What To Do If You Fall Asleep With Your Makeup On After A Night Out

Do you religiously remove your makeup before sleeping every day? The answer to this may be ‘yes’ for the most diligent of us. However, there will always be the odd occasion where we have not done what we know the skincare Gods would expect of us! We have all been there at some point – fallen asleep with a full face of makeup on only to wake up to the consequences the next day. Here are our top skincare troubleshooting tips to help control the situation…


  1. Cleanse skin


This may seem obvious, but it is the first step that will allow you to assess the extent of the damage. Sleeping with foundation on overnight can clog pores and increase the risk of blemishes and spot breakouts – particularly if you have naturally oily skin.  Start with a gentle cleanser suitable for your skin type and follow this with exfoliation. It is important to remember not to be too aggressive with exfoliation as this in itself can cause further skin irritation. Follow this with a moisturiser appropriate for your skin type to help restore hydration and a healthier glow. If you do develop acne breakouts, these can be treated with medication after a consultation with a dermatologist.


  1. Remove Eye Makeup


Sleeping with eye makeup can lead to puffy, red eyes the next day and can cause irritation and increase the risk of conjunctivitis (red eye). This is also particularly important for contact lens wearers, as heavy eye makeup could increase the risk of bacterial transfer to the lens when removing or inserting. Your eyes may well feel more tender than usual and so cleansing should be gentle – and if you do wake up with a sore gritty sensation it may be a sign of irritation or infection. If the problem does not improve with simple lubricant eye drops which you can buy over-the-counter, you should speak to your doctor. Styes (blocked eyelash follicles) are another potential issue with heavy eye makeup – but do tend to resolve with warm compressors (warm water applied to a flannel or tissue) applied to the affected area on the eyelid.


  1. Hydrate lips


Depending on what type of lip makeup you applied you may either feel thankful or regretful the next day! If you slept in heavy matt finish lipsticks, you are likely to notice dry, chapped lips. However, if you used a lip balm, you may wake up with a softer and hydrated feel to your lips. Either way, remove your lip makeup and apply a soothing paraffin-based ointment. Ointments are oil-based and provide a much greater degree of moisture; however, they are also flammable so beware if you are a smoker…

Last but not least, do not forget to change your pillowcase the next day. Failing to do so could mean that leftover makeup debris could retransfer back onto your skin and potentially cause further irritation.

The best thing to do is to remember to take your makeup off before sleeping – no matter how much you’ve had to drink or how tired you are!



Dr Noha Elshimy
Dr Noha Elshimy
Dr Noha Elshimy graduated from the University of Birmingham with honours and two distinctions. She is currently undergoing her specialisation in dermatology in the UK. Through her training, she wholly appreciates both the physical and psychological impact that dermatological conditions can have on patients. She has a passion for teaching others and has been regularly involved with teaching medical students from the local university.
Originally published August 10 2018, updated April 10 2019

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