If you’re a victim of incredibly dry, itchy skin, and coarse, knotty hair during the winter months, you are not alone. For as long as I can remember this has been my reality, spending winter season after season slathering on moisturizers, oils, and leave-in conditioners, looking for those holy grail products that would cure my winter beauty woes. Then I came across the magical creation that is the silk pillowcase and its plethora of beauty benefits.
I’ve never sought professional guidance, assuming this was just a seasonal norm for those of us with hyper-sensitive skin and long hair. But this past November things escalated, calling for drastic measures. I woke up one morning with an aggressive rash around my eyes — swollen, scaly eyelids, painful to the touch, and itching nonstop. I booked an urgent appointment with my dermatologist who informed me it was a very common case of eyelid dermatitis — a condition that causes inflammation to the skin on or around the eyelid (similar to eczema).
She provided me with a topical corticosteroid for immediate relief, but then proceeded to break down the long list of lifestyle factors that could be causing this irritation, such as contact allergens, diet, beauty products, climate, and, sigh, genetics.
I spent a few weeks playing the elimination game, trying to figure out what from my routine was causing these dermatitis flare-ups. After much trial and error, I still couldn’t find one specific reason it was persisting. I did, however, notice that the rash was significantly worse on nights I slept on my stomach or side, which is my natural position, versus on my back. I reconvened with my dermatologist who suggested trying a silk pillowcase since it appeared I was digging my face into my pillow on most nights, given my sleeping position. She explained that silk is a breathable, hypoallergenic material, meaning these pillowcases are resistant to dust mites, fungus, mold, and other allergens. They also keep your skin more hydrated, as they absorb less moisture than cotton and other materials. The icing on the cake, some claim they can even help with wrinkle prevention and getting softer tresses, as silk causes less stress on the skin and hair than cotton. Because of these factors, having constant contact between my pillow and the delicate skin around my eyes wouldn’t be as problematic as with a standard cotton variety.
I’ve always secretly wanted to try a silk pillowcase, but the sensible part of me never allowed myself to indulge in this luxury product. So, naturally, I took these “doctor’s orders” as an opportunity to finally give it a shot. Plus, I was willing to try anything that would relieve me of this constant irritation and discomfort around my eyes.
I decided to order a silk pillowcase from Slip, a brand I’ve seen everywhere and have been eager to try for myself. Its pillowcases are 100% mulberry silk, made from the highest grade (6A) long fiber using non-toxic dyes, and are also machine washable. I gave the pillowcase a wash before the first night of sleep to make sure it was totally clean and began my journey. I crawled into bed excitedly that night, feeling like a spoiled queen.
The first morning post-silk pillowcase sleep, I already noticed a difference. My dermatitis was much milder and BONUS, my long, knotty hair was easier to brush. I had had a good feeling going into the experiment, but this was already exceeding my expectations.
After sleeping this way for a full month, I can say I am a true believer. My dermatitis, while not 100% gone, is much more manageable and less frequent, and I’ve actually noticed my overall complexion looking and feeling better. My skin is more moisturized, calmer, and less red. No sleep creasing here! As for my hair, WOW. I used to spend an easy 15 to 20 minutes just brushing my thick, wavy hair to eliminate knots, and this time has been cut down to maybe five minutes. My hair feels so much softer and is less tangled, even if I don't wash it for a few days. It’s been the biggest unexpected blessing for my locks. I also can’t wait for summer, when the silk will no doubt keep me much cooler while sleeping throughout the night.
In hindsight, I can’t believe I didn’t use a silk pillowcase before, because of a one-time $100 price tag. Considering we spend roughly one-third of our lives sleeping, it’s the easiest way to upgrade your life. Bye-bye dermatitis and bad hair days!
Below, check out my favorite silk pillowcase as well as the extended bedtime routine that maintains my happy winter skin and hair.
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