Find yourself unable to get through the night without sniffles, congestion or sneezes? Waking up itching, or often greeted with breakouts in the mornings? The problem might just lie with the sheets you’re sleeping on!
When you have sensitive skin or allergies, choosing your bed sheets carefully becomes more important than ever. Some materials can actually irritate your skin and trigger flare-ups more than others. Understanding how bed sheets can affect your skin and picking the right bed sheet fabrics that suit your skin type, it can make a world of difference to your skin health!
How can sheets affect your skin?
The first thing you might be wondering is, what do sheets have to do with the skin? Why does it matter? It’s hard to imagine how something as unassuming as your sheets can be the cause of skin problems. But the truth is, it affects you more than you think! Here are a few ways how your sheets can cause skin reactions.
Most sheets, when kept clean, are harmless. But when we procrastinate and don’t wash our sheets as regularly as we should, allergens can start accumulating on our sheets, which can worsen our skin’s health over time.
Mould and dust mites are the most common culprit of allergies from house dust. These microscopic creatures could be invisible to the naked eye and hiding in our beds, thriving and living off our dead skin cells, which we shed every night while we sleep. This gets worse when we factor in the growth of bacteria, which is bad news if your skin is prone to allergies and acne.
Some types of material can trap too much heat, which leads to sweating and more bacterial growth. Sweat, combined with dead skin cells, saliva and more, can turn your comfortable bed into a petri-dish of germs. This can obviously lead to skin infections, acne and allergies! This makes it even more important to choose fabrics that are moisture-wicking to alleviate the far-reaching effects of night sweats on your skin, particularly if you live in a hot, humid climate.
Residual skin oils
While it is essential that your sheets wick away moisture to help with breathability and comfort, when your bed sheets are too absorbent, they can over-absorb and retain your skin oils overnight as well. This can cause your skin to dry out and become easily irritated. If you have oily skin, your pillowcases can become soaked with your skin’s oils and become a hotbed for bacterial growth and exacerbate breakouts.
So while you can optimise the right material for sensitive or allergic skin, it is also crucial that you adopt good hygiene practices, such as changing and cleaning your sheets at least once a week.
Needless to say, if you’re sleeping on sheets that are abrasive, your skin will suffer. Sensitive skin types can be particularly affected by rough sheets, which can scrap your skin, cause irritation, and redness, and even make it itch. Some bed sheets with low thread count can appear to be smooth on the surface but are actually too rough for delicate skin.
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What are the top bed sheet fabrics for sensitive and allergic skin?
Now that you are aware of how your bedding interacts with your skin and its impact on your skin, it’s time to find out what fabrics to look out for so you can mitigate the risks. The right sheets for you can keep your allergy triggers at bay and get you back some much-needed Zs. Here is a list of materials that we highly recommend in your search for bed sheets that are suitable for sensitive and allergic skin.
Cotton bed sheets
Cotton has long been known to be the material of choice for summer clothing, so naturally, it is also suitable for use as bed sheets to keep you cool and comfortable while you sleep. The popularity of cotton is well-founded, as the material is intrinsically lightweight, cooling and durable. The cotton material also gets softer over time and with every wash. This makes it a good choice if you have sensitive skin or allergies, as your sheets are much less likely to be abrasive and will not trap heat and sweat, which reduces bacteria growth that can exacerbate skin conditions.
However, cotton can come in both silky and non-silky varieties, depending on the weaving pattern used to create them. Some cotton varieties also tend to trap heat more easily than others. It’s hence important to be very careful of which types of cotton your sheets are made of. Cotton fabrics with higher thread counts are better suited for people with skin conditions, but some brands oversell excessive thread counts over 600 as a marketing tactic with no tangible benefits.
Silk bed sheets
Silk is well-known for being ultra smooth and luxurious to the touch. As a natural fibre, it lacks allergens no matter the thread count. Its smoothness also means less friction and chafing on the skin, lowering the risk of flare-ups.
