You may have a favourite pillow that seems to help you sleep better. But it could cause acne and trigger allergies if it is more than six months old, one expert claims. This is because dirt, oil, mites and dead skin can build up in older pillows.
Dr Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Mebane, North Carolina, told The Huffington Post that people sleeping on old pillows might be pressing their faces against dirt, oil and dead skin cells, which can cause acne. The research centre works with engineers and scientists to develop better products and improve the quality of sleep for people by helping them pick the right mattresses and pillows.
Dust mites also set up home in pillows and can exacerbate asthma and trigger allergic reactions, according to Dr Mark Neustrom, an allergist & immunologist at Kansas City Allergy and Asthma Associates. Of the 20 per cent of people who suffer from allergies, around two thirds may be allergic to dust mites that live in carpets and bedding.
He explained that if dust allergy sufferer’s reactions are much stronger in the morning and at night, their pillow may be to blame, because the protein that triggers reactions to the mites is not airborne. Dr Oexman suggests regularly washing bedding and putting it in a tumble drier as an extra precaution.
He also advises looking for a pillow that fills the gap between your head and shoulders when you lie down, when it comes to shopping for a new one. People who sleep on their stomach or back should pick slimmer pillows, whereas side sleepers should opt for a plumper pillow to provide necessary support he claims.