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Many adults and teenagers experience the skin condition known as acne, which is characterized by unsightly blemishes on the face, neck, and other areas of the body.
Acne occurs when oil and dead skin enter hair follicles in the skin. Although family history and hormonal activity often play a significant role in acne symptoms, some develop blackheads, pimples, and other blemishes because their skin is exposed to bacteria on pillowcases and other bedding surfaces.
Pillowcases made from absorbent fabrics like cotton and polyester tend to trigger acne symptoms because they trap oil and bacteria from the face. Adults and children with acne are urged to seek out pillowcases made from less fabrics, such as silk, satin, linen, or rayon from bamboo. These less absorbent materials do not trap as much oil or bacteria, and may help mitigate the spread of acne blemishes.
In this guide, we’ll discuss important considerations for pillowcase shoppers with acne concerns. Below you’ll find our top five pillowcases for acne sold today. These picks are derived from a combination of verified customer and owner experiences and our own product research and analysis.
Silk is considered one of the best pillowcase materials for people with acne. It is exceptionally soft, leading to less friction between the pillowcase and the sleeper’s body, which in turn can decrease skin irritation. Our Editor’s Pick is the Alaska Bear Natural Silk Pillowcase. Made from 100% mulberry silk, the pillow has an ultra-soft surface that causes little to no friction. It is also designed to reduce wrinkles and prevent hair from drying out.
The Natural Silk Pillow has a momme weight of 19, indicating a good balance of softness and resiliency. The surface is also hypoallergenic, which helps prevent dust mites and other contaminants from accumulating. Customers can choose from more than 40 colors and patterns, ensuring most can find an option to match their aesthetic tastes. In addition to standard, queen, and king sizes, Alaska Bear also offers toddler, body pillow, and European (square) sizing options.
The Alaska Bear Natural Silk Pillow is a high-value product, with most sizes widely available for $50 or less. Dry cleaning or washing by hand is recommended, as machine-washing can cause the silk fibers to deteriorate.
Our Runner-Up Pick, the Ravmix Mulberry Silk Pillowcase, is another pure-silk option that helps reduce friction and skin irritation for sleepers, which can alleviate acne-related blemishes. The smooth surface also minimizes wrinkles and prevents hair breakage. The pillowcase has a 600 thread count and a silk weight of 21 mommes, both of which indicate an optimal balance of softness and durability.
The case has a concealed zipper closure, which helps contain the pillow without lumping. Customers can choose from standard, queen, and king sizes for adults, as well as a smaller toddler size. Ravmix also offers 24 solid-color choices. The company backs each pillowcase with a three-month warranty that includes full refunds on all returns.
The Mulberry Silk Pillowcase is another high-value pick, with cases in all sizes available for $30 or less. Discounted two-packs are also available. For cleaning, Ravmix recommends hand-washing in cold water or dry cleaning.
Satin pillowcases can be a cost-effective alternative to silk covers. Satin – a synthetic fabric usually made from polyester – does not have silk’s natural breathability, but it is exceptionally soft and creates little to no friction against the sleeper’s face. Our Best Value pick, the Bedsure Satin Pillowcase, is very reasonably priced. A two-pack of these pillows in a standard, queen, or king size is widely available for less than $15.
Another advantage of satin is easy care. The Bedsure pillowcases can be washed and dried in conventional machines. Simply turn them inside out and wash in a mesh bag with mild detergent. Like silk, satin also sleeps very cool. Customers can choose from 15 solid-color options, ranging from neutral and earth tones to more vivid hues.
Bedsure offers a one-month sleep trial for the pillowcases. Additionally, Amazon Prime members who purchase this product on Amazon.com may qualify for discounted shipping rates.
Like silk, linen is a natural fiber that provides consistent temperature neutrality. The Brooklinen Linen Quilted Sham is our top pillowcase pick for this category. Linen – which comes from flax seeds – has a naturally coarse texture that can be softened using several techniques. Each Brooklinen sham is constructed with a linen surface and polyester backing for added cushioning. The linen is stonewashed and garment-dyed, giving it a plush feel that creates very little friction.
