what happens when you sleep with makeup on

Sleeping with your makeup on… I know you did it, too.

You’ve come home in the wee hours of the morning after a fun night on the town with friends, and the all you want to do is kick off your shoes, slip into your PJs, and go to sleep.

But… shouldn’t you take your makeup off, first? You’ve heard the old wives’ tales of what happens if you sleep with your makeup on. Pimples. Infections. Dull skin.

But your eyes are closing down on their own. You know you’ve lost the battle. And anyway, will sleeping with makeup on just this once be really that bad?

Maybe. Maybe not. Here’s what really happens when you sleep with makeup on:

Will You Get A Breakout If You Sleep With Makeup On?

It depends.

If you regularly sleep with your makeup on, you’ll get a breakout – or a pimple or two at least.

But if you commit this skincare sin only once in a while? Chances are nothing bad will happen.

Truth is, there’s not much difference between wearing your makeup on your face for 8 hours during the day and wearing it for 8 hours during the night – especially if you sleep on your back.

If your face rubs against the pillow, your makeup will rub against it too and the pillow will push it back into your pores, clogging them. In that case, a breakout is almost a done deal, especially if your skin is acne-prone.

Related: How To Pop A Pimple The Right Way


Will You Get An Eye Infection If You Sleep with Your makeup on?

Sleeping with your makeup on can cause eye infections, especially conjunctivitis.

Again, it’s rubbing your face against the pillow that does the damage. All that rubbing moves 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.

Related: Do You Really Need To Double Cleanse At Night?

Will You Compromise Your Skincare Routine If You Sleep With Makeup On?

Yes. When you go to bed with your makeup still on, you usually skip your evening skincare routine entirely.

No retinol serum to keep wrinkles at bay. No anti-acne medication to kick those pimples in the butt. No rich moisturiser to plump your skin up when you sleep. No wonder when you wake up in the morning, your skin feels so dry and dull.

Again, skipping your evening skincare routine once in a while won’t set you back much. But do it regularly and you’ll soon start looking tired and older. Don’t say I haven’t warned you.

Related: Should Your Day And Night Skincare Routines Be Different?


The Bottom Line

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!

Do you ever sleep with your makeup on? Share your experience in the comments below.