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Cotton has long been considered the be-all end-all of fabrics. Breathable and insulating all at once, manufacturers use it for everything from clothing to bed linens. However, in the world of bedding, two new fabrics are vying for cotton's celebrated status: copper and silk. With the approval of celebrities from beauty gurus to Instagram models, the benefits of silk pillowcases and copper pillowcases have been touted enough to increase their sales and popularity. Is there any substance to the attention these bedding alternatives have garnered?

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Copper has Anti-Microbial Properties

Silk pillowcases have been given slightly more attention than copper pillowcases, but don't count copper out. It has impressive antimicrobial and anti-bacterial properties, and ancient civilizations recognized this. Ancient Egyptians used copper to clean wounds, and Greek doctors did the same hundreds of years later. The mineral is incredibly lethal to bacteria, including the dangerous MRSA bacterium, which is resistant to antibiotics. For this reason, researchers are currently investigating its use in hospitals; doctors and scientists hope it will help keep cross-contamination at a minimum. So why does this matter in copper pillowcases?

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Copper Pillowcases Can Help Skin Conditions

Copper's antimicrobial properties make it capable of soothing skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. This keeps the bacteria pillowcases sometimes absorb at bay. Those with sensitive skin may also benefit from the relatively clean surface of copper pillowcases. Experts also believe copper can help prevent or lessen back acne, furthering the rise of copper in bedding materials.

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Copper Pillowcases Can Ease Wrinkles

If you struggle with sleep-induced wrinkles or even fine lines in general, copper pillowcases may be the perfect solution. Copper increases the production of collagen, which lifts the skin and reduces the visibility of these oft-bemoaned features. Researchers think microscopic levels of copper may infuse into the skin while sleeping on a copper pillowcase, helping the body absorb more of this vital nutrient.

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Where to Find a Copper Pillowcase

Most online retailers sell copper pillowcases, as do some brick and mortar department stores and even beauty retailers. Though they might be a little more expensive at the base price, many options are comparable to higher quality cotton bedding.

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Silk Pillowcases are Great for Hair

Silk pillowcases receive more attention than copper pillowcases these days thanks to their coiffure benefits. Many people on the hunt for natural hair-improvement products swear by this material for its ability to help hair retain moisture, and research backs up this claim. The smooth texture of silk also means it's great for preserving hairstyles, especially for those with frizzy hair.

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They Won't Absorb Moisture

When your pillowcase absorbs moisture, it can become a cesspool of dirt and sweat, festering and feeding microorganisms that live inside your pillow, such as dust mites. Silk pillowcases don't collect as many of these excesses, meaning your pillow will remain cleaner for longer without becoming grimy or stained. This quality makes this bedding option even more suitable for hair.

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Silk Can Help Acne

Acne sufferers, look no further than this pillowcase. Dryer skin almost always equals more irritated skin, leading to pimples and blemishes. Silk pillowcases can help skin retain moisture and the fewer bacteria that reside on your pillow, the better. Products that you have put into your hair will also end up in your pillow if you use cotton, and these products along with dirt and sweat often irritate the face. Silk will help keep your face cleaner in general and can ease breakouts.

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Silk Prevents Bacteria and Doesn't Absorb Oil

Bacteria lives on everybody's skin -- hundreds of types reside all over our bodies and most are an essential part of our ecosystems. However, too much bacteria, especially the festering types that live in clothing and bedding, can harm our health. They cause acne breakouts, and the oils we secrete can collect on our skin. Silk pillowcases can help keep these bacteria from collecting and growing. Nonetheless, washing your pillowcase every few days is advised by dermatologists to keep them at optimal cleanliness.

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Where to Find a Silk Pillowcase

Silk pillowcases can be found almost anywhere. Satin copies are also widely available and may boast some similar benefits, but if you're looking for the real thing, there are several places you can turn. Basic department stores often sell affordable options, as do most online retailers and even small eco-friendly shops.

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Copper vs. Silk: Which is Better?

Both of these popular beddings have their uses. A copper pillowcase is probably best for you if you're looking to:

  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles such as crows feet
  • Reduce inflammation and the severity of skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis
  • Improve overall skin health

Silk, on the other hand, is best suited for those who want to:

  • Reduce acne
  • Preserve hairstyles such as silk presses and blowouts
  • Keep moisture in their hair follicles
  • Avoid a pillowcase that collects dirt, oils, and sweat.
silk pillowcases LdF / Getty Images

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.