Long staple linen fibers are used to make the shams for exceptional durability. Each sham can be washed in a machine using cold water, then tumble dried, making them easier to care for than silk pillowcases. They also boast impeccable quilting, making them suitable for any aesthetic. Brooklinen offers three neutral shades, as well as standard and king sizes.
The Linen Quilted Shams are somewhat expensive, making them a good option for people with larger budgets. Brooklinen also offers a customer satisfaction guarantee that includes free exchanges and replacements.
Another popular alternative to silk is rayon from bamboo, a synthetic fabric that integrates the natural softness and cooling properties of the bamboo plant. Rayon from bamboo also retains some of its source plant’s antimicrobial properties, making it very suitable for people who experience acne breakouts. We’ve selected the Bali Pillowcase from Luxor Linens as our top pick for this category, due in part to its great value. Though it is priced at less than $20 in standard and king sizes, the pillowcase performs as well as many higher-cost competitors.
Rayon from bamboo fabric is naturally cool and breathable. Luxor Linens infuses the fabric with aloe vera, giving the pillowcase exceptional temperature neutrality. The cases can be washed and dried in machines for relatively easy care. In addition to 12 different colors, customers can also choose from six personalized monograms for a $5 fee.
Each order includes two pillowcases of the same size. Luxor Linens offers free delivery on all orders over $49, as well as a 30-night sleep trial with free shipping for all returns.
Millions of adults and children in the U.S. experience regular acne breakouts. The condition can be attributed to a number of causes, which vary by individual. However, most dermatologists agree that exposing one’s skin to oily or greasy surfaces can increase the risk of more intense breakouts. Pillowcases, which absorb natural oil from the sleeper’s skin, are one of the most notorious culprits.
However, some fabrics used to make pillowcases are better for acne than others. This guide compare different pillowcase materials to see which ones are most suitable for people with acne. We’ll also explore common causes and risk factors for acne symptoms and discuss additional strategies for sleepers who experience breakouts.
Please note: Tuck.com is not a medical website, and our advice about pillowcases for people with acne should never substitute for the advice of a licensed physician or medical professional. If you have questions about acne, please consult your doctor for more information.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, roughly 50 million people in the U.S. experience acne symptoms every year. The condition is most prevalent among those between the ages of 12 and 24, though people commonly experience symptoms up to the age of 50.
The Mayo Clinic notes that acne breakouts occur when hair follicles in the skin become clogged with oil and dead skin. This commonly leads to acne breakouts on the face, neck, and shoulders – though symptoms may appear anywhere on the body. Signs of acne include the following:
Several factors can contribute to acne breakouts. Hair follicles are attached to sebaceous glands, which excrete oil. As a result, an overabundance of oil in the skin increases the risk of clogged follicles. Exposing the skin to bacteria can also harm follicles and cause acne symptoms.
Additionally, most experts agree the following factors can indicate a higher risk for acne:
The Mayo Clinic also points to two common misconceptions about risk factors for acne:
A wide range of topical and oral medications for acne are available, with or without a prescription. Dermatologists may also recommend chemical peels, steroid injections, and other treatments.
Although purchasing a new pillowcase may not alleviate acne symptoms for everyone, sleeping on a material that causes minimal friction and absorbs less oil can reduce breakouts to some degree. Read on to learn more about different pillow fabrics.
Before we discuss specific fabrics and materials, let’s look at some characteristics in pillowcase materials that can affect acne symptoms:
Pillowcases can be made from dozens of different materials. The table below illustrates some key characteristics about the most common pillowcase fabrics.
