15 Best Pillowcases for Acne 2022 – WWD


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Chances are, if you struggle with acne, you know the value of a nighttime skin care routine. What you may not realize, however, is that caring for a sensitive complexion doesn’t end with a rinse. What you rest your head, and therefore your face, on while you sleep can also majorly impact the state of your complexion. In other words, investing in one (or a few) of the best pillowcases for acne is just as important as using the right cleanser, serum, and/or salicylic acid products when trying to reduce the risk of breakouts.

If you think about it, you can probably recall a time you were told by either a doctor or parent not to touch your face to prevent the onset of pimples. But from the moment you close your eyes to the second you wake up in the morning, your skin is rubbing against a pillowcase for hours, and direct contact with the wrong fabric, or bedding that’s due for a wash, can just as easily cause a breakout. This is especially true if you aren’t regularly washing your pillowcases, as certain fabrics collect and retain oils and bacteria. 

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The best pillowcase fabrics for acne

Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Rebecca Marcus tells WWD that while your pillowcase doesn’t hold the power to single-handedly prevent breakouts, the wrong fabric can exacerbate your acne. You want to be on the lookout for fabrics that are hypoallergenic and breathable, that reduce friction and therefore irritation, and don’t soak up a ton of products like face creams and serums so that the oils and any bacteria fester on your bedding. These include:

  • Silk pillowcases
  • Satin pillowcases
  • Bamboo pillowcases
  • Lightweight cotton pillowcases

If you’re surprised to see cotton on the list, it’s understandable. The information surrounding whether or not cotton is actually good for acne-prone skin is conflicting. But according to the founder of Bare Aesthetic, Vanessa Coppola, APN-C, FNP-BC, cotton is easy to launder. As long as you’re washing your pillowcases every few days, oils, Coppola tells WWD, the dirt and grime from our face, which can accumulate on the pillowcase and cause us to have breakouts, won’t have the chance to build up. 

“When going the cotton route, I would recommend choosing a lightweight 100% cotton without added synthetic materials which can cause heat-trapping against the skin,” Coppola says. “Typically the higher the thread count, the softer the pillow, which can help to reduce shearing forces against the skin. Also, white pillowcases are helpful simply for the fact that you can easily see when they get dirty.”

As for which fabrics acne-prone skin types should steer clear of, Dr. Marcus flags synthetic textiles like rayon and polyester, as these tend to hang onto moisture, providing “a perfect breeding ground for the buildup of bacteria and yeast.” Pillowcases that are not easily washed or require dry cleaning should also be avoided, Dr. Marcus warns, as pillowcases need to be washed frequently, and dry cleaning chemicals can irritate the skin.

Here’s how often you should wash your pillowcase

In a word: Often. 

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According to Marcus, acne-prone skin types should be washing their pillowcases 2-3 times per week. Those without acne can get away with a weekly wash. 

Top Pillowcases of 2022

 

Slip Silk Pillowcase

  • Fabric: Pure Mulberry Silk (22 Momme)
  • Thread Count: 220-360
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • Sizing: Queen, King
  • Color Options: 16, including Black, Caramel, Marble, Pink Marble, Plum, Rose Gold, and Spring Paisley

This writer can attest from personal experience that sleeping on a Slip Silk pillowcase is as dreamy as it sounds, and dermatologists are in agreement that the luxurious fabric also boasts skin-loving benefits. Dr. Marcus credits her fandom to the pillowcases’ smooth texture, gorgeous color options, and the data Slip has to prove its product absorbs significantly less face cream and creates 43% less friction than cotton pillowcases. Celebrity aesthetician and dermatological nurse, Natalie Aguilar is also a fan, telling WWD over email that Slip’s highest grade long fiber Mulberry Silk and non-toxic dyes deliver the “ultimate beauty sleep” as the combination keeps skin’s moisture, and any product applied before bed, on the face. Silk also generates less friction, minimizing irritation so that blemishes can heal, plus it’s a cooler fabric, which is great for sensitive skin. “I’ve noticed that my skin is always at an even temperature,” Aguilar says of her experience with the pillowcase. “I never feel it get too hot or too cold with the beautiful Slipsilk.”

