Does “thread count” really count?

Does “thread count” really count?

It happens every time. Whenever I talk to people about bedding for skin care, they invariably respond “that sounds great, but what’s the thread count?” 

We’ve been programmed by retailers to think “thread count” when considering which bed linens to purchase. The higher the thread count, the better the bedding – right? Not so, particularly when you consider the therapeutic effect on your skin. “Thread count” does count with skin care, but not in the way that you might think.

Cotton canvas or sail cloth have high thread counts, but that doesn’t mean they would make good bed sheets. “Thread count” refers to the total yarns in one square inch of fabric. However, I doubt anyone can really “feel” a difference in comfort and quality once you get past 300-count sheets. In fact, higher thread count is not better for your skin … especially when your bed sheet is made with cotton, as most bed sheets are.

Obviously, cotton is a natural fiber with all of the wonderful imperfections that nature builds into it. The Greek historian, Herodotus, was the first to mention cotton in about 450 B.C. In fact, cotton fabrics have changed very little in the last 1,000 years or so. As you can see in the photomicrographs below, the cotton bedding fabric is made of thousands of random, discontinuous fibers twisted into yarns with tangles, pills and fiber fragments protruding from the fabric’s surface. (Those fiber fragments show up in the lint filter in your dryer or dust on your table tops at home.) The higher the thread count, the more of these fibers and yarns are packed into the fabric’s construction. And like cotton canvas, higher thread counts lead to stiffer and harsher fabrics … properties which are not skin-friendly!

Cotton Bedding DermaTherapy Bedding

Our research has shown that “cleaner, drier, and smoother” are the ideal characteristics for skin-friendly bed linens. As seen in the close-up of the DermaTherapy fabric above – unlike cotton yarns – DermaTherapy yarns are comprised of continuous filaments, which produce a very smooth, non-linting sleep surface. The combination of these micro-fibers with special fiber cross-sections create a fabric which wicks perspiration very quickly – more quickly than cotton – and which dries even faster than cotton bedding. That’s what “counts” in skin care, and in getting a good night’s sleep – a clean, dry, smooth sleep surface.


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