Going to sleep with makeup on is something we’ve all been guilty of. We’ve all come home after a long night of social activities and felt no inclination to get busy with makeup wipes. Why bother staying awake another fifteen minutes to scrub your face? After all, it’s nothing you can’t fix in the morning, right?


While sleeping with makeup on can indeed be fixed to a certain extent, as we’ll see in the second part of the post, it is not something that you should be making a habit of.


Even one single night of sleeping with makeup on can have an adverse effect on your health. Your skin, eyes and sweat pores will most likely suffer severe consequences if you don’t take the time to clean your face. Sleeping with your makeup on can even result in giving you wrinkles earlier.


Let’s have an in-depth look at some of the adverse effects sleeping with makeup on can have on your health and beauty.


  1. Foundation danger

sleep with makeup
Most dermatologists and beauty experts agree that foundation is the one beauty product that shouldn’t be left on your skin while you sleep. Any kind of makeup can damage your skin, but there are some products that are more harmful than others. Foundation can cause acne and pimple breakouts if it isn’t removed. It can also cause fine lines and wrinkles to form.


Dermatologist doctor David Bank, from New York, says that foundation is one of the products that need to be taken off on a daily basis. Especially if the foundation is oil based, like most foundations are. Doctor Bank also says that when this kind of product isn’t removed it causes many adverse effects. Breakdown of collagen, wrinkles, clogged-up sweat pores and acne flare-ups are all possible results of sleeping with makeup on.


Another result of not removing foundation or any other thick, oil based primers before you go to sleep is that this prevents your skin from renewing itself during the night. Hindering this natural process can cause your skin to become grey and dull looking. It has also been known to result in the forming of blackheads.


  1. Eye irritation and infection

sleep with makeup

Eye makeup like mascara and eyeliner can present a problem when you don’t remove them during the night. While it might not cause acne flare-ups or clogged pores like foundation, it can still pose some serious health and beauty risks.


During the night mascara and eyeliner can be rubbed off by your pillow and end up in your eyes. This can lead to serious eye irritation and even infection. The area around your eyes is one of the most delicate parts of your body. It stands to reason that having hardened mascara and eyeliner rubbed on it will result in damage. This can cause inflammation in the area, which soon spreads into the eyes.


Doctor Melanie Palm says that sleeping with eye makeup on puts you at risk for corneal abrasions. This is due to particles of makeup getting under your eyelids and irritating the surface of the eye.


  1. Wrinkles

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Pre-mature ageing is another side-effect of going to sleep with your makeup on. Studies have shown that sleeping with your makeup on can cause wrinkles and lines to form on your face. Experts differ about the reason for this phenomenon. There is strong evidence that suggests that makeup clings to free radicals in the air. These free radicals enter the environment through pollution. They get an even better chance of damaging your skin when you don’t wash off your makeup. Free radicals have been known to break down collagen. This results in skin that ages faster, and over time it will result in wrinkles.


During the night your skin is also using the time to recover from various stresses and accidental damage during the day. It naturally exfoliates and replenishes, shedding and regenerating the old cells. When you leave a layer of makeup on, you hinder this natural process. This can cause premature ageing and wrinkling.


  1. Dry skin

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According to doctor Dennis Gross, dermatologist, not removing your makeup for extended periods of time can have an adverse effect on your skin’s moisture levels. Not only will your skin become increasingly dry, but it will also get increasingly more difficult to moisturize. When you sleep with a full face of makeup on, or even just leftover makeup residue, the absorption of skin-care products can become inhibited. The makeup creates a barrier that prevent wholesome and beneficial ingredients in the skin-care products to penetrate the surface of your skin.


  1. Eyelash troubles

sleep with makeup

Another side effect linked to sleeping with makeup on, especially mascara and eyeliner, is broken and damaged eyelashes. Doctor Joel Schlessinger, a dermatologist and beauty expert, has found that leaving on mascara through the night can cause your eyelashes to become brittle. Just like when your hair gets split ends, your eyelashes will become increasingly weak and prone to breaking. Doctor Schlessinger has said that sleeping with makeup on can also cause your eyelashes to shed faster.


Another issue, as shared by Doctor Eric Schweiger of Clear Clinic, is that sleeping with mascara on can result in clogged eyelash follicles. When the tiny hair follicles and oil glands on your eyelids become clogged you can start suffering from styes. Styes, also known as hordeoli, are small bumps that sometimes have to be surgically removed.


  1. Chapped lips

sleep with makeup
While putting on lip balm before you go to sleep is certainly recommended, it might not be such a good idea to sleep with your lipstick on. When left on overnight, most glosses and lipsticks can lead to clogged pores on the skin surrounding your lips. Doctors Jeannette Graf and Eric Schweiger, both dermatologists, agree that leaving on lipstick overnight will result in adverse beauty effects. Most lipsticks and glosses contain a drying agent that can drain lips of their natural moisture. Even when worn every day without the application of a moisturizing lip balm, you could find your lips becoming very chapped and dry.


