Here’s what happens when you skip taking your makeup off before bed

young woman wearing sequin dress and party hat sleeping on sofa
What happens when I sleep in my makeup?Tyler Edwards - Getty Images

So... your festive sesh went on a tad longer than you planned and by the time you're in the back of a cab dreaming of your bed, the thought of taking your make-up off will no doubt prove a bit much.

But what does sleeping in your make-up actually do to your skin? Is it a minor offence – or a total clanger? Here's what the experts say.

What happens if you fall asleep with your make-up on?

'It's something that will inevitably happen to most people at some point in their lifetime, however a one-off is not too concerning, even if best avoided, but if it becomes a regular habit, you might want to consider that for many reasons, falling asleep with your make-up is detrimental to the skin,' reveals Dr Ash Labib, medical director at AL Aesthetics.

If a bottomless brunch turned all-day Prosecco binge is to blame for your made-up slumber, it won’t just be your mouth that’s dry come morning.

Asides from the obvious hygiene factor to consider, it can potentially cause clogged pores, dull skin, dry skin, puffy eyes and generally aggravates your skin, if sleeping with your make-up on is a regular occurrence then consider that premature ageing, and collagen degradation may also be a by-product of snoozing in cosmetics.

How does sleeping in your make-up ruin your skin?

‘When make-up is left on at night, it penetrates the sub- layers of the dermis,’ warns dermatologist Dr Anne Wetter. And pores clogged with make-up prevent your skin from rehydrating and protecting itself from oxidative stress.

Combat this with a double cleanse the next day. ‘Start with an oil-based cleanser to emulsify make-up, dirt and oil,’ adds Dr Wetter. ‘Then use a regular cleanser to get rid of any residue.’

Is sleeping in make-up bad for your eyelashes?

Unless you want to be that person who wears sunglasses indoors, don’t swerve swiping your peepers clean.

‘If you regularly leave mascara and eyeliner on at night, the small hair follicles and sebaceous glands on the eyelids can become clogged, causing infection and inflammation,’ explains Dr Wetter.

Finally found a mascara that gives you lashes longer than Millie Mackintosh’s legs? Don’t undo its good work by failing to get rid.

‘Sleeping in mascara dries out the lashes, making them brittle and easily breakable,’ says Dr Wetter. Eek.

Does sleeping in make-up give you blackheads?

Woken up with some new (not so) little black-headed friends on your face? ‘Sebum is our natural lubricant, moisturising the skin and removing irritants, such as dead skin cells,’ says Dr Wetter.

‘But leftover cosmetics block sebum release, so dead skin builds up in the enlarged pores, which can lead to acne.’

Think prevention rather than cure and follow your usual cleansing routine with a pore-unclogging retinoid product.

Can sleeping in make-up mess with your skincare products?

If a carefully curated beauty arsenal of anti-ageing potions is your pride and joy, sleeping in make-up could be rendering them redundant.

‘During the day, your skin is under constant attack from oxidative stress, with free radicals causing collagen breakdown,’ says Dr Wetter.

‘This continues if make-up is left on, leading to loss of elasticity, wrinkles and ultimately premature ageing.’ So, to keep crow’s feet at bay, give your skin a night off.

5/ Does sleeping in lipstick impact your lips?

Thought left-on lipstick would be the least heinous of the beauty crimes? Think again.

‘Lipstick contains chemicals that dry out your lips,’ says Dr Wetter. ‘Eating, drinking and talking means your lipstick doesn’t stay put all day, but at night the chemicals stick on the surface, draining moisture from your lips.’

Plus, the wax in lipstick can cause the pores around your lips to clog, leading to – yep – more blackheads.

Long- lasting lippy living up to its claim? Gently brushing the lips with a toothbrush and an oil-based cleanser should see it off.

Is it okay to nap in make-up?

'If you are taking a power nap of around 15 or 20 minutes, that's about the limit I would advise, says Dr Labib.

If you're napping any longer than that, I would recommend cleansing your face no matter how tired you may feel (your skin will thank you for it, in years to come.Long naps with makeup on can eventually lead to unwanted breakouts and can cause increased exposure to free radicals, which is never a positive,' he adds.

Now you know about sleeping in your makeup, read up on the 11 best blackhead face masks.

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