Face up to the facts: Why we need to remove make-up overnight
From blocked pores to dull-looking skin, it's not just morning panda eyes you need to be worried about if you don't cleanse before bedtime. By Georgia Humphreys
One too many glasses of prosecco, no make-up wipes left in the packet or simply feeling too tired - these are excuses we've probably all used when it comes to not taking our make-up off at the end of the day.
But regularly going to bed with your make-up still on can cause skin damage.
Here are some of the scariest things that can happen if we repeatedly don't wipe away that foundation, according to experts.
Rachael Dunseath, founder of Myroo Skincare - an organic skincare company for sensitive and allergic skin - says leaving make-up on overnight is especially bad for those skin types.
"There are lots of negatives from not cleansing before bed," she warns. "I would say that an increased chance of milia (also known as milk spots) would be one of the worst, as once you have these they are very hard to get rid of with home treatments and you can run the risk of scarring if you attempt it.
"Milia are caused by dead skin cells getting trapped in your pores. Cleansing helps clear away the debris and reduces the chances of blocked pores."
2. Inflammation and spots
Dr Maryam Zamani is a cosmetic and leading aesthetic doctor, with extensive experience in dermatology, and is also the creator and founder of skincare brand MZ Skin.
She says: "If you do not thoroughly cleanse your face and remove make-up, dirt and dead skin cells will stay on the skin and clog pores. This can lead to inflammation and spots - if you suffer from oily, acne-prone skin, this can worsen."
Not only that, but the build-up of make-up could also affect the size of our pores in the long-term.
Dr Zamani explains: "Dirt in pores not only clogs them, it is also thought that it can stretch them and make pores bigger."
3. Irritation and congestion
Debbie Thomas, a skincare and laser specialist who is also an internationally renowned celebrity facialist, says the most obvious change you would see in your skin is congestion - so more blackheads and whiteheads.
She says: "At night, if you are wearing make-up, you need to double cleanse - once to remove it and the second cleanse will clean the skin itself, working on lifting dead skin cells and cleaning out the pore openings."
Similarly, the appearance of your skin may change because of irritation. Dr Zamani says: "If your skin is sensitive or you suffer from rosacea, leaving make-up on at night might irritate the skin and cause a rash or inflammation and blemishes (even burst blood vessels) due to the perfumes/chemicals it contains."
4. Premature ageing
If you want to avoid premature wrinkles, then use this as additional motivation to get cleansing at night.
"It (leaving make-up on) can also cause oxidative damage that weakens the skin's protective barrier, meaning your skin is more prone to wrinkles and other signs of premature ageing," says Dr Zamani.
And Thomas echoes this, saying: "Over time, the skin will struggle to work properly as leaving make-up on for longer than needed suffocates the skin, not giving it a chance to repair and regenerate. This will leave it dull and speed up ageing."
5. It will be harder for your skin to repair itself
If you don't take off your make-up at night, more than foundation will be left on your face. Particles from the environment - from smoke, cars and general city life - collect on our skin during the day and can then be absorbed by make-up.
"If these are not removed, the reaction of oxidative stress to the skin can carry on during your sleep," says Dr Zamani. "As the night-time hours are when skin repairs itself, it has a much harder job to do."
And as the main role of the uppermost layer of skin, the stratum corneum, is to keep in moisture and protect the skin - you need to keep it hydrated.
"Removing make-up (which absorbs the skin's moisture and can therefore have a drying effect) allows the skin to breathe and re-balance its hydration levels."
So, there are plenty of reasons to reach for the cleanser before you drift off at night... no excuses.