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How Makeup Affects Your Skin Health: Good or Bad?

Do you always take off your make-up before bed? Every single night? Even those nights you nod off on the couch, have had a few drinks, or when you’ve had a long day? Turns out a third of women confessed in a recent survey that they are guilty of sleeping with their makeup face at least twice a week.

While this may seem normal to many, keeping makeup on your face for long periods of time can have a detrimental effect on your skin. Dr. Rokhsar, a leading cosmetic specialist and board-certified dermatologist in NYC, discusses the impact that makeup has on the skin.

Beauty Blunder: How Bad Is Sleeping With Makeup On?

Even if you scrub your skin in the morning and follow a general healthy routine throughout the day, falling asleep with makeup on is one of the biggest beauty blunders you can make.

Doing so can clog your pores and oil glands. When the makeup becomes impacted in pores, it can make them appear larger. It also stretches them out and, unfortunately, since your skin collagen levels decline as you age, your pores won’t bounce back to their original size as easily. Collagen is the protein that creates structure in the skin and is ultimately responsible for keeping us youthful-looking. The more we age, the more often pores become naturally larger because elasticity decreases, so the structures that support the skin, and keep pores tight, become slacker.

Not only does skimping on cleansing clog and stretch your pores, but skipping your nightly washing routine can also cause inflammation, which over time can generate free radicals and lead to collagen breakdown. These factors, combined with larger pores, can make your skin age faster. It’s best to break this habit sooner rather than later.

Too tired to make a trip to the sink to wash your face? Keep makeup removing wipes by your bed, which will remove any makeup residue at the very least. If you are washing your face nightly and still experiencing annoying skin problems, check out if you’re making any other face-washing mistakes

Makeup Clogging Up Your Pores?

Makeup is used to improve your appearance. Whether you’re making your eyes look bigger, your cheekbones more pronounced, or covering up a pimple or blemish; it’s known as a temporary fixer. Typically, makeup doesn’t inflict any negative side effects on the skin as long as you’re staying loyal to your morning and night skincare routines. Washing your face morning and night, sometimes midday as well (depending on your skin type) is important, especially if you’re using foundations or cover-ups in your daily routine.

Some people are allergic to common makeup ingredients, which, if you are, you’re probably aware of it already from bad trial-and-error experiences. Reactions can vary from irritant contact dermatitis, which categorizes an itching or burning reaction, or allergic contact dermatitis, which is characterized by swelling, itching or blistering effects, common to other allergies.

Makeup is also known to cause acne flare-ups at minimal and extreme levels, especially if you forget to clean off the makeup properly before bedtime. The makeup-induced breakout is called acne cosmetic, which blocks pores and produces red bumps on the chin, cheeks, and forehead. The T-zone of your face (forehead, in between the eyebrows, nose and chin) produces the most oil, which is why it’s important to make sure this area is cleaned with appropriate makeup wipes or general soap and water routine.

If you tend to have oily skin, look out for products that are fragrance and oil-free, or ones that are appropriately labeled “hypoallergenic,” “noncomedogenic,” and “nonacnegenic” as these are designed for acne-prone skin.

Can Makeup With SPF Really Protect Your Skin?

The skin needs to be protected all year round, so what better way to do it than using makeup? Of course, this doesn’t include a majority of the male population; they will just have to settle with getting protection from a daily dose of sunscreen.

Protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is important, especially considering that the sun’s rays can reach you on cloudy and hazy days. Those who choose to indulge in indoor tanning also risk an unnecessary level of UV radiation exposure. The hours between 10am and 4pm are the most dangerous for those unprotected in the sun, no matter how much natural pigment they already have in their skin.

Leading dermatologists will recommend applying at least 30 SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen every two hours and right after sweating or swimming. Broad-spectrum blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Besides skin cancers such as melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma, wrinkles and early on-set aging are inevitable from the skin’s overexposure to the sun. Protecting the skin is so important to prevent any unwanted sun side effects, and foundations and other makeup products can do the trick. Built-in sun protection factor (SPF) is a helpful way to get the additional protection you need during the day.

However, makeup along cannot provide enough protection against all of the elements. The Skin Cancer Foundation advises people to use a moisturizer containing broad-spectrum sunscreen with ingredients such as zinc oxide, avobenzone, ecamsule, and octocrylene; as they mix well with makeup products.

Dr. Rokhsar advises that patients use extra protection in addition to makeup with SPF. Sunscreen needs to be broad-spectrum and effective enough to hold off the elements all throughout the day.

Makeup and Cosmetics Have Expiration Dates: Shelf Life For Your Skin

Just like food, makeup has an expiration date. But it’s important to know that the FDA doesn’t require cosmetic companies to provide those expiration dates to their consumers. Some cosmetics do have the month, date, and year printed on the package, jar or container, while others have symbols, such as “12M” which means it has a life of one year after its been open and should be thrown out. It needs to be thrown out too or you run the risk of harboring bacteria inside the containers and transferring them to your face, ultimately leading to infection. The risks increase significantly when makeup is shared among friends.

Here are a few throwaway dates to keep in mind (some vary depending upon specific products, this reference is just a general guide:

  • Powders & Shadows: 2 years
  • Cream Shadows: 12 to 18 months
  • Foundation: 12 months
  • Lipstick & Lip-liner: 12 months
  • Mascara & Eyeliners: 3 to 6 months
  • Makeup Brushes: Cleanly weekly using mild detergent
  • Makeup Sponges: Replace each week

If you don’t remember or aren’t sure if your particular type of makeup is ready for the can, watch for specific throwaway signs. The obvious signs are weird smells or separating formulas, and if ever you mix up your makeup or share it with a friend, it should be thrown out. It’s just not worth the risk of contracting anything, especially on the face and so close to delicate eyes. Try to store your makeup in a cool, dry place, like the fridge, and especially try to keep the caps placed back on correctly and tightly sealed.

Find a Dermatologist that Understands the Effects of Makeup on the Skin

Wearing makeup for long periods of time may have a negative effect on the health of your skin. However, you can arrange regular visits with a cosmetic dermatologist that creates a tailored plan that allows you to maintain good skin health while wearing your favorite products.

Dr. Rokhsar is a board-certified dermatologist and leading cosmetic expert in NYC. If you want to learn more about working with Dr. Rokhsar, contact his office and book a consultation today.

About author - Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, is the founder and medical director of the New York Cosmetic, Skin, & Laser Surgery Center. Dr. Rokhsar is a graduate of Harvard College and NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Rokhsar is double board certified in dermatology and micrographic dermatologic surgery, being one of the few select dermatologists in the country who is also fellowship trained in laser surgery. A researcher and innovator, Dr. Rokhsar is the creator of the non-surgical nose job and has been instrumental in the research and development of laser systems such as the Fraxel, CO2, Mirady, Vbeam, Themitight, and Ulthera devices. An Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, Dr. Rokhsar actively teaches the cosmetic dermatology clinic to the resident at Mount Sinai. An expert injector of fillers, and a trainer for many companies, patients fly in from around the world to see Dr. Rokhsar in his Garden City and Manhattan offices in New York.

Learn more about Dr. Rokhsar | Dr. Rokhsar's Google Scholar