Slip Silk Pillowcase



Slip Silk Pillowcase


$89



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California Design Den Cotton Pillowcase Set

  • Fabric: Cotton Sateen
  • Thread Count: 400
  • Machine Washable: Yes 
  • Sizing: Standard/Queen, King
  • Color Options: 19, including Bright White, Hunter Green, Soft Plum, and Sunshine Yellow

Another affordable pillowcase for acne you can snag for under $20 is the California Design Den Cotton Pillowcase Set, which is a pack of two. The pillowcases are made from 100 percent extra-long-staple cotton with a royal sateen weave. They’re also certified as Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, meaning they’re hypoallergenic and gentle on sensitive skin. According to the founder of DermBx and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Neda Mehr, the California Design Den luxurious hotel pillowcase is “cool, dry, and breathable, making it perfect for acne-prone skin.” Plus, the pillowcase comes in so many colors and sizes (from twin to California king), you’re bound to find the perfect match for your bedroom decor.

California Design Den Cotton Pillowcase Set



California Design Den Cotton Pillowcase


$18



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Alaska Bear Natural Silk Pillowcase

  • Fabric: 100% Mulberry Silk
  • Thread Count: 600
  • Machine Washable: No
  • Sizing: Standard, Queen, King, California King, Toddler, Body, European, 18-inch x 18-inch
  • Color Options: 38, including Burgundy, Mint Green, Natural Ivy, and Teal Sapphire

With over 8,100 (and counting) ratings on Amazon alone, the Alaska Bear Natural Silk Pillowcase is clearly a fan-favorite, and for good reason. Its wide range of color options and fun designs make shopping for pillowcases for acne feel less like a chore and more like picking out new home decor. Plus, the pillowcase boasts many perks for sensitive skin: First, mulberry silk is as sustainable as it is breathable, hypoallergenic, and thermoregulating. Second, the fabric is smooth, unlike cotton and linen that can be scratchy on the skin. It’s its level of softness that Jillian Magee, an esthetician at Face Haus in Dallas, loves most about the pillowcase.  “This is my top choice for an acne pillowcase and what I currently use,” she tells WWD. Possibly the only major caveat: It’s not machine-washable. Rather, this pillowcase should be hand washed in cold water, with a mild liquid detergent for best results.

ALASKA BEAR Natural Silk Pillowcase



Alaska Bear Natural Silk Pillowcase


$26



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Silvon Pillowcase

  • Fabric: Silver-infused Supima Cotton
  • Thread Count: 300
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • Sizing: Standard, King
  • Color Options: 5: Blush, White, Sand, Silver/Grey, Sky/Blue

Silvon calls its product an “anti-acne pillowcase.” This is largely due to the fact that the Silvon pillowcase is made from Supima cotton (American-grown and extra-long-staple) woven with silver, which is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial. The pillowcase is also free of dyes and has not been chemically treated. “For those who spend a lot of time sleeping, these pillowcases can harbor less bacteria and pathogens than many other pillowcases that are made from traditional materials,” says skincare expert and medical aesthetician, Cassandra Bankson. It’s been clinically tested and proven to help eliminate 99.97 percent of acne-causing bacteria, meaning you can sleep soundly knowing you’re resting against a clean surface and is hypoallergenic. Amazon reviewers rave the pillowcase also delivers results fairly quickly. For example, one user claims Silvon’s pillowcase helped fade old acne in one month, while another saw visible results in as little as three weeks.

Silvon Pillowcase



Silvon Pillowcase


$45



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Bedsure Satin Pillowcase

  • Fabric: Polyester Satin
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • Sizing: 20×26, 20×30, 20×36, 20×40
  • Color Options: 22, including Champagne, Space Grey, Dark Green, and Plum Purple

You’ve likely been advised to never judge a book by its cover. Well, we’re here to tell you, you can usually judge a product by its Amazon reviews. The Bedsure Satin Pillowcase is no exception. With over a whopping 233,400 ratings and counting to date, the satin pillowcase is beloved by acne-prone and sensitive skin types alike. It’s made from polyester with a satin weave, is shiny like silk, but more durable. And because satin is not as drying as cotton, skin is able to retain its moisture throughout the night. One commenter wrote, “Within a week of using these my acne completely cleared,” while another said, definitively, Bedsure’s pillowcases changed their life. “I had dry but oily skin. Always woke up disappointed that my face couldn’t act right. About a week after sleeping on these i noticed my face wasn’t dry anymore. Or oily. I will never go back to cotton pillowcases.”

