Woman cleaning her face with a lotion a and a cotton pad
Image: Shutterstock/Tinatin

You’ve been warned since the first time you ever swiped eyeliner on your lids to always, always, always remove your makeup before going to bed. But sometimes, you’re out too late and are exhausted. Sometimes, it’s been a crazy hectic day and makeup removal is the last thing on your mind. Sometimes, you sleep over at a hotel or friend’s house and forget to pack your cleansers. Maybe you simply forget to remove your makeup and go to bed. Whatever the reason, is it really that bad for you if you don’t clean your face? The answer is yes! Still need convincing? Continue reading to see the reasons why removing your makeup is essential to your health and your beauty.

When we sleep, our skin regenerates. It’s the time for it to heal and grow after whatever damage we’ve done to it during the day. But if your pores are still full of makeup, there’s no room for the restoration process to occur. This blockage will lead to acne, breakouts, wrinkles and puffiness around your eyes. Not so glamorous, huh? Next time, take the extra five minutes to properly clean your face.

Your complexion will dull out if you don’t remove your makeup. If you want that fresh morning glow, you need to take off all the makeup the night before. Washing and exfoliating your skin allows new skin cells to develop, which will give you a brighter face. Who knows, with that much natural glow, you might not need as much makeup in the future to cover up. Funny how that works, right?

Not all makeup will cause harm in the same ways. Foundation, for example, is the worst thing you can leave on your skin overnight. It completely clogs your pores and gives them no room to breathe. Blackheads and acne can result from this. Primer will have similar effects. On the other hand, eyeliner and mascara will produce different results. By leaving those products on overnight, it allows the opportunity for your hair follicles and oil glands to be clogged around your eyes. Over the long term, redness, puffiness, inflammation and bacteria can develop. If you continue the same habits, a doctor may be necessary to treat your eyes. Save yourself the headache of a doctor’s visit, the bill of a prescription, and the added task of applying the medicine: remove your makeup.

Though not removing your makeup doesn’t cause infections, it does leave your skin more susceptible. If there’s an exposed area on your face due to a cut, an inflamed pimple, or some other abrasion, it’s easier for bacteria to get inside. If you have acne, you’ll be prone to developing worse acne. The bottom line that regular washing is the easiest way to take care of your face and prevent future damage.

Makeup removal wipes are not good enough! Let that sink in for a minute. You might think that a quick swipe of a wipe is acceptable, but that only treats the surface. Makeup removal wipes will get off the top layers of makeup, as they should. But a cleanser is always necessary to get deep down into your pores where makeup can build up. Sure, use the wipe as a preliminary cleaning, but absolutely follow that up with a cleanser. Makeup removal should be a two-step process, minimum.

Did you know there’s a specific order that should be followed when removing your makeup? There’s actually a method to the madness. If you want the cleanest face, adhere to this regimine: lips (you don’t want the lipstick to smear all over your face while you sleep), eyes (be soft and gentle, as the skin is thin), and then the base. Once clean, you can end the ritual with a moisturizer to replenish your skin after everything you wiped off.

Not removing your makeup will make you look older. And isn’t the point of makeup to make you look young and fresh? It’s supposed to highlight your natural beauty, not create more problems that you need to cover up (and then you’ll get worse problems when you don’t take off that amount of makeup, so then you’ll wear more, and around and around we go). If you leave your makeup on overnight habitually, your skin will prematurely age and wrinkles will form. Remember, it’s not just the makeup you’re leaving trapped on your skin. It’s also all the dust, sweat and dirt you’ve accumulated from the day. Your skin will thank you for removing all of that junk.

Kaitlyn is a graduate from Lee University and is a staff editor for R.H. Boyd Publishing. She enjoys travel, books and penguins. When she’s not working, she dreams of seeing the world.