Here’s What Actually Happens When You Go To Sleep With Your Makeup On

sleeping with makeup on

Unsplash/Bruce Mars

We’ve all had those nights when we accidentally fell asleep before we had a chance to remove our makeup and wash our faces. Okay, if we’re being honest, we’ve also all had those nights where we just felt too lazy to even bother. So we woke up the next morning with massive raccoon eyes and skin-tone smears on our pillowcases. Amazing.

Beyond the extra laundry that requires a solid stain remover, what are the downsides to sleeping with your makeup on? Well, there are a few, actually.

Because your skin uses sleep time to heal, regenerate and exfoliate, that suffocating layer of makeup makes it especially difficult to accomplish these tasks. In the morning, you end up with a lot more clogged pores than you ever want to see, and you’re also more prone to acne and breakouts. Your skin naturally looks duller, too.

What’s more, your makeup holds onto skin-aging free radicals (toxins that love to hang out on and in your skin) that you come into contact with during the day. So when you leave makeup on as you sleep, you give these substances a greater window of opportunity to break down your healthy collagen stores and create additional fine lines. And by fine lines, yes, we mean the early stages of wrinkles.

sleeping with makeup on

Unsplash/Ian Dooley

Oh, and you’re also really sucking all of the important moisture out of your skin when you sleep with your makeup on. It might feel super fresh and dewy when you put it on in the morning, but over the course of the day (and now the night), it robs your skin of the balance it craves. Only removing it and running through your cleansing routine allows your skin to breathe freely again and recalibrate its moisture levels.

Last but not least, those little flakes of falling mascara are a recipe for eye irritation and potentially infection if you just happen to draw the unlucky straw. Think about all of the little things in the air that your eyelashes work so hard to keep away from your eyeballs throughout the day. And then imagine them all trapped in your gooey mascara mess that’s now smooshed against your pillow. It’s just not a good situation.

One night of forgetfulness every once in a while won’t cause lasting damage to your skin, but you definitely don’t want to make a regular habit of it. And on the occasion that it does happen, don’t panic. Just give your skin some extra TLC the following morning. Follow your gentle cleansing routine, and then use a quality exfoliant to help clear those clogged pores ASAP. Balance things out with a hydrating facial oil or moisturizer, and avoid wearing makeup that day if you can.