Bedsure Satin Pillowcase



Bedsure Satin Pillowcase


$9



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Fishers Finery Mulberry Silk Pillowcase

  • Fabric: 100% Pure Mulberry Silk
  • Machine Washable: Yes, but hand-washed is preferred 
  • Sizing: Standard, Queen, King
  • Color Options: 11, including English Rose, Moonless Night, Navy, and Taupe

According to Marcus, the Fishers Finery Mulberry Silk Pillowcase is also a fantastic choice of pillowcase for acne at an accessible price point. Made from 100% long strand, Grade 6A Pure Mulberry Silk, the pillow is entirely wrapped in luxurious fabric (which means you can get more use out of just one pillowcase by simply flipping it over). The fabric is machine washable on a gentle cycle, however, the brand does note in its product’s description that dry cleaning or hand washing is the best care method. One Amazon review swears Fishers Finery “checks all boxes and brought relief to a family member with cystic acne.” Another raves the pillowcase “solved my curly hair problems and I haven’t had acne since. Is it magic? I don’t know but I am glad I got it.”

Fishers Finery Mulberry Silk Pillowcase



Fishers Finery Mulberry Silk Pillowcase


$50



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Lunya Washable Silk Pillowcase

  • Fabric: 100% Silk
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • Sizing: Queen, King
  • Color Options: Tranquil White

Lunya’s 100% Silk Washable Pillowcases sell out quickly, but we promise they’re worth the wait, so add your name to the email list ASAP. The bedding is made from 100% silk and unlike the brand’s beloved original design, is machine-washable. The fabric is also made with bluesign-approved dyes, ensuring that the product is made responsibly, sourced in a way that minimally impacts people and the environment, and dyed without harmful chemicals. Dr. Marcus lists Lunya as one of the best pillowcases for acne because it can be washed easily and regularly (remember, acne-prone skin types should wash their pillowcases 2-3 per week). Just make sure you’re washing on a delicate setting, sans bleach, and tumble dry on low. It’s also worth noting the silk fabric is thermoregulating, meaning it helps your face and body maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the night. 

Lunya Washable Silk Pillowcase



Lunya Washable Silk Pillowcase


$78



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Matouk Nocturne Pillowcase

  • Fabric: Cotton Sateen
  • Thread Count: 600
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • Sizing: King
  • Color Options: 21, including White, Silver, Azure, Charcoal, Navy, and Violet

Besides giving your bedding the look and feel of a five-star hotel, the Matouk Nocturne Pillowcase is dreamy on your skin, too. Dr. Mehr explains that because acne develops as the result of overactive oil glands, sleeping on a fabric that is absorbent, like cotton, ensures excess oils and bacteria don’t stay trapped on the fabric and clog your pores. Dr. Matouk’s Nocturne Pillowcase is made from 600-thread count Egyptian cotton and is one of his favorites for acne-prone skin. “It is absorbent, so it will absorb moisture, reducing sebum buildup to help minimize acne breakouts,” she tells WWD. It is machine washable, which makes laundering a breeze, and comes in 21 colors, so you’re guaranteed to find a shade that best matches the rest of your bedroom decor.

Matouk Nocturne Pillowcase



Matouk Nocturne Pillowcase


$115



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Sleep & Glow Aula

 

  • Fabric: 100% Tencel (natural eucalyptus fiber)
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • Weight: 2.47 lbs 
  • Color Options: White

If you’re tired of breakouts and willing to splurge on a pillowcase for acne, skincare expert and medical aesthetician, Cassandra Bankson says the Aula by Sleep & Glow is worth the investment and the hype it’s garnered on social media. A pillow and pillowcase in one, the Aula beauty training pillow aims to improve the quality of your sleep, and the effect sleeping on a pillow has on your complexion. Its patented ergonomic 3D design with supportive side bolsters to keep your head and neck in the most optimal position so you can comfortably sleep on your back, a position Bankson dubs a “skin-saver.” “When you have acne-prone skin, sleeping on your side or on your face can rub acne medication off of your skin and onto your pillow, and if you’re using a pillowcase that is scratchy or irritating, the skin can become inflamed and further irritate breakouts,” she tells WWD. “Sleeping on your back is fantastic for acne and blemish-prone skin, but also for preventing wrinkles and fine lines as well.”

