We've all been there. Whether you got caught up in an SVU marathon or that girl's night out ran a little later than expected, sometimes you're just too exhausted to remove your makeup before hitting the sack. This usually seems harmless enough at the time–you normally take great care of your skin, so what's one night of laziness, right?
RELATED: 8 Steps to Younger-Looking Skin
To find out just how bad it really is to fall asleep in makeup, we spoke with Mona Gohara, MD, an associate professor of dermatology at Yale. The bottom line, she says, is that your skin uses sleep as an opportunity to recover from the day–and makeup makes that harder to do. "At night, your skin cells are trying to regenerate and exfoliate off, so leaving a layer of makeup on creates a barrier that can lead to clogged pores and acne," Dr. Gohara says. "One night of doing this would not be a catastrophe, but it really is a bigger issue if it becomes a habit."
On nights when you abandon your skin care regimen, Gohara suggests giving your skin a little extra TLC the next morning. Wash your face once with a gentle cleanser, such as CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser ($ 10, drugstore.com), and then follow that with an exfoliator like Murad Transforming Powder Dual-Action Cleanser and Exfoliator ($ 30; sephora.com) to slough away dead skin cells. If you can, she also recommends giving your skin a breather by going makeup-free for the rest of the day.
RELATED: 14 Ways to Age in Reverse
To prevent future skin fails, Gohara recommends stashing makeup remover wipes like Yes to Cucumbers Face Cleanser Towelettes ($ 5; target.com) on your nightstand. While they're no substitute for washing your face with cleanser and water, they're better than nothing–and can help you avoid next-day breakouts.