So I told some colleagues yesterday that I will be writing a blog on the topic of silk pillowcases, and today my boss came to my office and asked me “how come you still haven’t written anything yet? I’ve heard good things about silk and want to learn more and everyone says you are the expert.” Well, was that a pleasant surprise! I guess I will need to get off the lazy horse and start writing some real articles now. So much for my planned movie night out though.
So, where should we start? The benefits are numerous and I’m having a hard time choosing the most profound one out of them all, but since my boss is the person that prompted me to start the series, I suppose I will begin with something she would be interested in reading, and that is, of course:
Facial skin care
– the key to the ultimate beauty sleep (okay that might have been slight exaggerated – but you get the point):
Many people have trouble believing me when I tell them their pillows and pillowcases play a huge role in the development of facial wrinkles. “My pillow is soft and puffy, there is no way a pillow as comfortable as mine can cause wrinkles” is a common defense that I hear often and agree with to a certain extent. I have owned both cotton-filled and down-filled pillows before, with cotton/polyester pillowcases, and they were undoubtedly comfortable. However, silk pillows are something else completely, especially in the area of facial skin care. Don’t believe me? Then read on:
I’m sure those of you who sleep on a cotton pillow have experienced sleep lines when you wake up at some point in the past. You probably don’t pay too much attention to it if you are young, as they tend to disappear fairly quickly by themselves. For those in their 40’s and 50’s, however, the lines may last longer, sometimes even staying on your face for the entire day. This is because, as you age, your facial skin starts to lose elasticity making it more difficult to recover from even the smaller disruptions (sleep lines in this case). Eventually, the collagen below your skin will break down enough that everyday regeneration becomes negligible, and the sleep lines will become permanent wrinkles. Sounds scary doesn’t it? No need to panic, let’s keep going.
So what causes these facial lines to form? So far, research has pinpointed 3 major factors that attribute to the formation of facial creases caused by sleep:
1. According to research by the late Dr. Samuel J Stegman, a prominent dermatologic surgeon, when your face comes in contact with your pillow, the pressure the pillow applies to your face would cause the muscular region of your face, known as “Underlying Superficial Aponeurotic System” (SMAS) to be damaged. The extent of the damage is found to be positively correlated with the length of time during which pressure is applied and the amount of pressure. Your body can repair this damage, however only to a certain extent. Younger people tend to recover completely in maybe a few hours, while older people can take most of the day to repair the same amount of damage. Sometimes, the damage cannot be repaired completely before it is inflicted again by sleeping. Sleep lines of this nature develop into permanent wrinkles soon afterwards.
2. The skin on your face can get “caught” by the rougher surfaces such as the surface of a cotton pillowcase when you move your face on it. So when you toss and turn at night, you will be literally folding your skin as part of your skin moves freely and part of it is stuck on the surface, creating creases around the line of folding. Frequent and/or prolonged folding of facial skin will cause reduced and delayed regeneration of the tissue under the fold, eventually turning these folds into permanent facial wrinkles. It has been found that those who sleep on rough surfaces tend to develop wrinkles at a much more accelerated pace.
3. The third and often overlooked factor in the formation of wrinkles is the loss of moisture. Dry and flaky skin is less elastic and more prone to damage, the lack of water in the skin cells makes regeneration slow and sometimes downright impossible. Certain materials such as cotton and wool absorbs water well, and sleeping on them causes your face to lose moisture.
To summarize, the three biggest factors that contribute to sleep line formation are: pressure-induced skin trauma, facial skin folds and loss of moisture. These three factors, when presented individually, may not be too much of a threat, but if you compound them together, the resulting effect can be quite nasty. After all, when you spend roughly one third of your life with your face against your pillow, even trivial effects may have profound consequences, let alone a mix of three rather big factors.
So, how does a silk pillow solve these problems? Let’s take a close at how a silk pillow with a silk pillowcase works when you sleep:
Silk pillows have silk floss as its filling, which is a stack of silk thread layers placed on top of each other. Silk floss is soft and puffy but at the same time much more “solid” than, say, down filling, as it does not hold large pockets of air in between. When you place our face on a silk pillow, the first thing you will notice is how well the pillow “caves in” to accommodate your head just like a good cotton or down pillow would, but with much better support on the side of your head. You will start to feel how every inch of your skin is firmed supported by the silk floss filling, and rolling your head on the silk pillow would never make you feel like the lowest part of your head is being pressured much more than the rest, unlike those cotton-filled pillows where support on the side is much weaker and back of your head seems to be touching your bed directly. This balanced support provided by the silk pillow means the damage caused by pillow pressure to your face will be light at any particular point, making repairs much easier for your body to handle. Of course, an even better way to reduce pressure to your face is to sleep facing upwards, as per Dr. Stegman’s suggestions, but unless you are willing to tie yourself to your bed to ensure you don’t toss and turn in the middle of the night, there is no way to control exactly how your sleep is carried out by your body.
With the pressure problem solved, we can start looking at the next issue, and you should be able to immediately recognize that the silky-smooth surface of the silk pillowcase (no pun intended) is the perfect solution for unwanted skin attachments. I cannot say it better than Dr. Howard Sobel, New York magazine’s top dermatologist five years in a row, when it comes to how much the smooth surface of silk helps with reducing facial creases: “Silk pillowcases prevents facial skin from creasing during the night and allows the skin to glide along the pillow so the face rests comfortably without placing pressure on creased skin, effectively ‘ironing in’ wrinkles”.
Also, silk does not absorb moisture like cotton or wool does. It is a known fact that cotton is hungry for water – it can absorb up to 27 times of its own weight of water. When you press your face against cotton, the end result is a chunk of the moisture in your skin is drawn out by cotton and absorbed. Wool and nylon are also fairly absorbent when it comes to moisture, silk, on the other hand, has one of the lowest absorption rates of water, leaving your facial skin well moisturized throughout the night and greatly reduce the possibility of getting facial creases.
So, there you go! I’ve just told you the secret of my “beauty sleep” (I’m a guy but hey, good skin can’t hurt). Those of you from my office who didn’t believe the secret was silk – well, you should start having some faith in me now. So far the silk pillow and pillowcase set has been working out pretty well for me, as I wake up every morning feeling refreshed. My face is smooth (relatively speaking of course, age wears on no matter what), and my hair is in perfect shape.
The previous silk pillow I had was bought from an Ebay vendor (I don’t remember the name) and still going strong if I didn’t want to try out the higher quality 22 momme silk. The one I have now was bought from Lilysilk which is an online vendor in China, a factory outlet I believe – they had great delivery service (4 days between the time I placed my order and arrival of the shipment at my door) and the quality of the pillows was impeccable. I’m expecting this pillow set to last me a good 10 years. The set was a little bit expensive ($325 regular price) but I got a good 30% deal off of it (Black Friday sales – lucky me!). Considering the money you can save on wrinkle creams and skin moisturizers and other pillows/pillowcases, I’d say this would be a worthwhile investment for those that tend to worry about facial wrinkles often – you know who you are