaminated, it leads to more inflammatory and severe types of acne. Here are some of the main causes of acne:
Acne in teens is believed to be triggered by a rise in testosterone levels, a hormone that occurs during puberty. Our sebaceous glands are very sensitive to hormones and, when testosterone increases, it causes these glands to produce more oil than our skin really needs.
Some studies have shown that acne can run in families. This doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop acne because one or both parents had it, however, it does raise the likelihood of it.
Acne In Women
Studies have shown that women are more likely to develop adult acne than men as a result of the many hormonal changes that women go through in their lives. This includes:
- Menstrual Cycles – women can have acne flare-ups right before their periods.
- Pregnancy – due to the rising hormone levels that occur in pregnancy, women can develop acne during the first trimester.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – along with weight gain and small cysts developing in the ovaries, women can experience acne flare-ups as well.
Other Triggers of Acne
- Cosmetic products, including hair waxes and pomades
- Certain types of medication
- Wearing items regularly that put pressure on affected areas of the skin, like backpacks and headbands
- Smoking has been known to cause acne in older people
- Having a diet that is high in refined sugars
- Food allergies (e.g. dairy products)
Acne Myths Debunked
Myth 1: Having a poor diet causes acne
A poll done on acne sufferers showed that 2/3 heard that a poor diet causes acne, and 50% heard that chocolate was the main culprit in causing acne breakouts.
Fact: It’s always good to have a healthy balanced diet. However, there is no proof that a poor diet can lead to acne. What is true is that acne occurs due to hormones causing an overproduction of oils in the pores.
Myth 2: Poor hygiene causes acne
In this survey, it was found that 56% of those with acne heard that bad hygiene and dirty skin caused acne.
Fact: Again, there have been no direct links between acne and having poor hygiene or dirty skin. Most of the things that cause acne happen below the skins’ surface, so scrubbing your face until it’s squeaky clean won’t have an impact on pimples. What is a fact is that over-cleaning your face can aggravate your skin, as well as acne.
Myth 3: The best way to get rid of acne is to squeeze pimples
Out of the acne sufferers surveyed, 40% of them heard this old wives tale.
Fact: You should never scratch or squeeze pimples! Doing so can make them worse or lead to scarring and inflammation. If you have severe acne, you should see your doctor before trying any remedies.
Myth 4: You can improve the symptoms of acne by using sunlamps, sunbeds, and sunbathing.
40% of those who suffered from acne heard this tale.
Fact: There have been no links to show that using the above will improve acne. In fact, all of the above are known to increase damage to the skin and can put you at risk for developing skin cancer.
Myth 5: You can effectively treat acne with lemon and lime juice, and toothpaste
50% of the people surveyed have considered treating their acne with toothpaste, and 30% have actually used (or thought about using) lemon and lime juice.
Fact: You may be tempted to dry your skin out, however, using substances that are harsh to the skin can lead to more soreness.
Do Beauty Pillowcases Really Work?
Pillowcases created with beauty in mind are said to protect the hair and skin while sleeping. Most of these are made from pure silk and tell us there is a range of benefits from using them. But do they really do the job? Let’s see what the experts have to say about this.
When you think about the care of your skin and hair, a silk pillowcase probably isn’t the first thing that pops into your head. We’ve looked at many user reviews to see if they really work and what the benefits are.
When we don’t get a good night’s sleep, it has an effect on our appearance. We develop tired looking, dull skin, dark circles under our eyes, and stress to the skin that can lead to premature aging.
Beauty pillowcases are made to keep you cool and to reduce wrinkles. The material itself is wrinkle-free, won’t bunch up on the skin, and the silky smooth texture reduces friction on the face and hair. Some people will complain that beauty pillowcases are pricey, but think about how much you spend on special face creams? And how much of that cream just ends up on your pillow at night? A beauty pillowcase is starting to make sense now.
It Alleviates Stress
Silk beauty pillows lessen the stress on the skin that you get with other fabrics, such as cotton. Your skin glides on the pillowcase, rather than getting snagged or being pulled, all of which adds stress to the skin.
