You know the drill: You just came home from a late night of drinking and dancing with your friends, and there it is—your comfy bed, waiting for you to crash into it and pass out until morning. Nowhere in that scenario did we mention that you've washed your face because let's face it—the bed was calling your name. Sound familiar? For some of us, it's all too routine, even on regular nights when we're just too tired to stumble into the bathroom and wash the day's look off. If only they'd invent makeup that removed itself…
So while we're told time and time again that sleeping in makeup is one of the worst things you could do to your skin (next to baking in the sun), we decided to investigate what a makeup-filled slumber is actually doing to our complexions. The result? Scary stuff, folks. Take a look at the visual below of what happens when you don't wash your face, as explained by Dr. Sue Ann Wee of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC.
"Sleeping with makeup on is not a good idea," Dr. Wee tells us. "First, makeup can trap dirt and environmental pollutants inside the skin, and this type of environmental stress can result in increased free radicals which can cause DNA mutations, collagen degradation, and, over time, can result in premature aging."
"Prolonged wearing of makeup during sleep also can clog pores, resulting in acne," Dr. Wee says.
"Long-term sleeping in makeup can also interfere with the natural shedding or exfoliation process of the skin," Dr. Wee notes. "This can result in a duller, dry, coarse complexion."
"Gently cleansing the skin has been a key factor in reducing the spread of harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungus," Dr. Wee advises. "Eye makeup, especially mascara, can harbour harmful pathogens, which can result in inflammation and infections both in and around the eyes. A daily cleansing routine can help reduce contamination of your own makeup as well."
Dr. Wee adds that inflammation can also be a result of an allergic reaction. "Makeup, which is not subject to the same FDA scrutiny as topical medications, may be composed of ingredients that may inflame and irritate skin, especially if left on skin for a prolonged time. The delicate skin around the eye is especially vulnerable. This can result in both allergic and irritant contact dermatitis of the skin or red, itchy, flaky patches."
If you're a faithful face-washer and have only slipped up a few times, don't worry. According to Dr. Wee, "One or two days of not cleansing is unlikely to have long-term negative effects, but developing the habit of not gently cleansing makeup off can compromise the ability of your skin to age well and the overall health of your skin."
So what can you do to stop all of these skin-related issues from happening? Easy. Wash your makeup off! Says Dr. Wee, "During deep sleep, there is a boost in healing hormones such as growth hormone and melatonin, resulting in more rapid rates of cellular regeneration and repair, and sleeping with makeup on may hinder these processes in many ways, as mentioned previously. Gently cleansing makeup off and applying beneficial cosmeceuticals and moisturisers to the skin help one to maximise the skin's enhanced repair and renewal processes during sleep."
But if the damage has already been done, we love these skin-revitalising and age-reversing products to help bring our complexions back to life. Keep scrolling to shop our favourite skin saviours.
This Dead Sea water peel is the ultimate morning-after godsend. Slather it on, wait about 10 to 15 minutes, wash it off, and those tiny pustules and blackheads will be noticeably smaller, if not totally gone.
This activated charcoal mask works with the water on your face, as well as the rubbing action to warm up and draw out impurities from your face. It's extremely soothing and equally as effective.
This miracle serum diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as uneven pigmentation. It also helps transform rough skin into a baby-smooth complexion. Not to mention that it's one of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's favourites.
So tell us: How often do you skip washing your face? Go ahead—be honest!