What One Night of Not Taking Off Your Makeup Does to Your Skin

You don't want to know—but you should.

Makeup, sleep
(Image credit: Everett)

After a night of F̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶L̶o̶k̶o̶ - tequila-soaked revelry, it's all too easy to stick a toothbrush into your mouth (Is there even any Marvis (opens in new tab) on this?) then fall sideways onto the covers fully clothed with the lights on until 4:13 a.m. when you wake up with the Cuervo sweats. You're a rare bird indeed if you *haven't* done this, but would-you-jump-off-a-bridge logic aside, how bad is going to bed without taking your makeup off, really?

Tune out now if you want to continue living in ignorance (not us!)—straight ahead, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian at Schweiger Dermatology Group (opens in new tab) shatters our illusions about what failing to do even the bare minimum really does to your precious skin.

It f*cks with cell renewal

When the sun goes down, new skin cells come out to play. "One of the most basic problems that occurs when you don't clean your face before bedtime is that natural skin sloughing, where dead skin is replaced with new cells, is impeded," Dr. Nazarian says. "Dead skin cells accumulate, leading to dull, dry skin." Whoopee.

The micropollutants from outside? They're still there!

And they're trapped beneath layers of foundation, sunscreen, and dirt. Like when the cut side of an apple browns, these free radicals cause oxidative stress, which in turn leads to early aging: wrinkles, sagging, cheeks that don't spring back when you poke them. Ready your Melisandre necklace (opens in new tab), that's all we've got to say.

It causes inflammation not all the turmeric in the world could fix

Whether your blush is food-grade or drag-show-proof industrial-strength, overnight, grime will build up in your pores, agitating the skin. This means small blood vessels bursting (lovely), conditions like rosacea flaring up (even better) and zits (joy). And that's *before* that early-morning spinach-artichoke slice comes into play (opens in new tab).

The bad stuff on your face ➡️ your eyes

Which doesn't just leave gluey, inky residue in the inner corners when you wake up—the transfer of bacteria, dirt, and oil can lead to eye infections and eyelash breakage AHHHH. Suddenly, the well-smudged eyeliner you can only achieve via keeping it on doesn't seem so worth it anymore.

Conclusion: Get thee a Schwasty Nightstand (opens in new tab)—and use it.

Makeup, sleep

(Image credit: Design by Megan Tatem)

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Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.