Why you should never sleep with make-up on


Removing make-up and cleansing before bed is one of life’s golden rules, no matter how tired you are. Here’s why.

by Brenda Bryden

There’s no doubt about it, sleeping in make-up is one of the worst things you can do to your skin. It causes enlarged pores, breakouts and bacterial build-up. And, shock horror!, it can make you look tired and older. Ten years older! An experiment undertaken by The Daily Mail’s Anna Pursglove revealed the shocking effects of not removing her make-up before bed for an entire month. Experts agreed that at the end of the month-long experiment her skin had aged by a decade.

According to New York-based dermatologist, Dr Dennis Gross, it’s a vicious cycle. Many women need to wear more make-up just to cover up the blemishes they get from not washing it off every night: blocked pores trap oil, resulting in bacterial build-up and breakouts and the enlargement of pores. He says that nighttime is the best time for your skin to renew, so removing make-up is critical for clear, smooth, naturally glowing skin.

Leftover make-up can also create a barrier that prevents the skin’s absorption of the beneficial ingredients contained in skincare products. Plus, the free radicals from pollution and other toxins that are absorbed during the day accumulate on the skin and mix with make-up and the skin’s natural oils. This combination of ‘evils’ results in slow cellular turnover and restoration contributing to premature ageing of the skin.


What actually happens when you fail to remove your make-up before sleep


1. Breakouts

Failing to remove your make-up overnight prevents the skin’s pores from producing and releasing sebum. Sebum is a natural oil that is mainly responsible for lubricating the skin but also plays a role in removing dead skin cells and pollutants. When the sebum is blocked by residual make-up, the pores become inflamed and infected causing breakouts. And, if foundation is left on your face overnight, it can cause acne to flare up. Many lipsticks have a wax component that can clog the pores and increase the risk of blackheads.


2. Eye problems

Most eye make-up, shadow or cream, and mascara contain chemicals that if not properly washed off at the end of the day can result in eye irritation and even eye infections should the oil glands and hair follicles around the eyes become clogged. Failing to remove your mascara results in brittle eyelashes and possible lash fallout. And, if you unconsciously rub your eyes, your mascara may flake off and end up in your eyes and on your pillowcases.


3. Premature ageing

If your skin remains coated with make-up at nighttime, it cannot breathe, repair and renew. The build-up of chemicals from make-up and environmental pollutants causes your skin to come under attack from harmful free radicals, which decrease collagen production thereby reducing the skin’s elasticity. This results in wrinkles and faster ageing.


4. Dry skin

If your pores are blocked from not removing make-up, sebum production slows down resulting in dry skin. Dry skin affects cell renewal and repair, leading to duller, tired looking skin.


5. Skin irritation

If you have a sensitive skin you are naturally prone to red, irritated patches of skin. So, when you sleep with your make-up on, the chemicals in the make-up and other pollutants clog and increase the amount of irritants on your skin, resulting in allergic reactions.


6. Enlarged pores

When pores become clogged from residual make-up and other pollutants, they enlarge due to lower collagen and sebum production. Enlarged pores are not only unsightly; they are also a breeding ground for infection.


Give your skin some TLC

If you really value your skin, show it some tender loving care: remove your make-up and thoroughly cleanse your skin with natural, environmentally-friendly products before sleeping. We suggest that you remove make-up with a make-up remover, wash your face with a cleanser, exfoliate and pat dry. This will give your skin a chance to breathe and repair and you’ll wake up with fresh, plump, revitalised skin.

About the author

Brenda Bryden

Brenda Bryden

Brenda is a true word nerd: sub-editor (read grammar nazi), features writer and content creator. She is passionate about reading (read bibliophile), playing board games, cooking and entertaining, music, the beach, fast cars (read speed freak) and animals. When not reading, writing or editing, she can be found walking her rescue dogs, pandering to her two cats' every whim, recycling/upcycling and serving her community.