We live in a world where technology is constantly evolving, getting better with each generation. The textile industry is no exception. Smart textiles with innovations beyond that of conventional fabrics have begun to hit the market. Fabrics may collect energy from their environments by harnessing vibrations, sound and heat. Textiles can be built to enhance athletic performance by regulating body temperature, reducing wind resistance and controlling muscle vibration. There are even fabrics being developed into protective clothing that guard against extreme environmental hazards like radiation or those experienced during space travel.
It’s all very exciting, but much of the textile innovation seems distant and impractical for those of us not running ultra marathons or embarking on space travel. The visual effects of aging, however, are universally experienced. Everyone eventually sees those fine lines, wrinkles and dry, crepey skin that come with the passage of time. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the technological innovations occurring in the textile industry could be applied to making us look and feel younger and more vibrant?
We’re on the brink of such an innovation: a textile suited for your bed linens that could prevent wrinkles and keep your skin moisturized and glowing. But how would this product work? And what would be its applications? Read on for the future of fabric.
Sleep Lines And Wrinkles
Sleep lines are a universal experience. Everyone has woken up one morning after a particularly heavy, deep sleep and noticed those stubborn pillow induced wrinkles creeping across their cheeks and forehead. It’s not unusual. It’s not dangerous. But it is unsightly. These wrinkles are caused when the muscular inner structure of your facial skin – your musculoaponeurotic system – comes into serious contact with your pillow. According to a study from Dermatologic Surgery, the best treatment for these sleep lines is to alter your sleeping position or undergo skin resurfacing.
But if a textile were to be created that smoothed skin wrinkles as you slept rather than created creases and lines in your face, the need for an altered, uncomfortable sleep position or some type of skin intervention would disappear. A bed linen with a smooth, high tech fabric would reduce friction between your pillowcase and facial skin. This would mean your skin would be less likely to “grab” or “crunch” into the pillow than it would with a traditional cotton pillowcase.
A pillowcase that promoted a constant flow of air on both sides of the textile would be consistently delivering oxygen and fresh air to facial skin as well. This could prevent uncomfortable sweating, a problem with low tech pillowcases which can compound sleep lines through increased traction. Textile technology is quickly advancing to bring you a fabric that mitigates wrinkles, making you look and feel younger and healthier.
Another cause of the signs of facial aging is transepidermal water loss, or the loss of moisture from your skin. Transepidermal water loss can mean increased appearance of the dry, crepey skin associated with getting older. And this type of moisture loss does not just occur on facial skin. In a study from JAMA Dermatology, researchers found that transepidermal water loss was consistent across all 11 anatomic regions tested and more prevalent in participants in their mid fifties and older.
According to the National Institute on Aging, it’s common to lose sweat and oil glands as we age as well. Our bodies lose moisture more quickly than they did when we were young, and there are fewer glands working to replenish that natural moisture. Drinking lots of water, hydrating your skin with a cream or lotion and avoiding long, hot baths with harsh soaps can help stave off the skin dryness that comes with aging. Choosing bed linens that work for, not against, retaining moisture in your skin can be a skin saver as well.
Cotton fabrics can soak up up to 27 times their weight in water, according to Gizmodo. If you’re sleeping in bed linens made of cotton, they could be pulling that precious moisture from your skin and trapping it between their fibers. This deprives your skin of moisture and leaves you sleeping in damp, uncomfortable sheets. A high tech fabric built for skincare could enable that moisture to remain in your skin, working to keep your skin hydrated and youthful, instead of being wicked into the fabric of your bedding.