What Happens If You Sleep With Makeup On?

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We’ve all been guilty of it. We’ve come back home after a long and tiring day at work or a fun night on the town with our friends and the only thing we wanna do is kick off our shoes, slip into our PJs and go to sleep. We know we should be taking off our makeup, and if we don’t we’ll regret it, but we just can’t be bothered to and tell ourselves that it for once we won’t remove it, nothing bad will happen.. But is that really true? Will sleeping with makeup on really have no consequences or will instead surely result in a bad breakout? Or does the truth lie somewhere in between?

Will I get a breakout if I sleep with makeup on?

Well, that depends. If you regularly sleep with your makeup on, then you will very likely get a breakout or at the very least one or two pimples. But if you do it only once in a while, chances are nothing bad will happen. That’s because there’s not really much difference between wearing your makeup on your face for 8 hours during the day and wearing it for 8 hours during the night. That is especially true if you sleep on your back. If your face rubs against the pillow, instead, then your makeup will rub against it too and the pillow will push it back into your pores, clogging them. In that case, a breakout can occur, especially if your skin is acne-prone.

Sleeping with makeup on can cause eye infections

Sleeping with your makeup on can cause eye infections and, in particular, conjunctivitis. Again, it’s rubbing your face against the pillow that causes the problem. That’s because all that rubbing will move the makeup you have on around and some of it can end up near or into your eyes. When that happens, you’ll wake up in the morning and find that your eyes have become red, itchy and burning! This has actually happened to me once and it was awful! From that day on, no matter how tired I was, I always made sure I removed every little trace of makeup from my face before going to sleep.

You’re missing out on beneficial ingredients

Most of us, before going to bed, use creams with retinoids or antioxidants, prescription products and just any treatment designed to address any skin concern we may have. Even if you’re young and don’t have any particular skin problems, a night cream would still contain ingredients that help repair the skin’s natural barrier and enhance its moisture level. If we go to sleep with our makeup on, then we will miss out on the benefits these products provide to our skin. Sure, if we only skip our nighttime routine once in a while, nothing bad will happen, but it still would be better not to do that and always give skin what it needs to look and feel its best, right?

Not removing your makeup at night is never a good idea, but if you’re really, really, really tired and will sleep on your back, then chances are that nothing bad will happen to your skin. Just don’t make a habit out of it! What about you? Do you ever sleep with your makeup on?

18 Comment

    • Aya, as long as you do it only once in a while and sleep on your back, it’s very unlikely you’ll get breakouts. But it’s still to remove everything anyway. :)

    • Vonnie, if you sleep on your face it’s definitely best to remove it. I like to use wipes when I’m really tired too but I haven’t found any that completely remove everything. Still, it’s better than nothing. :)

    • La Bisbetica, I actually woke up with my eyes red, swollen and irritated once because I haven’t removed makeup before going to sleep and it was awful! Better be on the safe side and remove everything!

    • Trisha, how lucky that you didn’t get acne! I slept with makeup on often on weekends when I was in high school too and usually nothing happened until one day some of it got into my eye and it was just awful. Thanks goodness we both know better now indeed!

  1. I never tried sleeping with makeup on, even just for a short nap, I tend to at least wipe off some makeup using a makeup remover, I just can’t bear the fact that I’ll stain my pillows with makeup :) Thanks for this :)

    • Nikki, that’s a good habit! It’s always best to remove what’s on your face before lying down, not just for your skin but for your pillows too. :)

  2. I’ve never slept with makeup on before, since I usually remove it right when I get home no matter what time it is. My eyes are really sensitive, so even though I sleep on my back, I’m worried that the makeup will somehow migrate during the night and I’ll wake up with super irritated peepers o.O

    I didn’t know that sleeping on your face was what could cause breakouts though! Really interest post, as usual :)
    Makeup Morsels´s last blog post ..It’s Haul-iday Time!My Profile

    • Makeup Morsels, that’s the best thing of all, removing makeup as soon as you get home so by the time you go to bed you have one less thing to do.

      If you sleep on your back, it’s very unlikely the makeup will get in your eye. If makeup could travel like that, it’d do it during the day too. Although when you sleep, there is always the chance you turn through the night and wake up in a different position and that could cause some migration so if you have sensitive eyes it’s best not to risk it.

  3. I try my best to not fall asleep with make up on. I usually have at least used a face wipe those very rare times I fall asleep without taking off all my makeup. I’ve done it less than ten times this year I am sure.
    My nighttime skincare regimen is relaxing and fun so I do look forward to it. I love the fresh feeling of clean skin anyways.

    • Janessa, sometimes you’re so tired that sleeping with makeup on don’t seem like such a bad idea after all, but it’s good that you at least remove some of it with a wipe. And it’s good that you enjoy your nighttime skincare routine too. I really hate taking makeup off, probably because I spend so much time applying it (I like to experiment with bright and crazy combos) that I feel sad to seem it disappear, but it must be done.

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