Silk does for the body what diamonds do for the hand.Oscar de la Renta
While we already love silk for its beautiful shine and the sexy flair it gives our at-home wardrobe, did you know that silk is hypoallergenic and can soothe dry skin? These surprising benefits of silk show why it is a timeless staple for your closet and your health. Here is your all-inclusive guide to the perks of living your life in silk.
You’ve probably heard that silk can keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer and wondered how that’s possible. We’re here to tell you: the secret is in its structure. Silk is a natural protein fiber woven from the cocoon of silkworms. Silkworms spin their cocoons using a single thread. The silk yarn spun from the cocoons is composed of long, smooth threads. Because of their natural smoothness, silk threads can be woven together more tightly than other materials. The tighter the weave, the more insulating the fabric. A tightly woven silk pajama set is guaranteed to keep warmth close to your body. On cold nights, layer close-fitting silk pajamas underneath your favorite sweater or robe to warm up!
Cozy it Up or Cool it Down.
Since silk is a protein fiber, it is exceptionally lightweight and adjusts to match your body temperature. Silk is less dense than cotton, linen, and wool, making it a great choice for hot summer nights when the temperature is in the triple digits, yet its insulating nature makes it must-have when you’re cozying up by the fire with a glass of red wine. This versatility makes silk our absolute favorite year-round fabric!
Retain Moisture to Enhance Glow.
Did you know that the lustrous look of silk can be transferred to your skin? Silk’s fibers are long, smooth and tightly-woven, all of which help to keep moisture close to the skin. The insulating structure of silk means that it retains 10 percent of its weight in moisture, wicking sweat away, yet protecting your skin’s natural oils. Other materials such as cotton absorb moisture and become dense, losing their ability to insulate and drying out your skin. Cotton not only dries you out, but also drags you down. The shorter, coarser plant fibers create friction between your skin and the fabric, pulling at skin and creating sleep wrinkles. When you wake up after a night spent in a silk slip, you’ll notice that your skin is smoother and more plump than a night spent in a t-shirt. For an added bonus, dermatologists say that plump, hydrated skin cells show fewer fine lines and have more luminosity than dehydrated skin cells – natural wrinkle reduction is something we can get behind!
Say Goodbye to Dust Mites and Allergens.
Silk is naturally hypoallergenic, making it the perfect fabric for anyone who wants to avoid allergens and dust mites – AKA all of us! Through the evolutionary process, silkworms evolved to spin cocoons that are resistant to predators such as dust mites, which are the leading cause of almost all allergy symptoms. The cocoons are spun to shield silkworms from mildew, mold, and fungi. When the cocoons are unraveled and respun into silk, they retain these natural properties. Silk is primarily made up of a protein called sericin, which organically repels allergens. When woven into clothing, sericin gives its magical allergen-repelling properties to the garment and to the lucky woman wearing it – you!
Silk is also a great option for people with skin allergies as its smooth fibers don’t rub or irritate the skin. Textiles with short, coarse fibers are more likely to cause friction, which will lead to skin rashes and irritation. Additionally, silk does not require any chemical treatments to soften it, so it has less chemical additives than other fabrics. If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to avoid synthetic fabrics, wools, and even some cottons, all of which have stiff fibers and cause irritation. Opt instead for smooth, friction-less silk that soothes your skin while resisting the growth of mold, mildew, and fungi.
Silk-ify Your Hair.
The idiom “silky smooth” has earned its reputation in the beauty industry. In recent years, silk pillow cases have been popularized by celebrity hairstylists. Justine Marjan says, “healthy, shiny hair is definitely in, and sleeping on silk is one of the easiest ways to make an impact on your hair health.” While cotton pulls moisture from your hair, leaving it dehydrated and frizzy, silk maintains your hair’s natural moisture. The lack of friction helps to keep your hair soft, moisturized, and free of tangles. Where cotton pillowcases can cause bunching, knotting, and static, silk allows hair to slide easily, causing less damage. A stylist-approved and easy way to extend the life of a blowout is to sleep on a silk pillowcase or wrap a silk scarf around your hair while you sleep. In addition to all of the non-tangling perks, silk will wick away natural oil build up, allowing you to keep your ‘do for an extra day or two!
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.
The fashion industry has been catching heat recently as one of the biggest contributors to global warming. Synthetic materials, such as polyester, are not recyclable or biodegradable and end up in landfills where they release methane while decomposing. By contrast, clothes made from natural fibers, such as silk, are durable, have low environmental impact, and can be recycled. Silk originates in the natural world and it can return to it. Clothing made from natural fibers takes 1 to 5 years to decompose in the right conditions, compared to the 200 year life of polyester. Since silk is biodegradable, you can compost it at home to give it a second life in your garden as soil or mulch when you’re done wearing it. Don’t worry about that second life coming too soon though! The strength and durability of silk make it the garment that keeps giving.
Quality to Last a Lifetime.
Although it is biodegradable, there is a reason that good silk can last a lifetime, or longer! Ever wonder why vintage silk pieces never look faded or out of style? For a fabric so thin and lightweight, silk is extremely strong. Silk is the strongest natural textile in the world. A single thread of silk is so strong that it is four times stronger than a steel thread of the same thickness. Silk is also known to retain its shape and has little resistance to shrinking and wrinkling. The resilience of the fabric can be maintained easily with proper at home care. Silk has an elastic fiber and can be stretched from 1/7 to 1/5 of its length before breaking. The elasticity helps prevent silk pieces from sagging, while allowing them to stretch slightly for comfort. The durability and natural strength of silk guarantees that you will enjoy your favorite silk piece for a long time – or at least until you decide to invest in another one!
These surprising benefits of silk are just the icing on the cake – or should we say lace on the slip – of the material that we love. Silk’s ability to make us feel beautiful, comfortable, and sexy, while also fighting allergens and keeping your skin glowing makes it a timeless staple for your closet.