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Silk Pajamas | Are they really worth it?

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Excess friction between skin and textiles contributes to skin irritation. Fabrics abrade the surface of the epidermis and contribute to skin breakdown. Add in moisture from sweat and this can lead to maceration and the development of intertrigo. Fabrics that are smoother with less friction against the skin are less likely to do so. Silk is a good fabric for sensitive skin as long as it is not textured, embroidered, or has added pleating details. The fabric is just as important as the style. Read more...
 

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silk pajamas

Photo: Wix


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Do you recommend silk pajamas in the context of skincare?



The challenges faced with finding silk pajamas are:

  • Price tag

  • Care instructions

  • Coverage



Most silk pajamas tend to exceed $100 - with most over $200, a steep price tag for a garment worn to bed. The wear and tear endured by pajamas tend to exceed daily wear. Sleep entails prolonged periods of time in positions that place tension on fabric that contributes to decreased resilience over time.


Most silk garments have care instructions that recommend dry cleaning. Silk can be washed in the washing machine however it tends to require detergents intended for delicates, washing on the delicate cycle, and the use of a mesh bag. Silk tends to bleed and its colors can impact other items in the wash so it often needs to be washed separately. For pajamas that are worn daily and not occasionally, this is a lot of work and probably not great for the environment with all the extra loads.


And, lastly, many brands marketing silk pajamas tend to market camisoles and shorts without recognizing that these do little for your skin if that is the goal, given the small body surface area addressed by these garments!



Video: Techei


For those still interested in silk pajamas, is there a brand you would recommend?



The only reason I tend to recommend Lunya is the price point tends to be lower than other brands and offers washability and full coverage with long sleeves and pants. Although Lunya does recommend drying flat without the use of a dryer, this may be better for the environment as well. I should mention also that I recommend buying white or cream-colored pajamas to reduce the tendency for colors to bleed.







If too much friction between the skin and material can make the skin feel sensitive and/or inflamed, should I assume, this makes silk a good fabric for sensitive skin?



Excess friction between skin and textiles contributes to skin irritation. Fabrics abrade the surface of the epidermis and contribute to skin breakdown. Add in moisture from sweat and this can lead to maceration and the development of intertrigo. Fabrics that are smoother with less friction against the skin are less likely to do so. Silk is a good fabric for sensitive skin as long as it is not textured, embroidered, or has added pleating details. The fabric is just as important as the style.



Because silk creates less drag on the skin, it helps prevent irritation and leaves skin less susceptible to bacteria in the environment. Does the bacteria cause problems because the friction breaks down the skin barrier and then bacteria can get in?



Our skin is not smooth like a wall- it’s more like a brick wall or a cobblestone street. The skin cells make up the bricks and the mortar that holds them together is made up of lipids, ceramides, wax esters, and other proteins that serve to protect our skin. Once our skin dries out or is irritated through friction, the barrier function it serves starts to break apart. The skin becomes inflamed and the immune cells in our skin become more prevalent attempting to protect us from infection and allergens. Bacteria and yeast are known pathogens that can find their way into the skin once friction breaks down the skin. Bacteria can trigger a persistent immune response leaving the skin red and inflamed or can contribute to true infection resulting in redness, swelling, tenderness, or pain.



Overall, if any fabric that reduces friction (like fabric with fabric softener) could help skin, is it just that silk is smooth that makes it beneficial?



Exactly- it’s the feel of the fabric against the skin. The friction coefficient of the textile is what dictates its overall cutaneous benefit when it comes to eczema. There are studies reviewing silk fabrics for eczema that are truly focused on specific knits and compositions with findings reproducible with non-silk compositions as well.



silk pajamas


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