Um, Your Pillowcase Might Be Affecting Your Skin — Here's How to Make Sure It Isn't

You’ve been doing everything right, down to drinking unfathomable amounts of water, eating your veggies, catching Z’s and spending way too much of your paycheck on skincare products. Despite your best intentions, acne and irritation still may be haunting you.

The same place you go to recharge and get your beauty sleep could be the culprit behind any disruptions in your skin. Your pillowcase is basically a sponge absorbing all the good, bad, and ugly – then transmitting it directly back to your face.

Here are all the fastest ways to hack your pillowcase cleanliness for better skin, especially if sensitivity and acne is something you've been facing lately. 

Wash your pillowcases regularly. 

Your pillow may look perfectly clean and inviting from the outside, but in reality, it’s a hub for bacteria, dirt, and oils. When those things are transmitted from your face and environment to your pillow, and then back onto your face, it clogs your pores resulting in breakouts. 

You can combat this buildup by washing your pillowcase every week. Every two-to-three days is ideal if you’re not the type to let your laundry pile up. However, there are precautions that need to be taken during that week of use: Don’t sleep on the same side every night, and when the mid-week point hits, turn your pillowcase inside out so you’re able to rest on an unused side.

Nicole Diaz, a senior at Kennesaw State University, recommends buying multiple pillowcases. “If you have the time and funds, buy seven days worth of pillowcases. Change them every day and wash them all at the end of the week. That’s one of the reasons I’ve seen such an improvement in my skin,” she explains. “Not so much investing in the pricey products, but sleeping on a clean pillowcase each night.”

During the switch, be mindful of the detergent you are using as well. Steer away from products with fabric softeners and heavy scents, in favor of something more natural. Baby detergent or a natural brand like Seventh Generation are good options!

Related: 4 Reasons You Might Be Breaking Out RN

Manage how much hair product is getting on your pillowcase. 



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Your pillow isn’t just absorbing the grime from your face, but also your hair. This especially may be a problem if don’t wash your hair daily or if you use hair product (AKA all of us!). It’s obvious that you shouldn’t put hair mousse all over your face, but when it transfers to the pillow you sleep on, it's going on your face. Not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of what's causing breakouts, but this is definitely a culprit. If you use lots of hair product, the easiest fix is just changing your pillowcase every week to keep it fresh.

Yasmin Torres, a junior at St. John’s University, thinks women can benefit from keeping their hair out of their face while sleeping. “No matter your hair type, to avoid transmitting all the dirtiness from your hair to your pillowcase, wrap your hair up in a scarf,” she says. “I sleep on my side every night, so if it wasn’t for the scarf my skin would be incredibly irritated.” 

Invest in a special pillow or pillowcase.



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A good pillow can make a world of a difference! There are certain pillows available to keep you upright during the night, so your face isn’t coming in direct contact with your pillow. There are also antibacterial options and silk pillowcases that are really gentle on your skin and hair. 

An antibacterial pillowcase will help keep your pillow clean for a little longer and it will help with breakouts. A silk or satin fabric pillow is very gentle on skin, as it helps prevent wrinkles and it's great for your hair. If you wake up with knotted, matted hair every morning, you should definitely try a silk or satin pillowcase, like this Silk Pillowcase ($85). 

With everything that goes into a busy college day, bedtime is the one thing that should not be stressful. So if you're noticing more breakouts and bumps when you wake up in the morning, just swap out your pillowcase for a clean one and see if it makes a difference!