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    Here's How Bad It Actually Is To Sleep With Your Makeup On

    Your dermatologist would like a word.

    You know the drill. Get eight-ish hours of sleep, wake up looking and feeling fresh-faced. But there’s more to “beauty sleep” than just getting in your recommended allotment of quality shut-eye. If you consistently find yourself drifting off with a made-up face intact — even if you’re clocking in double digits of sleep time — your skin could retaliate in more ways than one.

    Hannah Wong / BuzzFeed

    Reading this in bed with a face full of makeup on, and far too exhausted to make the several-foot trek to your bathroom? No need to freak out yet! One time and you’re more or less fine.

    Making it a habit, however, is another story.

    Nighttime is prime time for skin regeneration, and when you block your skin’s ability to breathe, you slow the process down. This can leave your beautiful mug more vulnerable to a host of conditions, like oilier skin, breakouts, uneven skin tone, wider pores, and, worst-case scenario, allergic reactions or infections.

    For more info, we got ahold of Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, a New York City–based dermatologist, to talk us through the effects of hitting the hay before hitting the sink.

    It disrupts your skin's natural exfoliation.

    Columbia Pictures / Via

    Regardless of your skin type, falling asleep with your makeup on is never ideal, for several reasons. “In general, the makeup can clog pores, especially the heavier, oil-based ones,” Bhanusali says, which can attract bacteria and ultimately cause breakouts. “The skin tends to exfoliate debris regularly, and makeup can disrupt the process, leading to pollutants being trapped in the skin.”

    It may contribute to premature fine lines.


    The combination of pollutants and UV damage can lead to the formation of damaging free radicals, which can break down collagen in your skin. Translation: a higher likelihood of fine lines and other signs of premature aging. If large pores are a concern, you’ll also want to make an effort to get thee to a makeup remover before bedtime. “The more the pores are clogged, the more they appear wider and more prominent over time,” Bhanusali explains.

    Plus, it could lead to serious irritation.

    Darren Star Productions / HBO / Via

    Just how bad is it to fall asleep without taking off your eye makeup? If this horror story doesn’t inspire you to regularly rid your face of it (sorry!), we’re not sure what will. And OK — that's an example of what extreme negligence can lead to — but Bhanusali says he does see more and more patients visiting his office because of eye irritation. “It’s usually either sleeping with makeup or reacting to a component (adhesive used in eyelashes, for example). Prolonged exposure to the skin builds up the irritation over time, and patients often have painful and swollen eyes.” Yikes. And don’t think you’ll get off scot-free falling asleep with that stay-put lipstick on, either — much like the skin around your eyes, the skin on your lips is “thinner and more delicate, so more prone to react,” he adds.

    TL;DR: If you can count on one hand the number of times you’ve fallen asleep with makeup on in the last year, don’t sweat it.


    “If it happens every once in a while, it’s not ideal, but chances are lower you’ll react,” Bhanusali says. “If it’s a weekly-or-more thing, long-term consequences will be seen over time.”

    Gives a new meaning to lather, rinse, repeat, eh?