Softer skin, tamed frizzy hair and fewer wrinkles are just a few of the silk pillowcase benefits for skin and hair touted by brands. But are they true? We ask professionals in the world of hair and beauty if there's any truth to these bold claims.
Considering that we spend decades of our lives sleeping, it’s important to understand that the pillows you choose for your bed can significantly affect your sleep quality. Finding the best pillows is crucial to getting a good night's sleep and finding a great pillowcase is equally important.
Beauty experts rave about the benefits of silk and tout its superiority in the silk vs satin pillowcase debate. Silk pillowcases certainly look the part if you're after a luxurious, glamorous bedroom aesthetic, but with so many big claims about the benefits of silk pillowcases out there, are they really worth the hype?
Silk pillowcase benefits for skin and hair – are the claims true?
There are many bold claims surrounding the benefits of silk pillowcases for both skin and hair, but are they simply myths or are there elements of truth? We turn to leading beauty experts to find out, and here's what they said...
1. Silk pillowcases help prevent wrinkles
The claim that the smooth texture of silk pillowcases is gentle on the skin and can reduce fine lines, whereas cotton pillowcases can cause creases in the skin, which can lead to wrinkles over time, is apparently true according to the experts we spoke to.
"Yes, silk pillowcases can prevent fine lines and wrinkles," says Dr. Tara Francis, aesthetic doctor and founder of Enhance by Dr. Tara. "Silk contains essential amino acids, which help speed up skin cells' metabolism and prevent wrinkles' formation. Always make sure you check that you're using a pillow that's made from pure silk and not a synthetic form."
"Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process which occur as our body’s natural collagen levels decline. However, there are also lifestyle and environmental factors which can exacerbate them," explains Nina Prisk, an NMC registered independent nurse prescriber.
"When we sleep the skin on our face is pressed into the pillow causing creases to appear. Over a prolonged period of time, this can of course have a permanent impact on the skin. However, sleeping on a silk pillowcase can be beneficial to the skin for a number of reasons. The friction caused by some materials such as cotton can mean that the skin is dragged or tugged when you move around at night. However, because the surface of silk is smooth your skin glides over it more easily, effectively helping to reduce facial lines and wrinkles."
(Even the best travel pillows can cause creases in the skin too, so it might be worth investing in an anti-wrinkle silk pillowcase for travel too.)
2. Silk pillowcases hydrate skin
This claim is also true. Silk pillowcases don't absorb moisture (or dirt) easily and this reportedly keeps skin from drying out – whereas cotton bedding (even sets with the best thread count) will absorb moisture, which can dry out your skin.
"Silk absorbs less moisture than cotton," confirms Dr. Tara Francis. "Your skin stays more hydrated on silk and is a great option for those who suffer from dry skin or live in dry climates. The natural silk fiber is more effective when repelling moisturizer than any other materials."
"Silk is unique because of the fact that it doesn’t remove moisture from the skin, which helps skin to retain hydration and plumpness," explains Nina. "Materials such as cotton are very absorbent and therefore any face creams that you put on before bed will soak into your pillow before your skin can fully benefit."
"The proteins in silk, in contrast, enable it to form a moisture barrier against the skin which allows it to retain the products you’ve applied as well as its own natural moisture in order to prevent dehydration of the epidermal cells. This means skin will maintain adequate hydration and plumpness."
"It can be gentle on the skin and absorb less of the skincare that you apply in the evening, which can make the skin more hydrated and allow the active ingredients to work on treating skin concerns such as acne and fine lines," explains Carrie.
"However, there is minimal research surrounding the qualities of silk and its implications on the skin alone. Think of a silk pillow as an accessory to your skincare; it can help it be absorbed but it isn't a treatment in itself."
3. Silk's antibacterial qualities help with acne
Silk pillowcases are said to be beneficial for anyone susceptible to acne and Dr. Hasia Al Khubra, a GP specializing in skin and aesthetics, explains that this claim around silk pillowcase benefits is somewhat true.
