Why your pillowcase could be causing your skin to breakout

Pillows With Pillowcase On Bed

The weather is starting to turn a little cooler, and who doesn’t love a good snuggle and sleep in when the days are darker and colder? But how often you change your pillowcase could be why your skin is not as healthy as it could be.

Whether you have the most expensive high thread cotton pillowcases or the cheapest ones, according to experts, if you’re not changing your sheets and pillowcases every week you may be subjecting your skin to some serious gunk. 

Even if you think you’re one the cleanest people in the world and shower daily, your body sheds dead skin cells every night as you sleep. These cells that build up on your pillowcase happen to be deliciously appealing to microscopic dust mites which feed on your dead skin cells while you’re sleeping. 

Now, if you’re reading this, thinking that’s not you and that you don’t have dust mites, think again. Dust mites are in every household, and unfortunately, here’s the bad news, it’s not the dust mites that are making your skin react; it’s their poo that is.

What other irritants are on my pillowcase?

We can’t just blame these little critters for all our skin problems; we are also to blame. Our bodies produce a considerable amount of sweat, oils, mucus, ear wax and saliva, which can all be transferred to our pillowcase, sheets and towels. The average daily human output is one litre of sweat, 10 grams of salt, 40 grams of grease and two billion dead skin cells. Then when you add the additional residue we add to our skin in the way of makeup, moisturisers and sunscreen, it’s no wonder we have so many skin irritations and problems with our skin.

This is a photo that depicts what might be happening to your bedding. The organic matter is moulds and skin cells, and the spots are dust mite droppings and mite eggs. If you live with pets and, more importantly, if they sleep on your bed, you’re also inviting a double dose of irritants. Pet hair and dirt on pillowcases can aggravate allergies and eczema in people predisposed to those conditions. 

Dog On Pillow

5 ways to make sure you’re sleeping in a clean environment

Woman Disinfecting Mattress

Clean your bedding regularly and use the sun

Weekly is probably the best but fortnightly is also sufficient to change your sheets. Regular washing machine detergent will kill about 90 per cent of allergens, but it won’t eliminate everything. Hang your sheets in the sun when possible and on hot sunny days and take your pillows and mattress out for a nice sunbake. Direct sun will kill dust mites, but it won’t get rid of the poo they leave behind. A combination of both of these regularly is key.

Use natural essential oils

Studies have evaluated the effect that various essential oils have had in killing dust mites and found eucalyptus to be the best at combating and controlling dust mites. It can also be successful in reducing inflammation and reducing toxins that trigger asthma and allergic reactions. Use a few drops in your laundry or use as a spray.

Lavender oil can also help to be used to treat respiratory disorders that are triggered by dust and mites and can help sleep. 

Use protective pillowcases

Mattresses and pillows require protection from moisture so that it does not become a breeding ground for bacteria and dust mites which are common causes of asthma and hay fever. Pillow protectors that can be used underneath pillowcases are very helpful. The protectors can minimise contact with allergens and prevent staining and mould, which could irritate your skin and clog your pores.

Pillow With Protective Pillowcases

Hang your towels and bathmats

Towels and bathmats should be hung up to dry thoroughly as quickly as possible after each use. Towels should be washed one to two times each week, and you should avoid wiping your face on them. Instead, keep them for drying your body, not your face.

Equally important is if you use face washers keep one for the face only and change a few times a week. It’s a better idea to cleanse your body with a body sponge/loofah to avoid cross contaminating or use another face washer /cloth.

Holding A Mattress Spray

Use a mattress spray

Human and animal skin flakes, commonly called dander, are often concentrated in mattresses containing tens of thousands of dust mites, making the prime habitat for dust mites inside our mattresses. You can buy mattress sprays from most linen stores, or you can make your own with natural ingredients.

Try using a formula such as:


  • 500ml spray bottle
  • 1 cup cooled boiled water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 8 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 8 drops lavender essential oil
  • 8 drops peppermint essential oil

Have regular cleansing facials

If you’re washing all your bedding regularly and cleansing your face twice a day, and still finding your skin has blocked pores and breakouts, you may need some additional help. There are many benefits of getting regular facials, including anti-aging and detoxifying properties, but having a regular professional facial can cleanse your skin much deeper than you could otherwise do yourself at home.

Therapists can use specific ingredient such as antioxidants, detoxifying  masks such as clay , herbal extracts and certain acids and enzymes to deeply cleanse your skin from irritants that have been building up on your skin.  Having a deep cleanse is much like going to your dentist for a professional clean; it should be part of your overall health and wellness regime. A healthy gut can also ensure healthy skin,beauty begins in the belly!

The Beauty Chef creates bio-fermented, probiotic wholefood powders and elixirs for gut health, glowing skin and wellbeing. Are available @mdcosmeticandskinclinic

  • Antioxidant inner beauty boost elixir ($45)
    A bio-fermented elixir to brighten the skin from within and nourish your gut. With Nourishing ingredients like apple cider vinegar and pomegranate fruit peel extract, this delicious concentrate contains selenium and vitamin C to help combat oxidative stress and damage from environmental stressors. Selenium also supports your immune system, as well as healthy hair and nails.

Flora Culture™—The Beauty Chef’s unique bio-fermentation process—supercharges our wholefood ingredients, making them more bioavailable and creates a natural, broad-spectrum probiotic with postbiotic compounds.

Our exclusive probiotic strain, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GUT5Y™, contributes to digestive wellbeing and skin health.

Good to know: vegan, non GMO, no artificial flavours, preservatives or colours, no added gluten, dairy, soy, eggs or nuts, FODMAP Friendly

Glass Of Antioxidant

For more information on facials or tips on how to destress and deep cleanse your skin, our staff are more than happy to recommend the right treatment for your skin. Contact us today to book your appointment.