When was the last time you washed your pillowcase? How often do you change your pillowcase? Weekly, maybe monthly perhaps?
If you have been following a tight skincare regimen and noticed recent breakouts (either on your face or your scalp), it is probably time to change to some fresh sheets. I stumbled upon a study which was led by Robert R. Dunn (2013) a few days ago which discovered that pillowcases have more bacteria on them than toilet seats, but much of the same bacteria are found on both. Absolutely disgusting.
How does our pillowcase cause breakouts?
“Like anything else that transfers dirt and oil to your skin, pillowcases can be the cause of acne mechanica”, according to Dr. David Bank, director and founder of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery.
Acne mechanica is any type of acne that is the result of material or objects touching your face. When your pillowcase isn’t laundered or changed regularly, a build-up of dirt and oil from the environment as well as your skin and hair touching the pillow is transferred back to your skin. This can clog pores and cause blemishes. If you have any thick products on your hair when you sleep, the oils from your hair sit on the surface of your pillowcase and that can transfer to your face.
Bearing in mind however, not every acne or breakout is caused by your pillowcase. At times it could be a combination of things i.e.: genetic predisposition, stress, hormones, habits (face touching) in which all can exacerbate an already prevalent problem and cause micro-irritation.
So how often should we be washing our pillowcase?
Dermatologists recommend that we should be changing our pillowcase once every 2-3 days. That does seem a bit much, doesn’t it? Who has the time? However, it is claimed that in order to extend the “lifespan” of your freshly laundered pillowcases you can opt for an antimicrobial silver ionic pillowcase/sheets to 7 days.
Some brands such as Silvon, Skin Laundry (Sleep Cycle), and Hygienie provide antimicrobial silver ion pillowcases. They are rather pricey around the £30 mark and only lasts for about 50 washes. I haven’t personally tried any of these pillowcase therefore will be unable to advise which brands work best. All I am doing now is sticking to a strict skincare regimen (which means double cleansing before bed even when I’m dead tired) and to wash my sheet as frequent as possible (around the 6-7 day mark).
I also realised that by cutting down fabric softener and switching to non-fragrant/ natural option makes it better for my skin. As I feel that strong fabric softeners tend to sensitise my skin.