“Whilst there’s no evidence that silk pillowcases prevent acne breakouts, they have been found to have micro-level antibacterial properties," says Dr. Hasia Al Khubra.
"As they don’t absorb as much moisture or bacteria they may be a better option for anyone with acne-prone skin."
From a hygienic standpoint, how often you wash your sheets also plays a part in the effectiveness of silk pillowcases. Dr. Hasia explains, "However, it’s important to wash your pillowcase regularly as even silk pillowcases will build up dirt over time which can impact acne."
4. Silk pillowcases regulate body temperature
It's claimed that silk can help to regulate temperature. This claim is also true, as like the best cooling pillows, silk pillowcases can keep you cool by helping your body regulate its temperature overnight.
"Absolutely, silk has the benefit of regulating and insulating your body temperature," confirms Dr. Tara Francis. "Many use silk all year round, as it can help keep you warm in cooler months, and cool in the warmer weather too."
“Unlike cotton pillowcases which will absorb moisture and feel warmer the longer you sleep on it, silk pillowcases are more breathable and thought to be good for regulating body temperature as they can keep you warm in the winter and cooler in the summer,” adds Dr. Hasia Al Khubra.
One to remember when looking for how to sleep in the heat next summer.
5. Amino acids in silk pillowcases will benefit your skin
This claim is dependent on the quality of your chosen silk, but essentially it is true. "Silk pillowcases contain 18 amino acids which are absorbed by the skin whilst you sleep to promote cell regeneration and repair, improving your skin’s elasticity levels," explains Dr. Tara Francis.
Dr. Hasia Al Khubra explains why it depends on the quality of silk pillowcase, saying: “the efficiency depends on the type of silk pillowcase you buy, ideally you want one that’s pure mulberry silk as this kind of silk contains the 18 amino acids which are really beneficial for your skin in terms of cell regeneration and repair.” Indicating that it's worth investing in the best silk pillowcases to reap the full benefits.
6. Silk pillowcases tame frizzy hair
Due to the smooth texture of silk, people tout that it reduces friction on your hair, therefore helping to prevent frizzy, tangled hair as you sleep. And according to our expert, this is indeed true.
"At this point in the hair game, it’s surprising if you’re not incorporating silk products in some form because why wouldn’t you?," asks Lisa Laudat, celebrity hairstylist. "There are so many benefits as silk can help your hair stay hydrated, and preserve your hair’s natural oils."
"This is especially important for anyone with curly hair which can become dry and break easier than straight hair, but overall silk hair products should be a staple for everyone who wants to keep their hair in great condition."
7. Silk pillowcases prevent split ends
Believe it or not, this is true, the benefits of helping hair stay hydrated are thought to help with breakages – therefore good for preventing split ends.
“Silk pillowcases are great for preventing split ends and I love silk pillowcases for this reason," says Lisa. "If they’re made of 100% Mulberry silk they’re really soft, gentle, and great for protecting your hair against breakage. They really do help keep your hair in the absolute best condition."
Are silk pillowcases worth it?
The overall answer is yes. As you've seen from our experts, the benefit claims are far more favorable than not. But it pays to have realistic expectations, because while silk pillowcases can help skin feel hydrated and keep hair in good condition, they can't put nutrients into your skin or improve skin below surface value.
But across the board, most who try a silk pillowcase see improvements in hair and skin health and would recommend using one. Silk pillowcases can be pricey – especially if you go for a 100% mulberry silk model. But for us, the glowing skin and no-frizz hair benefits are more than worth it.
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Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 20 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of womanandhome.com, she has spent the last 17 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.
With a keen eye for the latest interior trends, there's not a lot she doesn't know about home decor – whether it’s what colour we should be painting our living rooms next season, or if the latest 'must-have' buys are actually worth investing in.
A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interior trends events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.
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