One night a few months ago, I slipped under my sheets, laid down, pressed the side of my cheek against my pillowcase, and then immediately sat back up again. My pillowcase felt so rough and uncomfortable against my skin. There was no way I was going to fall asleep using that.

Now, my pillowcase did not magically transform into sandpaper. It was the same exact pillowcase I had been using for months, one that I had never had issues with before.

What had changed was my skin. At the time, I was dealing with some pretty dramatic irritation and redness caused by a prescription retinol cream that was too strong for my skin type. Clearly, even my pillowcase wasn’t gentle enough for my newly sensitive skin.

The next day, I swapped my cotton pillowcase for a gray silk one I had in my linen basket. In case you’re unfamiliar with the beauty benefits of silk, the fabric is supposedly a better option for your skin and hair health. Silk isn’t as absorbent as, say, cotton, which means it’s not as likely to suck moisture away from your skin. It also creates less friction against your skin and hair.

My skin was literally flaking off, tight, and so sensitive. Since I’d had positive experiences with silk pillowcases in the past, I figured it was worth a shot for this circumstance, too.

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