Robert S. Donovan via Flickr
Climbing into a bed made with clean, crisp sheets may ensure sweet dreams, but regularly laundered linens will also help keep your skin in better health.
Even as you sleep, the epidermis is shedding dead skin cells, thereby leaving your linens littered with cells sloughed off during the night. A hot wash eliminates the skin-clogging debris and provides your skin with a fresh place to rest.
Experts like Philip M. Tierno Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center recommends washing bed linens and pillowcases once a week to prevent health problems associated with the dirt we leave behind: dead skin cells, dander, body secretions, and bacteria that irritate the skin and cause breakouts.
“One person can perspire as much as a liter in a night—even more if you have a lot of covers,” he told the Wall Street Journal. All that sweat can become harmful fungal mold and spores, even if your sheets appear inoffensive.
A survey by U.K. mattress company Ergoflex revealed that most people are sleeping on fairly filthy bedding—young, single men being the worst offenders, changing their sheets a mere once every three months. Single women reported swapping linens every two and a half weeks, while couples claimed to change sheets every two weeks.
If you have dry or normal skin, toss linens in the wash once a week with a liquid, non-irritating soap and hot water to reduce skin inflammation and irritation from the buildup of particles on the fabric.
Those with oily skin and hair, or who experience night sweats, should strip the bed two to three times a week. Purchasing an antimicrobial cotton or specialty allergen-reducing pillowcase may be helpful if these measures are not enough to prevent breakouts.