Sliding into bed after a long day is one of life's greatest joys, except if your sheets irritate your skin and make sleeping uncomfortable. Luckily, there's a fix for that. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Kemunto Mokaya, the best sheets for sensitive skin are made from "lightweight, breathable, and smooth fabrics to reduce friction and sweat, which can irritate skin that is already inflamed or sensitive. She suggests choosing silk, bamboo, or 100% organic cotton sheets and sticking with white or ivory colors because "they are usually made with minimal use of dyes."
Though cozy flannel and heavyweight sheets are popular in cold seasons, unfortunately our expert isn't a fan. "They can cause excessive heat and sweating, which in turn can cause conditions like eczema or psoriasis to flare," Dr. Mokaya tells Bustle, so she advises patients with sensitive skin to avoid wool, polyester, fleece and flannel. Finally, thread count does matter, because the higher the thread count, the smoother — and more comfortable — the sheets will feel.
Dr. Mokaya also says that how you care for your sheets can have a big impact on your skin. Choose fragrance-free laundry detergents, and skip dryer sheets and fabric softeners because they contain fragrances and preservatives that can be irritating. (She says you can use hypoallergenic wool dryer balls instead.) Lastly, consider adding one or two extra rinses to the wash cycle to remove all traces of laundry detergent from your sheets.
With those tips in mind, scroll on to shop the best bedding for sensitive skin, from sheets to pillowcases and even a comforter.
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1. The Best Cotton Sheets For Sensitive Skin
This set from Mayfair Linen, which contains a fitted and flat sheet as well as two pillowcases, checks off all Dr. Mokaya's boxes: The sheets have a high (600) thread count, are made of 100% cotton, and are constructed using an eco-friendly production process that's been certified by OEKO-TEX as Standard 100 (meaning they've been tested to be free of potentially harmful chemicals). They come in a wide selection of colors, too, including white and ivory.
As with all bed sheets, do plan to wash them before using them for the first time to remove any excess chemicals or dyes. This will also help soften them, since new, natural fiber sheets don't always feel as soft right out of the packaging as sheets made from synthetic fibers.
Helpful review: "I love that these are all cotton instead of the cheap blends that seem so popular. I have MS and have extreme heat sensitivity and can not get any sleep on those other sheets. With these sheets I am sleeping in comfort every night."
- Available sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king
2. The Best High Thread-Count Sheets For Sensitive Skin
If you love the feel of super smooth sheets, splurge on a high thread-count set, like these from Thread Spread. They boast an impressive 1000 thread-count made from 100% Egyptian cotton. And though Dr. Mokaya says white and ivory are the way to go, if you love dark colors, Thread Spread uses eco-friendly dyes in their production process.
In this set, you'll get a flat sheet, a fitted sheep with extra deep pockets, and two pillowcases.
Helpful review: "Great sheets. Excellent quality, look fantastic. Very soft, an important aspect with a house full of sensitive skin. Completely happy with our purchase!"
- Available sizes: queen, king, California king
3. The Best Bamboo Sheets For Sensitive Skin
Another great fabric for sensitive skin, "bamboo has hypoallergenic properties [and is] also naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial," explains Dr. Mokaya. But finding a quality set of bamboo sheets is actually quite tricky. Unlike most bamboo sheets on the market, these Sijo Premium 100% Bamboo Lyocell Bed Sheets are made from bamboo lyocell, not bamboo viscose. The manufacturing process of bamboo lyocell is much more eco-friendly than that of bamboo viscose, which tends to use a lot of energy and chemicals. Sijo's fabric is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified as well, and the set is sold in six neutral colors. You can choose from a single flat sheet to a four-piece sheet set in various sizes, from twin to California king.
Bonus: If you're a hot sleeper, bamboo sheets tend to help keep you cool.
- Available sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king
4. The Best Silk Sheets For Sensitive Skin
Yes, silk sheets are extremely expensive, which is why they're the go-to for Hollywood starlets and not, say, first-year college students. But when it comes to splurge-worthy purchases, these LilySilk pure silk sheets are worth the money. "Silk is natural, smooth, and is a thermoregulator that keeps skin cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold," says Dr. Mokaya, who adds that silk, being so soft, reduces friction against the skin (and thus decreases the risk of irritation).
Sold in 10 colors, these naturally dyed sheets are also chemical-free and OEKO-TEXO Standard 100 certified. Plus, as the brand explains, both mites and bacteria hate silk, so you're less likely to harbor unwanted friends in these sheets.
- Available sizes: twin, full, queen, king, California king
5. The Best Silk Pillowcases For Sensitive Skin
If you're not quite ready to splurge out on a full set of silk sheets just yet, start with these mulberry silk pillowcases. Dr. Mokaya says because of silk's super smooth feel, it produces less friction against your face, which lessens the risk of irritation. And, because silk isn't very absorbent, it doesn't hold onto grease and dirt as much as other fabrics, which tend to trap dirt and grime and then transfer it back onto skin, which can contribute to breakouts (making these pillowcases a worthy investment for anyone with acne-prone skin). Silk also does a good job at preventing tangles, breakage, and knots, and keeping hairstyles from getting ruined overnight. And, as previously mentioned, silk naturally deters dust mites, making it great for people with allergies.
If you have the time, Dr. Mokaya says it's ideal to change your pillowcases twice a week, although weekly is acceptable if changing them twice a week is too much of a hassle.
These 100% mulberry silk pillowcases are old in over 30 colors, and have convenient zipper closures.
- Available sizes: toddler, standard, queen, king, body size,
6. The Best Comforter For Sensitive Skin
Why stop at a new set of sheets? This comforter from Zimasilk is made of 100% pure silk with a cotton cover, and is sewn to maintain its shape, instead of bunching up in spots like most comforters tend to do. Breathable and soft, this is an all-weather comforter, meaning you won't overheat when it's warm outside, but it'll keep you cozy when it's cool. You do have to take care of this by washing it in cold water on the gentle cycle and hanging it to dry (or dry cleaning it).
- Available sizes: queen, king
Dr. Kemunto Mokaya, board-certified dermatologist.