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Do I need a silk pillowcase? (and other interesting skincare questions)

skincare, seniors, 50plustoday

fayne freyBy Fayne Frey, MD,  Board-Certified Clinical and Surgical Dermatologist

I absolutely love my work as a dermatologist. Sharing my knowledge and experience with patients, friends and family makes me happy. I hear questions on a wide range of skincare related topics, but I get a few more often than others. Below are responses to questions I’m asked most frequently. You may be surprised by the answers.

FAQ #1 Do I need a silk pillowcase? 

No scientific evidence exists that proves, or even suggests, sleeping with a silk pillowcase prevents wrinkles, fine lines, or even acne breakouts.  I wish it were true!  I hear claims boasting that using silk pillowcases may be less irritating than one made of cotton or polyester, or that silk might prevent hair breakage due to less friction. Others boldly proclaim that using a pillowcase made from silk may hold less moisture against the skin than cotton and therefore could prevent acne. The bottom line is silk pillowcases truly feel nice, so if you enjoy sleeping with one please do so! Just don’t count on it to solve your skincare issues.

FAQ #2 Do I really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?

We know adequate water intake is necessary for normal body function and survival. Every cell, tissue and organ in the body rely on water, and adequate intake has many benefits including healthier skin. That being said, the recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water per day is a general guideline. Keep  in mind, twenty percent of your recommended water intake is generally derived from diet, and not only from fruits and vegetables, but from carbohydrates and proteins as well. An individual can actually get 20-30% of their daily water requirement from their food intake, depending on the diet.

Of course, individual water needs can vary based on where you live, your activity level and your overall health. Some people will need more, some less. Keep in mind that if you are a healthy individual, your body has an amazing mechanism for signaling it needs water. You feel thirsty. Yup, it’s that simple.  Do you REALLY need to drink 8 glasses of water a day? No, let thirst be your guide.

FAQ #3 Are boutique moisturizers more effective than drugstore brands?

Absolutely not. No correlation exists between the cost of a moisturizer and its ability to hydrate the skin. The effectiveness of a moisturizer is related to the ingredients and formulation, not the marketing or packaging of the product. You can find plenty of affordable moisturizers at your drugstore or supermarket that are as effective, and sometimes more so, than their expensive counterparts. I love when I can give advice that saves people money!

FAQ #4 What is a good skincare routine?

Though the beauty industry promises brighter, firmer complexions on demand, the only cosmetic skincare products with proven health benefits are moisturizers. Sunscreens, which are considered over the counter drugs and regulated by the FDA, also have proven efficacy.

Well-formulated moisturizers increase water content to allow your skin to act as a protective barrier to outside elements. Well-hydrated skin can prevent flare-ups of conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. Sunscreen is necessary to prevent skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.

Women are advised to cleanse and re-cleanse, exfoliate, scrub, apply toner, spray essence, dab an ampoule of vitamin C, then apply a mask eye cream, and of course, the facial moisturizer. A sunscreen is recommended as well if your moisturizer doesn’t contain SPF.  And that’s before you apply the primer, foundation, powder and the rest of your makeup! Skincare can be a fulltime job if you follow these guidelines – and you’ll need a high paying one to afford all these products.

What does a person with healthy skin REALLY need? The truth – a moisturizer and a sunscreen, that’s all.


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originally posted June 5, 2018
updated Sept 13,2021


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