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What Happens to Your Skin When You Sleep With Make-up On?

Prof. Dr. Ghulam Mujtaba

2 min read

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Sleeping with makeup on can have far-reaching effects—that can drastically age and damage the skin. Even though many of us are guilty of sleeping in our makeup at one time or another, this lazy habit can cost us when we go the dermatologist with intense, flare-ups.

Makeup prevents the renewal of skin:

Skin renews itself when we sleep; makeup and especially foundation can hamper this renewal process. The result is the accumulation of dead skin cells, dull complexion, and clogged pores.

Because there is a layer of makeup on the pores, they do not release sebum which is a natural lubricant required by the skin to remove debris and moisturize the skin.

Makeup like foundation also oxidizes throughout the day and partially breaks down; this layer of broken down makeup and the metabolic byproducts both combine to form a thick layer on the skin that prevents the important role of microcirculation. Microcirculation nourishes the skin and is important for skin renewal.


As mentioned before, makeup clogs pores and prevents sebum from doing its job. This buildup of makeup and dead skin cells fester bacteria and cause inflammation. The result is an array of pimples, whiteheadsand acne. This is in fact one of the commonest side effects of not taking makeup off before sleeping.

Dry, chapped lips:

According to Dr. Jeannette Graf, M.D. sleeping with lipstick on will result in dry and chapped lips. This is because many lipsticks contain preservatives and ingredients that seep the moisture from the lips.

These ingredients include  formaldehyde, mineral oil, mercury, antimony, and cadmium. Research shows that sleeping with lipsticks containing the aforementioned ingredients can greatly increase the chances of toxicity and should be strictly avoided.

Eye infections:

Sleeping in mascara and heavy eyeliner can wreak on your eyes. Apart from staining your pillow cover, mascara and liner will clog the glands and tiny hair follicles at the base of the lashes. When the oils in the glands cannot drain, it will enlarge to form a painful condition called stye.

Mascara can also cause small debris to enter the eye and rub on the cornea, causing irritation and abrasion. Corneal abrasions can be extremely painful and sometimes even difficult to treat. Mascara debris also commonly causes redness of the eye due to an infection known as conjunctivitis.

Leftover mascara can seep moisture from the eyelashes, making them brittle and clumpy. The end result is shedding of the lashes.

Wrinkled skin:

The hydrated, nourished look of the skin is due to elastic tissue known as collagen. Makeup and its byproducts if left on the skin can result in the breakdown of collagen and accumulation of dead skin cells, as well as lack of sebum.

This makes the skin look dull, lackluster as well as wrinkled. Therefore, cleansing and exfoliation should form part of regular skincare regimen to remove the dead skin cells, open clogged pores and allow the sebum through.

If you find it difficult to remove makeup at the end of a long day, then keep makeup wipes in your bedside drawer, so that you don’t have to leave your bed to remove makeup. To deal with any side effect of makeup, and to keep your skin healthy find a dermatologist that can help you take better care of your skin. Book an appointment with a top dermatologist in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT doctor for your concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Prof. Dr. Ghulam Mujtaba
Prof. Dr. Ghulam Mujtaba - Author Prof. Dr. Ghulam Mujtaba is a Dermatologist practicing in Multan. Prof. Dr. Ghulam Mujtaba has the following degrees: MBBS, FCPS (Dermatology) and has 33 years of experience. You can book an appointment with Prof. Dr. Ghulam Mujtaba by calling us or using the 'book appointment' button. He is known for ensuring that high quality is maintained in treating patients. To find more about his expert medical advice, follow the provided links:

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