How bad is it to sleep in your makeup?

A dermatologist explains how wearing your makeup to sleep may seem harmless, but it can negatively affect your skin tone and the health of your eyes.

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We all know it: you work late, stay out late, take an evening flight or just doze off while watching Netflix. Whatever the reason, you end the day too exhausted to remove your makeup before plunging into bed. While it may seem harmless, hitting the sheets with a face full of war paint can do more than just mess up your sheets.

How makeup affects your complexion

The first thing you might notice is the toll it takes on your complexion — we’re talking acne, skin irritation, and premature aging. “Sleeping with makeup is really bad because your pores get clogged,” says Samer Jaber, MD, an assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital and a board-certified dermatologist at Washington Square Dermatology in New York City. “It can significantly increase breakouts, acne, dry skin, and irritation.”

Your skin uses sleep as a time to recover from the various stresses throughout the day. It also uses sleep to shed and regenerate its cells. By leaving a layer of makeup, you create a barrier to your skin’s natural exfoliation and repair process. Plus, makeup attaches to free radicals in the environment (often through pollution), so if you don’t wash it off, these harmful impurities have an even greater chance of damaging your skin. Free radicals are known to break down collagen, resulting in fine lines and premature aging over time.

How makeup affects your eyes

Sleeping with makeup on can especially damage the most sensitive parts of your face, namely your eyes. Snoozing in full eye makeup puts you at risk for eye inflammation, infections, eyelid redness, and corneal abrasions. This can be the result of makeup particles rubbing against the surface of the eye. Since the eye area is so delicate, you really need to remove your mascara, liner, and shadow to avoid waking up with a nasty stye or worse.

The importance of removing makeup

dr. Jaber strongly recommends that women wash their faces at night. This will help ensure that all makeup is cleared from their skin. “How to wash and cleanse your skin is up to each individual patient and depends on the skin type,” says Dr. jaber. “For those with oilier skin, foaming washes and wipes may be more effective. For those with sensitive skin, a mild, non-foaming cleanser may be better.” Give your face a cleansing wipe like Yes To Cucumbers Facial Cleansing Towelettes at least once – they’re oil-free, non-comedogenic, and they remove dirt, sweat, and makeup (no rinse required). Check out the natural facial cleansers that you can make yourself.

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