The benefits of silk for your skin
You probably know a good skin care routine is key for a healthy complexion, but have you ever heard about the benefits of silk for your skin?
Believe it or not, a silk pillowcase doesn’t just feel great against your skin – it can also support your skin’s health and address certain skin concerns.
We spoke to consultant dermatologist and spokesperson from the Australasian College of Dermatologists, Dr Diana Rubel, to find out which qualities make silk such a skin-friendly fabric (and learn about the specific skin problems it can help address)...
Silk is smooth and non-irritating
As Dr Rubel explains, “our skin is a sensory organ”, which means “it constantly monitors what materials come into contact with it and conveys feedback to our brains”. Rough, prickly fabrics that “overly excite the nerve endings” beneath our skin can lead to discomfort in the form of sensitivity and itchiness. Silk, on the other hand, is very smooth, which means our skin has “reduced sensitivity” when it comes into contact with it. This makes it “the perfect fabric for eczema sufferers” and those with sensitive skin, as it won’t exacerbate the issue further.
The smoothness of silk can also provide an anti-ageing benefit to our complexion. How, you ask? Well, have you ever noticed creases or marks on your face and chest when you wake from a deep sleep? This tends to happen when we lie on rough fabrics (think synthetic fibers, wools, and even some cottons that contain small, stiff, woven fibers) which pull at our skin. Silk causes much less friction. As Dr Rubel explains, “From a theoretical point of view, silk could help with preventing wrinkles, as it isn’t pulling on the skin.”
Thinking about swapping your regular pillowcase for a silk pillowcase? “Not all silk is of the same quality,” Dr Rubel advises. The higher the thread count (aka the measure of the coarseness or fineness of a fabric), the better the skin benefit: We recommend Lilysilk 19 Momme Terse Silk Pillowcase, which has a thread count of 400 and is as smooth as they come.
Silk is lightweight
Another reason silk is so skin-friendly is that it’s very lightweight. According to Dr Rubel, this means that “theoretically, it will help regulate your body temperature and reduce perspiration.” These benefits are particularly pertinent to those with rosacea and redness, who will find “overheating and perspiration can exacerbate both conditions”.
Worried your silk sheets will leave you feeling cold in winter? There’s nothing to fear: Even though it’s lightweight, silk is a dense fabric with tightly woven fibres, so it’ll still keep you warm. There’s also the option of investing in slightly heavier silk (which has a higher momme weight) for winter.
Silk repels water
You know how high-tech activewear is designed to wick moisture away from your skin? Well, silk is the opposite. It’s non-absorbent and tends to repel water, which means it won’t deplete your skin’s moisture levels (a big win for dry skin types!). A silk pillowcase will also help your nourishing night cream to soak into your skin (rather than your pillow) overnight.
Silk is hypoallergenic
Dr Rubel considers silk pyjamas a “worthwhile investment for eczema or allergy-prone children” in particular. Why? Well, as the the expert explains, prickly, nylon children’s pyjamas can rub on the skin barrier and weaken it, “making it even more reactive”. Silk, on the other hand, is a “neutral”, naturally hypoallergenic fabric and deters environmental dust mites, mould and fungus, which are all known causes of allergy symptoms. Adult eczema sufferers can also benefit from a silk pyjama set. Try Lilysilk 22 Momme Chic Trimmed Silk Pyjamas Set (which comes in six stylish colourways!).
Silk helps you sleep better
We all know good sleep is essential for good skin (hence the phrase, ‘beauty sleep’) and silk is pretty much designed to help you drift off. The fact that it’s so lightweight means you don’t have to fight with it when you want to stretch or turn in your bed – and the aforementioned temperature-regulating qualities can also lead to a deeper slumber. Turns out, it’s no coincidence that those Disney princesses almost always slept on silk pillows!
Dr Rubel also refers back to eczema sufferers, who tend to scratch at their skin in their sleep. Not only does this make their eczema worse, it “may also compromise the quality of sleep overall”. Being smooth and non-irritating, silk can help stifle the urge to itch and is the perfect fabric to help eczema sufferers sleep easy.
Did you know silk has so many skin-friendly benefits?