|Fabric||Cotton||Linen||Polyester Microfiber||Rayon from Bamboo||Satin||Silk|
|Source/qualities||Cotton is a natural fiber produced from cotton plants. It is soft and lightweight.||Linen is a natural fiber produced from flax seeds. It is coarse and breathable.||Polyester microfiber is a synthetic fiber that mimics the softness and lightness of cotton.||Rayon from bamboo is a synthetic textile produced from bamboo extracts treated with softening chemicals.||Satin is a synthetic fabric (usually made from polyester) that mimics the smoothness and lightness of natural silk.||Silk is a natural fiber extracted from silkworms. It is exceptionally smooth, lightweight, and breathable.|
|Friction potential||Somewhat high. Most cotton weaves and knits produce at least some friction, though the sateen weave is fairly smooth.||Somewhat high. Linen can be softened with certain techniques, such as garment-dying and stone-washing.||Fairly low. Polyester microfiber has a tight weave that results in a smooth surface with minimal friction.||Low. Rayon from bamboo is exceptionally smooth and should not cause major friction for most sleepers.||Low. Like silk, satin is very smooth and does not create much friction.||Very low. Silk is one of the smoothest fabrics available, and pure-silk pillowcases are renowned for their gentle hand-feel.|
|Absorbency||High. Cotton's absorbance rate is fairly high, and cotton pillowcases may retain a fair amount of body oil.||Fairly low. Linen is a light, breathable material that does not absorb much fluid.||High. Polyester microfiber is much more absorbent than cotton and will likely retain high amounts of body oil.||Medium. Rayon from bamboo is fairy absorbent, but its antimicrobial properties can filter out harmful bacteria.||Low. Satin is not very absorbent, making it a suitable option for people whose bodies produce an excessive amount of oil.||Low. Silk absorbs a minimal amount of moisture. Like satin, it is a good choice for those with an overabundance of body oil.|
|Hypoallergenic?||Natural cotton is hypoallergenic, but cotton/synthetic blends may need to be treated.||Natural linen is hypoallergenic.||Because it is a synthetic textile, polyester microfiber needs to be treated with additives to be hypoallergenic.||Rayon from bamboo is almost always hypoallergenic due to common treatments for that textile.||Satin a synthetic. It may be hypoallergenic if treated with additives.||Natural silk is hypoallergenic.|
|Antimicrobial?||Natural cotton is rarely treated with antimicrobial agents.||Linen is naturally antibacterial.||Many polyester microfiber fabrics are treated with antimicrobial agents.||Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial. Rayon from bamboo also shares this quality, though this is primarily due to chemical treatments.||Satin may be treated with antimicrobial agents.||Silk does carry some natural antimicrobial properties. One recent study linked this to a residual substance found in silkworm cocoons.|
|Pillowcase care||Natural and blended cotton pillowcases can usually be machine-washed. Over time they may develop pilling, small raised lumps along the surface that increase friction.||Most linen pillowcases are rendered in a looser weave that leaves them vulnerable to damage in conventional washing machines. Hand-washing or dry cleaning is recommended.||Polyester microfiber is always machine washable and does not shrink. This allows pillowcase owners to launder their covers as often as they wish in order to keep them hygienic.||Because it is a synthetic fiber, rayon from bamboo can be washed and dried in machines without risk of shrinkage.||Unlike silk, satin is a synthetic fabric that can be washed and dried in machines without shrinkage or extensive fabric deterioration.||Silk is a sensitive fiber that is vulnerable to deterioration when washed or dried in machines. It should only be hand-washed or dry cleaned.|
|Average pillowcase price range||$20 to $40||$50 to $80||$10 to $25||$10 to $25||$10 to $25||$25 to $60|
|Rating for sleepers with acne||Fair to Good||Good||Fair to Good||Very Good||Very Good||Very Good|
Regardless of a pillowcase’s material composition, sleepers with acne can keep their cases hygienic and relatively oil-free by following these care and maintenance steps:
Sleepers can also maintain pillowcase hygiene by removing all makeup and hair products before bed. Back-sleeping may also be effective at reducing acne breakouts on the face, since side- and stomach-sleepers place their faces directly on the pillowcase. Lastly, those who are unable to launder their pillowcases on a weekly basis may want to consider investing in multiple pillowcase sets. This allows them to swap out cases throughout the week and launder them less frequently.
For more information about pillowcase materials and acne issues for sleepers, please visit the following guides on Tuck.com.