6 Aestheticians on What Happens When We Don't Wash Our Faces at Night

Photo Credits: Lia Koltyrina/ Shutterstock | Model Used for Illustrative Purpose Only

When I asked six aestheticians for their non-negotiable skin care rules for nighttime, all of them came back with the same answer: “Cleanse your skin EVERY night!” It’s a rule our mothers have told us for decades—and one we’ve scoffed at for just as long—but does it actually carry any weight? Turns out it absolutely does, and our skin could be paying the price.

“The skin repairs itself when we sleep, and when we leave our makeup on, we prevent that repair from happening,” says aesthetician Shani Darden. Even more, washing our faces literally lets our skin breathe, which means when we don't wash it, it's being suffocated. Aesthetician Joanna Czech tells me that not only is skin able to soak up more oxygen when it’s clean, but when we’re asleep, clean skin can absorb up to 60-percent more nutrients from serums and moisturizers, essentially making them work better.

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Aside from allowing products to absorb deeper into the skin, cleansing is also crucial for getting grime out of the skin, first, but, as aesthetician Kate Somerville notes, we’re not just talking makeup. “Cleansing at the end of the day is a must for removing all of the dirt, oil and pollution from your skin,” she says, adding that cleansing once may not be enough to do the trick. Aesthetician Ildi Pekar agrees, and suggests a double cleanse at night before giving your skin what it needs for the night (this will vary!).

“Remove your makeup and wash your face twice at night with a non-foaming cleanser,” aesthetician Nerida Joy says. If your pores are tight, Somerville suggests incorporating steam while you cleanse because it helps to open them up and soften skin. Once you’re done, master aesthetician Amy McLain says to apply a product with an anti-aging powerhouse like retinol. "Because nighttime is when the skin renews itself, it’s the ideal time to apply these types of products," she adds. However, before applying a stronger product to your skin (this goes for retinols and acids, too), be sure to patch test to ensure your skin agrees with it first.

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