Sleep&Glow Aula



Sleep & Glow Anti-Aging Omnia Pi


$188



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Blissy Pillowcase

 

  • Fabric: 100% Pure Mulberry Silk
  • Machine Washable: Yes 
  • Sizing: Standard, Queen, King
  • Color Options: 5, including Black, White, Silver, Pink, Gold

The Blissy Pillowcase is aptly named because sleeping on mulberry 22-momme silk truly is bliss for your skin. Available in five beautiful staple colors (black, white, silver, pink, and gold), Blissy’s pillowcases are handcrafted, certifiably eco-friendly and non-toxic. It’s mulberry silk fabric is hypoallergenic and thermoregulating (so you stay cool throughout the night), and helps skin maintain moisture, rather than strip your complexion of its natural oils (not to mention the nutrients products you apply before bed). The pillowcase has generated over 500 reviews on the brand’s website and averages a 5-star rating to date, with fans claiming it’s a must-have for acne-prone skin types.“ I bought it mainly for my acne and I can already see a difference,” one commenter notes. “I love my new Blissy pillow. It’s never hot, and I’ve noticed an improvement to my hair and skin,” adds another.

Blissy Pillowcase



Blissy Pillowcase


89.95 
$67.46



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Brooklinen Classic Pillowcases

 

  • Fabric: Long Staple Cotton
  • Thread Count: 270
  • Machine Washable: Yes 
  • Sizing: Standard, King
  • Color Options: 12, including Solid White, Graphite, Cream, Aqua Blue, and Soft Grey

Celebrity master esthetician and owner of Sarah Akram Skincare, Sarah Akram is, admittedly, not a fan of silk pillowcases for acne-prone skin. “Not because I don’t believe in the merits of silk pillowcases,” she tells WWD, “but rather because they aren’t very practical when it comes to keeping them clean – which, in my opinion, is critical to prevent acne.” Akram changes out her pillowcases anywhere from once to twice a week, and the Brooklinen classic pillowcase is her tried and true favorite. It’s made from 100% long-staple cotton, boasts a thread count of 270, and has been Oeko-Tex certified for chemical safety. And with over 3,800 reviews and a 4.8 out of 5-star rating to its name, clearly, Akram isn’t the only one appreciative of this pillowcase’s powers. 

Brooklinen Classic Pillowcases



Brooklinen Classic Pillowcases


$46



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Déjà Skin care Pillowcase

 

  • Fabric: 100% cotton sateen
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • Sizing: Queen, King
  • Color Options: White

For those of us who loathe laundry and are tired of having to wash multiple loads a week, there’s Déjà Skin Care’s masterful pillowcase for acne that offers not one, not two, but eight nights of clean sleep. Allow me to explain: The Déjà pillowcase is essentially eight pillowcases in one. It’s made with eight “pages” for you to turn, one per night for eight nights, so every night you start over and start fresh. What’s more, because there are enough cotton sateen “pages” to last seven days, you can reduce your laundry to just one bedding load per week. Users say the pillowcase is “literally the smartest invention,” and “an absolute life-saver.” One commenter declares, “Now all my expensive skincare products can actually do their job because I’m not clogging my pores with an oily pillowcase every night.” Another adds, “It’s a huge relief knowing I’m laying my freshly washed on a clean pillowcase every night. If you spend any kind of money on your skin you need to have this too.”

