Pillows that Promise Better Skin and Hair: Gimmick or Real Deal?

I've been sleeping on one, and I got a couple dermatologists to weigh in on the matter, too.
Publish date:
July 29, 2015
anti-aging, sleep, wrinkles, bed head, Pillows

When I stopped by the xoVain HQ back in April, I got the chance to rummage through boxes full of products (while giggling and swatching and high-fiving with Marci, of course). It was then, amidst the ransacking, when I happened upon a tiny, unsuspecting container housing a silk pillow case making bold proclamations.

The back of the box goes into more depth:

slip silk allows your skin to glide, whereas cotton scratches and tugs on delicate facial skin, resulting in premature stretching and sleep crease. Cotton grabs your hair and twists it at the root throughout the night, damaging hair and causing bed head in the morning, whereas slip silk is so gentle on your hair, it allows your hairstyle/blow-dry to last overnight.

I'm pretty sure that sleep creases are those weird marks you wake up with sometimes that take like two hours to fade. If a pillowcase will save me from those alone, I'm sold.

Anyway, this fancypants pillowcase also claims that cotton draws moisture from your face, hair and scalp. Silk, on the other hand, does the opposite. It's also hypoallergenic and naturally regulates temperature.

This actually isn't the first time I've heard about pillows and pillowcases that benefit your health and beauty. For example, I'm sure you're all familiar with hypoallergenic pillows, bedding and even beds themselves that promise to minimize allergic reactions. Some even go so far as to claim they keep you from developing allergies.

Within the last two months, I've also received press releases for a pillow that promise support specifically for your breasts (genius or nuts—you decide), as well as a bizarrely-shaped pillow that essentially keeps your face suspended through the night.

Now, you can read all the claims and try these products out for yourself, but let's be honest: How are you really going to know if they're making a difference for you without years' worth of testing? And even then, can you really attribute a lack of wrinkles and prettier hair days to your pillow versus, say, a good conditioner or consistent SPF usage?

According to the two dermatologists I spoke to, though, it's all pretty legit.

"There is no question that the position you sleep in affects your skin," says Dr. Gary Goldfaden, lifetime member of The American Academy of Dermatology and the creator of GOLDFADEN MD products. "If you sleep on any part of your face, the pressure can cause the breakdown of collagen over time."

Dr. Goldfaden goes on to say that morning sleep wrinkles (sleep creases!) indicate you're lying too hard, or burying your face too deeply, into your pillow. Doing this night after night can overwork the skin and lead to wrinkles.

"Silk pillow cases and sheets may be better for the skin because they help keep moisture close to the skin," he notes. "Silk, when tightly woven, helps moisture stay close to the skin, therefore not absorbing and causing skin to feel and look dry or dehydrated in the morning."

Is your mind blown yet? Mine is.

I also spoke with Dr. Dendy Engelman, who happens to treat the goddess Sofia Vergera. More importantly, Dr. Engelman is an associate at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery.

"Sleep wrinkles are a huge phenomenon, and there is truth behind the 'anti-wrinkle' pillows and pillowcases," she says. "The bottom line is any product that helps reduce the strain on the skin is beneficial."

Dr. Engelman makes an additional suggestion: sleep on your back.

So what did we learn here today? That the pillows, pillowcases and sheets you choose to sleep on can actually make a difference in the overall health of your skin and hair.

I'll be honest and tell you that, after a month of using the silk pillowcase above, I really can't tell a difference. My skin and hair seem pretty much the same. That said, I'll tell you that this pillowcase does feel more luxurious than my cotton one, and there's something to be said for that.

Maybe after 10 or 20 years of sleeping on fine silk, I'll be able to come back at you with some data. Until then...

  • What does your sleep situation look like right now?
  • Do you see yourself switching to something else after reading this?