The Hidden Thing in Your Bedroom That Could Be Giving You Pimples

June 23rd 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

Everyone has had a pimple at one time or another. 

Some of us have nightly regimens dedicated to stopping the bumps from growing on our face. 

But you may not know there's a common household item that could be causing your pimples every night: your pillowcases. And you may not be washing them enough.

Acne is a skin disease caused by clogged follicles. 

"The small holes in your skin (pores) connect to oil glands under the skin. These glands make an oily substance called sebum," according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. "The pores connect to the glands by a canal called a follicle. Inside the follicles, oil carries dead skin cells to the surface of the skin. A thin hair also grows through the follicle and out to the skin. When the follicle of a skin gland clogs up, a pimple grows." 

Pillowcases and bedding can carry oil and bacteria that contribute to pimples.

A 2014 survey of the British public found that 56 percent of respondents waited at least two weeks to wash their bedding. That's too long.

“It’s a good idea to wash your pillowcases and sheets at least once a week to avoid transferring bacteria, oils and other impurities from your pillow to your face as you sleep,” Joel Schlessinger, M.D., board certified dermatologist told Fitness Magazine. “Your skin and hair leave oil and other buildup on your pillowcase that can lead to breakouts, inflammation and irritation.”

The dirt on pillowcases won't necessarily bother everyone, but it can make people sensitive to acne break out. 

“Not everyone is going to break out from a pillowcase,” Ellen Clark,  founder and president of Control Corrective Skincare Systems, told the Huffington Post in 2015. “But if you’re prone to breakouts, whether it’s because of hormones, genetics or stress, [pillowcases] can exacerbate an already delicate situation and cause micro-irritation.”

So what should you do? 

  • Change your pillowcases at least once a week. If you consistently get pimples it might be a good idea to change them every few days. 
  • Wash your face before you put it on your pillowcase. 
  • Keep your pets away from your pillowcases.

Pets, just like humans, carry oil and bacteria, and you don't want to add their funk on top of yours. Besides contributing to acne-causing pillow build up, research shows they can carry parasites, diseases, and bacteria that can enter your body through your eyes, mouth, and nose. 

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