Is Your Pillowcase Causing Acne Breakouts?
We wake up, go about our daily routine, and come back to relax in our comfortable beds. But those irritating pimples have been bothering you for the past several days, even after intense skin care regimens. A possible culprit? Your pillowcase.
Pillowcases Accumulate Bacteria
When not washed frequently, pillowcases contribute to acne breakouts because of the accumulation of bacteria, dirt, and oils. These come from the environment and from our own skin and hair from daily use. The irritation of your skin from contact with outside clothing is called acne mechanica. The clothing traps heat, sweat, or bacteria, which causes skin irritation. Although frequently seen in athletes due to sports equipment, household items like pillowcases can also contribute to acne mechanica.
According to Dr. David E. Bank, director and founder of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, “Acne mechanica is any type of acne that is the result of material or objects touching your face. When your pillowcase isn’t laundered or changed regularly, a build-up of dirt and oil from the environment as well as your skin and hair touching the pillow is transferred back to your skin. This can clog pores and cause blemishes.”
Makeup and hair styling products cause breakouts through acne cosmetica—pimples and comedones caused by products we apply to our skin and hair. When we don’t fully wash off the residue from our makeup products, it gets onto our pillowcases and comes into contact with our skin.
3 Steps to Avoid Acne Mechanica
Follow these steps to reduce your acne breakouts for clearer, healthier skin:
1. Wash your face every night
Make sure to remove all makeup and styling products from your hair before you sleep so it doesn’t transfer to your pillowcase and bedding. Too exhausted from the day? Simply wipe off the makeup, grime, and oil with a non-comedogenic facial wipe, specially formulated to not cause blocked pores. Need more answers to your skin problems? Contact a dermatologist today!
2. Wash or replace your pillowcase and sheets at least once a week
Improve your acne breakouts by washing your pillowcase and sheets. This reduces the pore-clogging oil and dirt on the surface that comes into contact with your skin.
3. Use skin care products and cosmetics that don’t cause acne
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using products labeled with any of the following words:
- Won’t clog pores
If you’re suffering from acne breakouts, check to make sure your pillowcases, sheets, and anything else your skin comes into contact with are clean. If you’re still unsure about your skin concerns and acne issues, ask a dermatologist today.
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Specialist doctor from the University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. I moved to the Bay Area in January 2013 and I attended the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley from 2013 to 2014 as a visiting PhD candidate. My PhD thesis is on Digital Health and so far I have published 4 peer review scientific papers. I founded First Derm in 2014.