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Please tell me that I’m not the only one who spent most of my 20s sleeping in makeup.
I knew that it probably wasn’t good for my skin...but I had no idea just how bad it was. Now all I can do is live with regret and think of all the times I should have gone to bed with a clean face.
Yes, removing your makeup when you’re already half-asleep is a massive chore — especially if your skincare regimen requires a lot of time-consuming steps. But trust me, this is one chore you don’t want to skip.
So get yourself a quick and effective nighttime routine, cut out the excuses, and save yourself from these 8 nasty side-effects of sleeping in makeup!
I have a natural suspicion of any #WokeUpLikeThis selfie. No one is really that glowing and fresh in the morning, are they?
Definitely not if you’re sleeping in your makeup.
Regularly wearing makeup to bed can interfere with your skin’s natural shedding process. Dead skin cells that would normally fall away instead get trapped, remaining on your skin’s surface and hiding all the new layers of skin that are trying to emerge.
Net result: your complexion gets bogged down with dull, dry skin that leaves you looking worn and tired. Not a great way to start the day.
Alas, dead skin isn’t the only thing that overnight makeup can trap on your face. Worn for too long, makeup also interacts poorly with sebum, the natural oils meant to hydrate and protect your skin.
When sebum mixes with all that makeup smothering your sleeping skin, it can turn into a gluey mess. Add dead skin cells and you have the perfect recipe for clogged pores.
Very quickly, these clogged pores can result in whiteheads or blackheads. If inflammatory bacteria get involved, you can even end up with a swollen red acne breakout like pustules or cysts. Some of these blemishes can take days, weeks, or even months to get rid of.
Is it really worth it to skip your evening cleanse?
As you go about your day, your makeup traps dirt and environmental pollutants from the air. When those pollutants are left on your face overnight, they have more time to damage your skin with unstable molecules called free radicals.
In skincare, free radicals are Public Enemy #1. Besides potentially causing cancer, they can also destabilize your protective skin barrier and degrade your collagen. Collagen loss means premature aging, causing your skin to lose its youthful bounce and instead succumb to sagging and fine lines.
Pretty soon, those morning pillow creases will stop fading away, and you’ll realize that wrinkles are your new reality.
Don’t let it come to this! Remove your makeup (and harmful free radicals) before you hit the hay.
Going to bed with a full-face of makeup is one thing. But is it bad to sleep with mascara on?
I love mascara, but nothing wants to crumble into tiny, eye-irritating flecks like it does. When I used to sleep with mascara on, I’d still be waking up with puffy, gummy eyeballs two or three days later.
Some makeup-sleepers have it even worse, waking up from a night of makeup with swollen red lumps called styes.
A stye usually grows on the outer edge of your eyelid, near your lashes. Styes begin as clogged hair follicles — or in this case, lash follicles — that become infected, filling with pus. They can be unsightly, inconvenient, and even painful.
Worst of all, they can linger on your eye for up to ten days. Ten!
I’d rather just wash my face, thanks.
Even if you manage to avoid something dire like a stye or eye infection, wearing mascara to bed has other lasting consequences. Specifically, damaged lashes.
Mascara is the one makeup item I won’t leave the house without, but this everyday essential is very drying. If your lashes don’t have a chance to relax and repair themselves while you’re sleeping, they can become dehydrated and fall out.
Plus, mascara makes your lashes very stiff and brittle. So if you wear mascara to bed, your remaining lashes can very easily get bent or broken as you snuggle into your pillow.
Chapped lips seem like such a winter problem, don’t they? But if you wear lipstick to bed, you may wake up to chapped lips no matter the time of year.
Even in warm and humid weather, wearing a lippie overnight leeches natural moisture from your lips. Dehydration causes the upper layers of skin to crack and peel, often painfully. Chapping will also interfere with your smooth application of lip products anytime soon, so no more lipstick for the duration.
Unfortunately, by the time you wake up with chapped lips, it’s already too late. There’s nothing to be done but keep them hydrated, wait for them to heal...and maybe look into a gentle lip scrub.
Even if you’ve never noticed irritation from your makeup before, regularly leaving it on for an extended period — overnight, for example — can eventually result in an allergic reaction.
Basically, your body can tolerate certain allergens or irritants up to a point. But after repeated or prolonged exposure, your immune system gets fed up and decides to fight back with an allergic reaction.
Such reactions can appear across your poor face with redness, itchiness, a rash, or patches of dry and flaking skin — none of which you want to wake up to first thing in the morning.
Say that you had a rough (or awesome) weekend and ended up sleeping in your makeup once or twice. It happens. But then you got your act together and returned to your regular clean-face night routine. Crisis averted, right?
If you haven’t cleaned your sheets, those nights in makeup may come back to haunt you.
Oil and skin cells always accumulate on your pillow and bedsheets, which is bad enough. When you start adding makeup and perfumes to the mix, your pillowcase becomes a total trigger point. The mixture of irritants and impurities can spread right back onto your face as you sleep, undermining your renewed cleansing efforts.
Exposure to this mucky residue is almost as harmful as wearing makeup to bed all over again, contributing to those same problems like breakouts and premature aging.
If only you’d never slept in makeup, to begin with!
So you slipped up last night, and now you’re trying to undo the damage from sleeping in your makeup. First things first: forgive yourself! We’re all human, and sometimes the lure of our pillows is just too strong.
Besides, while you may be left looking a little grungy or spotty, missing a single night of cleansing won’t have negative effects in the long term. Just don’t make a habit of it, ok?
For now, here’s what to do. Start the morning with a double-cleanse to clear out all that overnight gunk, throw your bedsheets into the laundry, and recommit yourself to doing better next time! You got this.
If you find yourself sleeping in makeup time and again, consider this: are you asking too much of yourself? Have you committed to a lengthy, complicated nighttime routine that seems too overwhelming when you’re tired?
Give yourself a break with skincare that gets straight to the point. Our Clear Skin Kit has everything your complexion needs, distilled into 4 easy steps. And with 40+ natural actives, this kit isn’t just fast — it’s also effective. From cleansing to hydration, calming to detoxifying, it’s the complete solution for your sensitive skin.
You deserve better than to wake up feeling dry, dull, or on the verge of a total breakout. Treat yourself right at night with nourishing skincare and a fresh, clean face! xx
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