Are the increasingly popular silk pillowcases really worth it?
THE WASHINGTON POST – Celebrities use them. Instagrammers love them. Hairdressers recommend them. Silk pillowcases are nothing new, but over the past couple of years they seem to have exploded in popularity, adopted by the beauty and wellness industries and recognized for delivering sleek, shiny hair and a supple and wrinkle-free skin.
That doesn’t mean you have to rush to buy one. While they recognize that silk pillowcases may provide some benefits for hair and skin, doctors said the products are best viewed as a supplement to existing routines or as a pleasure to take care of yourself.
Amy Fox, a certified dermatologist and associate professor of hair loss at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, said that since so little research has been done on pillow cases silk pillow, most of the information about them is anecdotal.
But there’s also no danger in trying one, said a certified dermatologist and director of the George Washington Center for Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology in Washington Pooja Sodha – other than the blow to your wallet, as some brands can be. dear. “There is nothing wrong with silk pillowcases, and there may be a benefit, but it’s not the first step we would take for treatment,” she said.
Silk has been used for thousands of years in a variety of applications. It is the only natural filament fiber, which means its threads are continuous and do not need to be sewn together. Fibers that need to be spun together to form threads, such as cotton or linen, have rougher textures because they contain more “wedges”, but they can be mixed and processed to be softer.
Silk also regulates temperature well and doesn’t absorb a lot of moisture, Gopinath said; these properties are the main reasons for its purported beauty benefits.
The benefits of a silk pillowcase are most pronounced for hair, experts say, as silk can help hair retain moisture from natural products and oils and reduce friction that could cause hair loss. tangles and breaks. It’s especially beneficial for curly or natural hair, which doesn’t retain as much moisture as straight hair and is more prone to breakage, said the micro-surgery and dermatologic oncology researcher at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Misty Eleryan. “It’s quite a domino effect: if silk or satin doesn’t absorb that moisture, then your hair stays hydrated and your hair isn’t as prone to breakage.”
Eleryan said people with straighter or smoother textures could still benefit from reduced friction, but silk scarves or pillow cases aren’t essential for their hair care.
Carmen Powers, color specialist at Spoke & Weal’s Flatiron in New York City, has recommended silk pillowcases to her clients who color their hair regardless of texture. Heat styling, chemical treatments, color and rough handling can also weaken strands and create split ends and dryness, which could lead to breakage. To prevent breakage, she recommended gentle handling and styling, regular cuts to prevent split ends, and products such as heat protectors.
But while a silk pillowcase can prevent breakage, it won’t prevent hair loss.
We all lose hair throughout the day. More hair loss can be caused by many factors – alopecia, chemotherapy, hereditary baldness, childbirth, stress – but your pillowcase has nothing to do with it. “Whether it’s cotton or silk, the pillowcase you sleep on at night doesn’t influence your hair loss in any way,” Fox said. Apart from medical or hereditary causes, “the things we do that create hair loss are the things we do mechanically to our hair,” including heat styling and rough handling. A pillowcase will not prevent this.
The benefits of silk pillowcases for the skin are obscure, experts say. Advertisements stated that the smooth surface of silk does not wrinkle or wrinkle the skin, causing fine lines to form. They said it was especially beneficial for side and stomach sleepers, whose faces are in constant contact with the pillow throughout the night.
But while a smooth sleeping surface can be helpful in preventing sleep folds from getting deeper, experts say it’s probably not a major factor in age-related wrinkles.
Some products claim that because silk contains amino acids, sleeping on a silk pillowcase will transfer them to the skin and hair; the doctors said it wasn’t true. Some products created to reduce fine lines, heal wounds, or cover split ends to protect against further damage contain derivatives of silk, but they are applied or injected topically.
“It’s really pushing it… Think about how protective your skin is,” said Jenny Kim, board-certified dermatologist, UCLA medical school professor David Geffen and director of the cosmetic dermatology division of UCLA. “How can (lying down) on a pillow get the amino acid from the pillow to pass through your skin?” It just doesn’t make sense.
Some user reviews have stated that silk pillowcases help reduce lesions and inflammation such as acne and dermatitis, and many advertisements tout the antimicrobial and hypoallergenic properties of silk. Board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, Mary Stevenson said that while this idea is intriguing, it has not been widely studied and it there is very little evidence to support any benefits.
People affected by acne, dermatitis and aging are best served by looking at other aspects of their routine first before rushing to buy a silk pillowcase, experts said. A lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, exercise, quality sleep, and wearing sunscreen of at least SPF 30 per day will also benefit your skin and hair. “It’s not a panacea, and it’s not a clear yes or no answer, but it’s something else to add to your toolbox,” Stevenson said. “I would say that is a very nice indulgence.”
There are many pillowcase options available in stores and online with prices ranging from $ 10 to over $ 100. If you want to try one, look for a product made from 100% mulberry silk, said Preeti Arya, a professor of textiles at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Cheaper options could be silk mixed with a synthetic fiber; silk is usually mixed with polyester and rayon. Satin fabrics will also create a smooth surface. (Owner and master stylist of Studio Chique salon in Ngina Thomas district, prefers satin to silk and said brand names don’t matter as much as texture.)