Does the material of our pillowcase matter?
An average person will spend 229,961 hours in their lifetime sleeping, given that an average person sleeps 8 hours every night. Dermatologists advice that the material in contact with your skin, especially your pillowcase, should also be non-irritating and breathable. Silk have traditionally been recommended to be the best fabric to be used against skin.
A landmark study1 done in 2012 by a group of Korean dermatologists demonstrated that there is statistically significant results between the groups of patients sleeping on the pillowcases containing copper-impregnated fibers, as compared to the control pillowcases. The skin surface topography and condition was analyzed at the commencement of the trials and after 2, 4 and 8 weeks (where relevant) by skin imaging equipment, photography, and by expert graders.
Copper nanoparticle impregnation is also backed by clinical studies1,2,4 to have active skincare properties (anti-wrinkle, anti-ageing) due to stimulation of collagen growth3 through contact with copper ions actively released on contact with skin. Data from two randomised controlled trials demonstrate statistically significant reduction in facial wrinkles after 2 weeks of exposure to copper oxide infused textile1,2.
Where is copper usually found?
Copper is naturally occurring and is involved in many physiological and metabolic processes critical for the appropriate functioning of almost all tissues in the human body. In the skin, copper is involved in the synthesis and stabilization of extracellular matrix skin proteins and angiogenesis.
Is copper safe to be used?
Copper is usually available as a chemical compound of copper sulfate which is soluble in water and hence unsuitable to be incorporated into fabrics due to the washing out for every cycle.
However, the technology now exists to incorporate insoluble nanoparticles to coat each strand of fibre to produce 100% copper fibre fabric. Copper nanoparticles have been mentioned considerably because of its unique optical, catalytic, antibacterial5, antifungal, electrical, mechanical and thermal properties
(1) G Borkow, J Gabbay, A Lyakhovitsky, M Huszar. Improvement of facial skin characteristics using copper oxide containing pillowcases: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel, randomized study. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2009 Dec;31(6):437-43. (PubMed)
(2) Ji Hwoon Baek, Mi Ae Yoo, Jae Sook Koh, Gadi Borkow. Reduction of facial wrinkles depth by sleeping on copper oxide-containing pillowcases: a double blind, placebo controlled, parallel, randomized clinical study. Cosmet Dermatol. 2012 Sep;11(3):193-200. (PubMed)
(3) Gadi Borkow. Using Copper to Improve the Well-Being of the Skin. Curr Chem Biol. 2014 Aug; 8(2): 89–102. (PubMed)
(4) Navit Ogen-Shtern, Katerina Chumin, Guy Cohen, Gadi Borkow. Increased pro-collagen 1, elastin, and TGF-β1 expression by copper ions in an ex-vivo human skin model. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020 Jun;19(6):1522-1527. (PubMed)
(5) G Borkow, J Gabbay, A Lyakhovitsky, M Huszar. Putting copper into action: copper-impregnated products with potent biocidal activities. FASEB J. 2004 Nov;18(14):1728-30. (PubMed)