This Is What Happens to Your Skin When You Sleep with Makeup On

After a late Saturday (turned early Sunday) night out with friends, the last thing we want to do is wash our makeup off before bed. But, while it might not seem like that big of a deal, sleeping in makeup can actually wreak havoc on the complexion. Curious to know what happens to your skin when you sleep with makeup on? We share the chilling details, below.

Asian woman washing her face on the sink

Washing your makeup off before bed can promote clearer, healthier skin. | ferlistockphoto/iStock/Getty Images

What happens to your skin when you sleep with makeup on

There’s a reason dermatologists recommend washing your face before bed. Even if you don’t have a lick of makeup on, the day’s dirt and grime can impact the complexion in big ways and leave you feeling sorry for skipping out on a skin care must-have. But, while washing your skin before bed is important, wiping your makeup off is even more beneficial. Here’s what happens to your skin when you sleep with makeup on.


You might wonder what wrinkles and makeup have to do with each other. The answer? A lot. Because makeup can increase the skin’s free radical exposure, it can lead to wrinkles — especially if sleeping in makeup is a regular occurrence. Free radicals wreak havoc on the skin’s collagen production, causing the skin to appear less supple.


If dirt and debris from the day can cause breakouts, imagine what makeup can do. From ingredients to bacteria, there are a host of reasons why sleeping with makeup on can cause pimples. Forgetting to remove your makeup can cause clogged pores and acne. To avoid this mishap from occurring, keep a package of makeup remover wipes by your bedside table just in case you can’t make it to the bathroom to rinse with cleanser.

Dry skin

Face makeup can be drying on the skin — especially if you leave it on for too long (aka sleep in it). That’s why it’s important to rinse it off completely before bed. When residue from makeup is left behind, it makes it harder for the skin to absorb moisturizers and serums. As a result, the skin might feel dry and even irritated come morning.

Chapped lips

Your complexion isn’t the only thing that can experience dryness. As it turns out, your lips can too. If you happen to fall asleep with a lipstick on, don’t be surprised if you wake up to a dry, chapped pout. To avoid this mishap from happening, simply wipe your lipstick off with a makeup remover wipe and apply an ultra-nourishing lip balm formula before bed. Come morning, your lips will feel soft, soothed, and well hydrated.

Makeup cosmetics

Sleeping in makeup can wreak havoc on the skin. | Yuriy_K/iStock/Getty Images

Sleeping with makeup side effects

In addition to your skin, your eyes, eyelashes, and other features might also experience the repercussions. Keep reading to find out more sleeping with makeup side effects.

Clogged eyelash follicles

Think sleeping in your mascara is okay? Think again. When you sleep in mascara — and even eyeliner — the glands and hair follicles on your eyelids can take a major hit. And, as a result, you might experience clogged follicles or styes.

Eye infection

Speaking of eye makeup, sleeping in it can lead to infection, too. Forgetting (or being too tired) to remove eyeshadow, eyeliner, or mascara can often cause itchiness or irritation in the eye. But, that’s not the only concern. On top of the irritation, an eye infection might also occur.

Broken lashes

Want long, extension-worthy lashes? We hate to break it to you, but sleeping in your mascara won’t help get you there. Sleeping in mascara can lead to brittle eyelashes and might even cause breakage.

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