Silk is a soft and comforting fabric for sheets and pillowcases, especially an organic silk pillowcase. The fabric has a reputation for helping stop acne breakouts and preventing wrinkles. We dive into the details, separating silk sense from superstition. The benefits of silk pillowcases are based on fact.
What is silk?
Silk is the fiber produced by insects such as silkworms and some spiders. Usually, these insects use these fibers for building cocoons and webs. For commercial use, silkworms (Bombyx mori) and the cocoon filaments are used for fabric. The use and cultivation of silkworm fibers are called sericulture.
How silk is produced
Silkworms feed on mulberry leaves to produce silk for cocoons, and the silk filaments are harvested. Harvested filaments are twisted together to make threads thick enough to weave material, traditionally with treadle-operated looms. Now, mechanical looms take over the older manual processes. Traditional dyes came from natural sources such as cinnabar, clamshells, red ocher, indigo, and other plant dyes. Modern silk production uses artificial dyes.
How to care for silk
Silk is a delicate fabric that needs special care. While you can wash silk by hand or in the washing machine, you need to be aware of its fragility.
The first thing you should do to protect your silk pillowcases is to check the fabric care label for instructions. Whether you wash by hand or in the washing machine, it’s essential never to wash with chlorine bleach that can damage natural fibers. If you are using a washing machine, place your silk pillowcases in a mesh bag for delicate items. Use mild detergent. Wash the pillowcases in cool water on the delicate cycle without any other laundry items. Remove the pillowcases and either hang or flat-dry according to the laundry instructions. Do not hang in direct sunlight. Sunlight can fade colors and weaken silk fibers. Store silk pillowcases in breathable plastic in a cool, dry area.
To wash silk pillowcases by hand, agitate these gently in mild detergent. Gently press damp silk with towels to soak up excess water and hang to dry out of direct sunlight. Use moth repellent such as cedar wood to keep away moths.
Silk and beauty
Silk pillowcases allegedly are good for beauty sleep, and there is some merit to the claims of the benefits of silk pillowcases, including an organic silk pillowcase. The promoted claim for silk pillowcases is they help to prevent acne and decrease wrinkles while you sleep. Silk pillowcases are also reputed to help your skin stay hydrated and regulate body heat. A preferred organic silk pillowcase is 100% mulberry silk with a silk weave weight that’s between 19 and 22. Luxury silk is priced to reflect its reputation with prices that range from $30 to $90 per pillowcase. The question is, is the expense worth the reputation?
Silk and your skin
There are more benefits to silk pillowcases for sensitive skin than cotton pillowcases. The reason silk pillowcases can be better for sensitive skin is that cotton pillowcases can wick moisture away from your skin and hair, leaving you with dry skin and hair. Silk pillowcases do not dry your skin as much as cotton because silk repels moisture, keeping the moisture on your face and hair. Dry skin can become irritated and chafed after a night’s sleep on cotton pillowcases. Silk pillowcases can cause less friction on your face while you sleep. The coolness of silk pillowcases can help you avoid sweating during the night and cut down on bacteria created with sweat.
Another reason silk pillowcases are superior to cotton pillowcases is that, while cotton is drawing moisture from your face, the fabric is also depositing bacteria, allergens, makeup, facial oil, and hair products such as conditioner and shampoo on the pillowcase. Silk, because the fabric does not draw these onto the cases, can avoid chemical and bacteria deposits on your face while you sleep. Silk, according to a study published on PLOS One, has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. An advantage of avoiding chemical, allergen, and bacteria deposits with silk pillowcases is a lesser likelihood (but not a guarantee) that the silk will help stop acne breakouts.
Silk and wrinkles
While silk is useful in reducing dry skin, chafing, and irritation, there is not much evidence to support the contention that silk pillowcases help you to avoid wrinkled skin. Wrinkled skin is a matter of being careful to use sunscreen, daily care, the lottery of genetics, and the inevitability of old age.
Should you get silk pillowcases?
Silk pillowcases provide a more comfortable sleeping experience and may have some merits in keeping your skin healthy. Having moister skin and hair are benefits for any beauty regimen. Silk pillowcases should be a supplement, not a substitute, for good daily skin care.
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