Silk is naturally impermeable, so it is less likely to absorb your skin’s oils and bacteria. This makes it a very good option if you’re prone to acne or breakouts. The downside is that it is less suitable for hot sleepers as it does not have strong moisture-wicking properties.
Bamboo bed sheets
Also a natural material, bamboo offers less discolouration on your sheets, and even contains hypoallergenic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Due to the bamboo plant’s naturally long fibres, bamboo bed sheets are noticeably smoother for the same thread count. This means that there is no room for abrasion and skin irritation when you use bamboo sheets. Bamboo sheets, however, are less common and difficult to find in any store.
TENCEL™ bed sheets
Made from the wood of the eucalyptus tree, TENCEL™ is a natural material that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals. You’d be surprised to hear that Heavenluxe’s TENCEL™ Lyocell sheets are smoother than silk, softer than Egyptian cotton and cooler than bamboo! The thin, single-ply threads are woven into percale weave, resulting in a breathable, buttery soft feel that keeps you cool at night. The TENCEL™ Lyocell material is known to be hypoallergenic, antibacterial and ultra-breathable. This makes it perfect for people with sensitive skin – and even babies! TENCEL™ Lyocell is also 500 times thinner than cotton, making it softer and silkier, while being 20x more absorbent!
While all of our bedding is focused on TENCEL™, we also make towels in Bamboo. They’re also hypoallergenic, perfect for sensitive skin. Take care of your skin from the bedroom to the bathroom, with all-rounded protection! Check out Heavenluxe towel sets >>>
What are some things to avoid?
You should stay away from heat-trapping and/or synthetic materials like wool, polyester, rayon, flannel and fleece. These fabrics can cause you to sweat, increase bacterial growth and worsen skin conditions. This is key to avoiding night sweats and optimising for a cooling and restful night’s sleep.
Other factors to consider when buying sheets
Sensitive skin can react to fragrances and coloured dye that are dark, bright and strongly patterned sheets. Lightly coloured sheets without a lot of dye can reduce skin irritation. This means you should stick to classic sheet colours, like white, ivory or light grey for some relief.
You should also look up reviews of the bed sheets that you are purchasing, using keywords such as “sensitive skin” and “allergies'' in your search to see how others with similar skin conditions have benefitted from them (or not). It doesn’t hurt to hear from others’ experiences!
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FAQS ON SENSITIVE AND ALLERGIC SKIN TYPES
What are the best materials for bed sheets for sensitive skin?
The best materials for bed sheets for sensitive skin are 100% cotton, bamboo, silk, and linen. These materials are hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin.
Are thread count and material important for sensitive skin?
Yes, thread count and material are both important for sensitive skin. Higher thread count sheets can be softer and more gentle on the skin, and natural materials like cotton, bamboo, silk, and linen are hypoallergenic and less likely to cause irritation.
Can bed sheets aggravate allergies?
Yes, bed sheets can aggravate allergies if they are made from synthetic materials, contain harsh chemicals or dyes, or are not washed frequently enough. Choosing hypoallergenic materials and washing sheets regularly can help reduce allergy symptoms.
How often should I wash my bed sheets if I have sensitive skin?
If you have sensitive skin, it's best to wash your bed sheets at least once a week. This will help remove any allergens or irritants that may have accumulated on the sheets.
Can fabric softeners be used with bed sheets for sensitive skin?
Fabric softeners can be used with bed sheets for sensitive skin, but it's important to choose a gentle, fragrance-free formula. Some people with sensitive skin may prefer to skip fabric softeners altogether.
How can I prevent skin irritation from bed sheets?
To prevent skin irritation from bed sheets, choose hypoallergenic materials, wash sheets frequently, and avoid using harsh detergents or fabric softeners. You may also want to consider using a mattress protector to reduce exposure to allergens.
We hope these tips are helpful to help you say goodbye to sneezes, sniffles, breakouts and itchy skin after a restful night’s sleep.