  1. Breakouts

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Leftover traces of makeup not only clog pores and cause premature ageing, but it can also worsen any skin conditions that you might be battling with. Doctor Joel Schlessinger, a dermatologist and beauty expert, warns that specific skin troubles like rosacea or hormonal acne might be worsened by sleeping with makeup on. You may see flare-ups and breakouts in the affected areas.


If you have a very acne-prone and oily skin you can see acne breakouts as soon as the next day after sleeping with makeup on. Doctor Schlessinger stresses that there are different types of skin. If you have a less sensitive, less oily and less acne prone skin you will most often be less likely to suffer adverse effects from forgetting to remove your makeup.


But what if you can’t avoid sleeping with makeup on?

If you’re like me you might find yourself feeling a little freaked out by the information above. Is sleeping with makeup on really that bad? Will my poor skin suffer irreversible damage if I forget to wash my face one night?


Never going to bed with makeup on again might seem like a smart resolution to make, but as we all know it might just not be realistic.


Fortunately, according to Doctor Eric Schweiger of Clear Clinic, one night will not cause long-lasting damage to your tender skin. Doctor Schweiger says that each night you sleep with makeup on causes your pores to become more clogged. Therefore, you should avoid sleeping with makeup on as much as humanly possible. It is not the end of the world, however, if you go one night without removing your war paint.


If you do find yourself in the position where you have no other choice than to sleep with makeup on, here are some tips for making it as easy on your skin as possible.


  1. Go easy on your skin

sleep with makeup
It’s easy to feel anxious when waking up with a lot of smeared makeup on your face. You might start at your own reflection, and you might feel the need to immediately start scrubbing away at your face. While removing the makeup from your face as soon as possible is what you’re going for, the trick is keeping calm and taking it easy on your skin.


Your usual makeup remover will be fine, if used with a nice moisturizer and applied gently. If you don’t have any makeup remover on hand, you can use coconut or olive oil. Makeup artist Lauren Lazaro says that coconut or olive oil, applied with a cotton ball or Q-tip works as an efficient makeup remover alternative. Start with your eye makeup, and then move to your lips and finally your whole face.


Once your visible makeup is completely removed, you will also need to remove the trace that still stick to your skin. Since it has hardened during the night, the best way to do this is to take a steamy shower. Another option for cleaning the deep-seated dirt and debris is a deep cleaning cleanser.


Beauty expert Tony Rivero warns that makeup wipes might not be the best option after sleeping with makeup on. While makeup wipes are good for a quick surface cleaning, it is not really effective for deep cleaning.


  1. Sleep on a silk pillowcase

sleep with makeup
Silk pillowcases are regarded as a beauty myth in some circles, but recent surveys and celebrity endorsement have brought them some credibility. Even Kim Kardashians beauty artist, Mario Dedivanovic, swears by a silky cover for his high-profile clients.


Silk not only to a large extent prevents your face getting wrinkled during the night; it can also soften your skin. Due to the lack of friction and tiny abrasions that harder covers cause, it can be a very simple way to pamper your skin. Not to mention that it’s great for your hair as well. Women who start sleeping on a silk pillowcase report that their hair has increasingly less tangles and kinks when waking up in the morning.


So, if you do have to sleep with a full face of makeup on, a super soft silky pillowcase will soften the blow to your skin.


  1. Use eye drops

sleep with makeup
As you saw in the first part of the article, sleeping with makeup on can be hard on your eyes. Leaving mascara and eyeliner on during the night can cause inflammation, puffiness and red eyes. It can even, in the most severe cases, cause corneal abrasions.


To reduce the discomfort the next morning you can pamper your eyes with some eye drops. Makeup artist Lauren Lazaro says that using eye drops can soothe and comfort red, scratchy eyes. A commonly suggested brand of eye drops is Visine. It can get rid of any redness after a night of sleeping with makeup on, and will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.


  1. Don’t overdo the touch-up

sleep with makeup

Sometimes you don’t have time to take off your makeup before going to bed. Most women do. However, there are some days that you don’t have the time to remove it the next morning either. Then it’s time to show off your killer smoky-eye skills. The trick with a next morning touch-up, however, is to not let panic get the better of you. Less is always better.


Makeup expert Lori Depp says the first step is to fix your mascara. Wipe away any smudges and blunders, then re-apply before you blend in some leftover eyeliner. The next step is to perk up your face. Use a moist towel or washcloth to pat your face just enough to get the sparkle back. Once your face is dry, the last step is to use a powder compact to puff under the eyes.


Tony Rivero, a beauty expert, stresses that you shouldn’t use a heavy moisturizer after forgetting to remove your makeup. You should also steer clear of a full face of coverage makeup the next day. Think light layers, and try to put on the least amount of makeup possible to leave plenty of room for airflow to your pores.


A last word on sleeping with makeup on: remember that you shouldn’t panic.

Even if you wake up looking like Bucky Barnes in full Winter Soldier regalia, there is still hope. Stay calm, touch it up and rock those smoky-eyes!