Silk is one of the most luxurious, coveted fabrics in the world – but did you know it can make you look younger?
Widely used for producing high-end clothing and home furnishings, silk has been a highly sought after fabric for thousands of years. Oozing elegance, glamour and sophistication, nothing quite compares to silk – but its properties actually extend far beyond its looks.
If you’ve ever wondered why Marilyn Monroe confessed that she regularly slept draped in nothing but the finest white silk sheets, that’s because of the health benefits associated with it – and it’s something we should all be doing, too.
In fact, this method actually dates back to 3630 BCE in China, where silk was originally developed. Upon discovering the amazing properties of silk, Chinese emperors kept this secret close to their chests as they went about not only wearing, but sleeping in silk and soaking up the added benefits that came with it.
Since then, there has been a wealth of research into this incredible natural fibre, with studies showing that silk proteins can have incomparable benefits to the human body, and are now widely used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.
Before we all start chanelling our inner Marilyn Monroe, let’s have a look at some of the key health benefits of silk fabric.
1. It helps to prevent allergies
Believe it or not, silk is actually hypoallergenic. The sericin residue in silk is a natural repellent that keeps away dust mites, mould, bacteria and other common allergens. For this reason, not many people are allergic to silk, which makes it very wareable for just about everyone.
It’s the ideal choice for those with particularly sensitive skin, as it’s free of any potential irrititating added chemicals so it can be worn safe in the knowledge that there’s no risk of causing an eczema flare up, skin rashes or that dreaded stuffy nose that allergy sufferers are all too familiar with.
2. It slows down the ageing process
As we get older, we’re tempted to try just about anything and everything that promises to reverse the signs of ageing. However, investing in expensive ‘miracle creams’ may not be quite as effective as investing in a good quality silk pillowcase.
There has been a wealth of research into the cosmetic applications of silk, showing that sleeping on a silk pillowcase can actually prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. The natural cellular albumen found in silk helps to speed up the metabolism of skin cells, ensuring that they’re turning over and replenishing at a faster rate which in turn leads to healthier, plumper skin.
One Scandanavian study found that cotton pillowcases can actually increase the likelihood of wrinkles. It’s no surprise, considering frequent tossing and turning in the night is considered one of the biggest cause for creating wrinkles, but the smooth surface of silk reduces the friction between the skin and the pillowcase, therefore reducing the chances of this occuring.
If wrinkles are a concern of yours, try switching out your pillowcases with silk replacements and reap the anti-ageing benefits!
3. Helps fight the symptoms of menopause
It seems that silk doesn’t just hold benefits to complexion during the ageing process, but it can actually help to reduce one of the most common and uncomfortable symptoms of menopause – hot flushes. As women age, the natural fluctuation of hormones combined with a lower heat threshold can often cause sudden warmth in the body, but silk can help to counteract this.
Silk is a lightweight and breathable material that is a natural heat regulator, meaning that sleeping in silk pyjamas or bedding is not only comfortable but cooler, too. Its ability to maintain a cool and consistent temperature throughout the night can help to reduce excessive sweating and therefore slow down the unwanted hot flushes.
4. It works wonders for hair health
You’ll have heard the term ‘silky smooth hair’, something that we all long for. Funnily enough, this isn’t just a throwaway expression and studies show that silk can actually promote healthier, shinier hair.
It’s now commonly recognised that sleeping on a silk pillowcase can prevent the risks of hair tangling in the night, which can often lead to breakage as a result. The soft texture of silk allows the hair to slide rather than tangle and knot together, far reducing the damage that can be caused over time.
Further to that, if you’re looking to maintain your hairstyle during the night, it’s widely recommended to sleep in a silk head wrap or scarf. According to research, this can slow down the increase of oils in the hair, so you can get another few days out of your style.
5. Helps to keep your skin moisturised
Suffering with dry, dehydrated skin? Silk is your answer. We’re not saying to ditch the moisturiser just yet, but sleeping in silk bedding can help to keep skin hydrated during the night.
Made with tightly-woven, smooth fibres, the properties of silk allow it to keep moisture close to the skin, so you’re not losing that well needed hydration as you would by sleeping on cotton. This also brings it back to reversing the signs of ageing – happy, hydrated and plumper skin means less wrinkles!
6. It can improve your sleep
It may sound like we’ve been promoting silk pillowcases as the answer to all life problems, and while that’s unfortunately not completely true, there is some truth to it. Evidence shows that sleeping in silk bedding can in fact improve your sleep – and we all know that a good night’s sleep affects almost every aspect of your life.
For those who have problems getting a good quality sleep, it can often be down to what you’re sleeping in. Cotton sheets can irritate the skin, attract dust mites and generally get bunched up in the night – all factors significantly impacting restfulness.
Combining all of the above benefits, silk bedding and pillowcases can quite literally promote that well needed beauty sleep that we’re all longing for.
It’s safe to say that all of the evidence points towards the fact that just about anyone would benefit from incorporating more silk into their daily lives. From preventing allergies to helping you age gracefully, if you invest in one thing this year as part of your self-care routine, a silk pillowcase should come top of the list.
What’s more, silk fibres are one of the strongest natural textile fibres in the world. This means that silk is incredibly durable so when properly cared for, you can expect your silk pillowcases and bedding to last up to 20 years. We’d say that’s a pretty worthwhile long-term investment!
Biddle Sawyer Silks are a UK based wholesale silk supplier and digital silk printing specialist. If you’re looking for the perfect silk, our friendly and professional team will be more than happy to help you out. Get in touch with us to see what we can do for you.