Good for Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, skin irritations, acne, psoriasis, or eczema, you need a pillowcase that won’t irritate your skin further. With beauty pillowcases, many found that their skin started to clear up faster. This is because silk pillowcases are hypoallergenic, non-absorbant, and smooth. It won’t irritate the skin further, and it won’t have a buildup of dirt, oils, and moisture from your skin that can further inflame skin issues. And, because it’s a natural product, those with allergies can use it too.
Good for Your Hair
Those using a silk beauty pillowcase found that it benefited their hair. Your hair gets tangled less because it can easily slide on the pillow. You also get less frizz because there is no friction, which also protects against split ends, breakage, and leaves the hair surface looking smooth and shiny.
Another benefit of using a beauty pillow is its anti-aging features. When you have less friction from your pillowcase, your skin isn’t getting pulled, pushed, or wrinkled, which can break down the skins’ elasticity. It also protects the moisture in your skin to keep it from becoming dry.
So, do these pillowcases work? Many feel they do have benefits that lead to healthier hair and skin, and many experts recommend them for those with sensitive skin.
How Often Should You Wash Your Pillowcases?
It’s important to wash your pillowcases regularly in order to prevent transferring bacteria and allergens back onto the skin. You also want to prolong the life of your pillowcases by washing them correctly, depending on the material.
You should be switching out your pillowcases every few days for a start. Washing should be done at least once a week, according to skincare experts. Those who have sensitive skin should also take care of the detergent they use and opt for fragrance-free detergents. It’s also best to avoid using fabric softeners. In an ideal scenario, anything that touches your face should be cleaned weekly.
Best way to clean a silk pillowcase to avoid wrinkles and damage?
Silk isn’t cheap and you want to make sure that you prolong the life of your pillowcases. The best way to do this is by following the care instructions given by the manufacturer. Now, you could have them dry-cleaned by a professional if you choose, but who really has time for that? You can wash silk pillowcases by hand, and in some cases, in the machine in a 30 degree (C) heat cycle.
When washing silk, always use lukewarm of cold water. Never use hot water because you can damage the material or cause it to shrink. Use a silk laundry detergent that is gentle, and that has no enzyme, bleach, or harsh ingredients in it.
When drying, it’s best to let your pillowcases air dry. The heat from your dryer will cause the silk to become dull, which makes it lose that slipperiness that benefits the skin and hair.
If you are washing your silk in a washing machine, put it in a mesh bag and only use a gentle cycle with cold water. Using distilled white vinegar after the wash helps keep it in shape and dissolve any unwanted traces. Give it a final rinse in cold water. Remember to use the silk setting when ironing your silk pillowcase (as per video instructions).
Best Sleeping Position for Acne Sufferers?
Did you know that the position you sleep in can be good or bad for acne? Back sleeping tends to be the best option for acne sufferers because you aren’t putting friction and pressure on your face. It helps prevent wrinkles in the neck and face, which is important as you get older and your skin has less collagen.
Sleeping on your stomach is the least recommended position for acne sufferers. This is because you have your face mushed into your pillow, which can aggravate acne. Your putting pressure and friction on skin that is sensitive. This leads to acne mechanica, which is when you further inflame acne lesions or aggravate them through rubbing and friction with the pillowcase. The same goes for side sleeping because you still have one side of your face in contact with your pillowcase.
Also, you want to make sure that your pillow is a bit higher, with no gap between the shoulders and neck. This will resist against any downward pulling on the face. If you can’t help sleeping on your front or side, you should get a silk pillowcase that will create less resistance and friction.
Wrapping It Up
The verdict is that skin experts recommend silk pillowcases to be really helpful for not only acne sufferers but for the face, hair and skin in general. I found I liked the Ravmiz silk pillowcase because it’s a good price and doesn’t lack quality. Now that we’ve busted some acne myths, looked at the 5 best pillowcases for acne, and gone over what you need to know when looking for a good silk pillowcase, you should be able to find one to give you that perfect night of beauty sleep.