 

déjà skincare pillowcase 



deja skincare pillowcase


$98 
$80



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Envy Copper + Silk Pillow

 

  • Fabric: 100% Pure Mulberry Silk, Tencel Fiber, Copper
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs
  • Machine Washable: Removable pillowcase is machine washable
  • Sizing: 22-inches x 14-inches
  • Color Options: White

Aguilar admits her top choice of silk pillowcases is quite the splurge (not to mention frequently sold out), but before you turn up your nose at the product’s steep price tag, keep in mind your purchase also includes an Envy foam pillow and all the benefits this dynamic duo offers users. “[It’s] such an amazing investment for those that want to keep their skin smooth with antibacterial properties to help prevent and heal blemishes,” Aguilar tells WWD, citing the pillowcase’s copper-infused silk fabric, lined with Tencel fibers, as its main perk for acne-prone skin types. Pure silk is swarming with essential amino acids and natural cellular albumen (which speeds up the metabolism of skin cells), helps retain skin moisture, is hypoallergenic, and decreases friction (therefore decreasing wrinkle development). Combine that with the power of copper technology that kills 99.9 percent of microbes within 24 hours, and you have yourself a “therapeutic dream for skin that tends to suffer from acne breakouts,” Aguilar says. “Another major bonus is that this wonderful pillowcase has proven collagen-boosting properties that improve skin health, texture, and tone.”

enVy COPPER + SILK Pillow



Envy COPPER + SILK Pillow


$229



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EcoTools Satin Pillowcase

 

  • Fabric: Recycled Satin
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • Sizing: Standard Queen
  • Color Options: Cream

If you’re searching for a more budget-friendly pillowcase for acne, look no further than the EcoTools Satin Pillowcase. Amanda Caldwell, an esthetician at Face Haus in Dallas, Texas, says her sensitive, inflamed skin is visibly less irritated when she sleeps on this pillowcase as opposed to a regular cotton one. “I also prefer satin over silk because satin remains cool to the touch even throughout the night,” Caldwell tells WWD. But note, EcoTools’ pillowcase isn’t made from standard satin; the material has been recycled, and the product is 100% vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. But beyond its ethics and sustainable benefits, the pillowcase is gentle on sensitive skin and helps your complexion retain its moisture and prevent creasing, so you wake up glowing and smooth. One Target reviewer, who struggles with acne, said the EcoTools pillowcase cleared up their complexion and more, claiming “I could see a difference in my complexion in days!”

EcoTools Satin Pillowcase



EcoTools Satin Pillowcase


$4.24



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Best way to wash your pillowcase to prevent acne

By now you’re aware that the best way to wash your pillowcase to prevent acne is, well, frequently. However, Dr. Marcus did provide some additional best practices. First, she advises choosing a fragrance-free detergent, as fragrance is a common irritant. “Irritated skin is more prone to breakouts, so let’s reduce all of the external risk factors we can,” Dr. Marcus tells WWD. 

When machine washing silk, pH-neutral detergents are the ideal choice, and you’ll want to place your pillowcase inside a mesh bag. Wash on a delicate cycle and do not tumble dry, Dr. Marcus warns, as heat is what kills bacteria and other microorganisms. “If your fabric will stand up to it (usually cotton will), I recommend washing in hot water and drying in the dryer,” Dr. Marcus says, adding if a pillowcase can only be hand-washed, “be sure to use plenty of soap and rinse it very well.”

Meet the Experts

  • Dr. Rebecca Marcus is a Columbia-trained board-certified dermatologist.
  • Vanessa Coppola is a registered nurse practitioner and the founder of New Jersey-based med-spa, Bare Aesthetic.
  • Celebrity master esthetician, Sarah Akram, founded her eponymous skin care boutique in Alexandria, Virginia, and counts politicians and tastemakers as clients — but she’ll never tell.
  • Natalie Aguilar is a Los Angeles-based dermatological nurse and celebrity aesthetician, tending to the famous faces of actress Roselyn Sanchez and celebrity chef and restaurateur, Bricia Lopez Maytorena.
  • Jillian Magee, an esthetician at Face Haus in Dallas, is known as “The Rejuvenator” because of her talent to help each client feel restored and gorgeous.
  • Dr. Neda Mehr is a board-certified dermatologist at Hoag Medical Group in Newport Beach, California, and the founder of the skin care brand, DermBx.
  • Cassandra Bankson is a medical aesthetician and skin care expert. 
  • Amanda Caldwell is an esthetician at Face Haus in Dallas, Texas.



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