The Hidden Culprit Behind Breakouts


You’re diligent about washing your face before bed every night, you avoid touching and squeezing and popping, and you have enough Clearasil and Proactiv to last a lifetime, but still—you can’t seem to figure out what’s going on with your skin.

You might be in bed with the culprit.

Think about how often you wash your pillowcase. You don’t have to say it out loud, but try to recall. We’ll wait. Now consider where your breakouts are concentrated—are they mostly on one side of your face? Is that side of the face the one you sleep on? Aha! Now hang on, we’re about to get a little gross.

Harmful bacteria can accumulate in pillowcase fibers, along with sweat, oils, stray makeup, mucus, and other pore-clogging offenders. An unwashed pillowcase is basically akin to using the same dirty washcloth over and over. Even if you’re careful about cleansing your skin before bed, trace bacteria can survive on the skin for a long time and build up on your sheets.

The simple fix? Change your pillowcase more often. If you have super-oily skin, or if you wear heavy nighttime treatments, consider buying a couple extra pillowcases and switching them out every other night (flipping your pillow over buys an extra night!).

If that sounds too high-maintenance for you, consider bamboo-fiber sheets, which are antimicrobial and also great if you have allergies. A good rule of thumb is switching them out once or twice a week. And don’t forget to alternate sides.

If you’re extra-sensitive, use a gentle, unscented detergent. Method Free + Clear has no perfumes and dyes, and is environmentally friendly, cruelty-free, and available at your local Target. For extra germ-busting power, wash in hot water.

They say we spend at least a third of our lives in bed, so your nighttime regimen should work for you and not against you. Now you can sleep soundly, knowing you are preventing future breakouts. Nighty night, beautiful!

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