As someone who never suffered from acne, or barely a pimple during my adolescent years, I was surprised to suddenly see spots forming on my cheek during my late-twenties. These spots were also only on the side that I slept (my right side), which led me to wonder, could a dirty pillowcase be causing a breakout? It turns out the answer to that question is “yes.”
According to The Sun, The International Dermal Institute reveals that up to 55 percent of adults between the ages of 20 to 40 years old are “diagnosed with low-grade, persistent acne and oily skin.” And there are many different causes of this, including pillowcases.
The material is able to trap bacteria, dirt, and oils from our skin, which can clog pores and cause skin irritation resulting in a breakout, and according to First Derm, the cause of this breakout is acne mechanica. The publication notes that director and founder of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, Dr. David E. Bank, has shed light on what acne mechanica is, revealing it’s a form of acne which is caused by “material or objects touching your face.”
It also has less to do with the material of your pillowcase, and more to do with the fact that if not changed regularly it can result in grime and oil being transferred onto your skin. However, Huffington Post reports that sleeping with pillowcases made from natural fibers could reduce the transfer of oil as these fabrics tend to breathe better, and Bustle notes there is a pillowcase produced by Déjà that focuses on helping to prevent breakouts.
Are we really that gross that we don’t think to wash our pillowcases for weeks and months? It’s not this at all, and you’d be surprised just how quickly bacteria can build up because according to the Huffington Post, you should launder your pillowcases every two to three days. Also, avoid using fabric softener on the pillowcases which can further aggravate acne prone skin.