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What Happens When You Don’t Wash Your Face? (Hint: It’s Not Good!)

Written by Elizabeth Kessler • Updated on: 11/02/23

We all have skipped washing our faces after pulling an all-nighter at work or getting wasted in a party at some point in our lives. Depending on various factors, some folks may not suffer severe consequences from skipping one or two days of skincare routine. Others are not so lucky.

Now, you want to know what happens when you don’t wash your face religiously. Well, you can expect different problems such as acne, ageing, dryness, enlarged pores, eye infection, and oily skin in the foreseeable future. Trust me, you won’t like it!

When You Don’t Wash Your Face

Here Are the Consequences of Not Washing Your Face

1. Expect acne breakouts

Let me just expound on what I said in the intro. According to this article on Martha Stewart’s website, forgetting to wash your face once or twice will not cause serious damage. However, doing it every day can take a toll on your overall skin health.

acne breakouts for not washing face

In this informative piece on Beauty RX by Dr. Schultz, your risk of getting acne breakouts increases when dirt, oil, and cosmetics clog your pores. Not everyone will get acne scars after a breakout. Plus, not all of them are permanent. But prevention is better than cure, right?

If you need visual proof of how nasty unwashed face can be, just check this video on Beauty Within’s Youtube doing a No Skincare challenge.

2. Your skin will age faster

skin will age faster for not washing face

This article by Elle magazine listed the inconsistencies in skincare routine as one of the causes of aging. With or without makeup, we all go out every single day and expose ourselves to pollution.

In this interview with Elizabeth Arden’s Art Pellegrino video, other factors like smoking cigarettes and stress can contribute to skin aging. Adding oil-based products like primers and foundations into the equation makes it worse as stated in Refinery 29’s piece.

When you don’t wash face makeup, all of the impurities will mix with the cosmetic residue. Hence, your skin will not only get congested but the particles impede its ability to renew naturally.

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3. Your skin can either get dry or oily

You probably found an ongoing skincare trend that involves not washing face at night, or perhaps not at all. According to this article from Healthline, effective skincare is different for each person.

One thing everyone should do, however, is to cleanse the face before sleeping. In this way, you can get rid of the dirt and other impurities accumulated throughout the day. Furthermore, it helps any skincare products that you use in the morning work better.

The effects of not washing your face vary depending on your skin type. Oily skin tends to increase oil production and lead to more breakouts as pointed out in this video by Bright Side. Meanwhile, unwashed dry skin can result in duller and even dryer skin!

4. Your pores will enlarge

Genes can dictate pore size says Dr. Bobby Buka, the author of this article on The Dermatology Specialists. Exposure to the sun and age can also be factors, but do you know what else is contributing to large pores?

Your bad habits! Well, you know what I’m talking about: Smoking, diet, and – you guessed it – if you never wash your face in the last couple of days. To be clear, there is no way that you can minimize the size of your pores but you can make them appear smaller.

The obvious remedy is to quit smoking if you haven’t. Besides washing your face, you can also check out face masks and serums!

5. Unwashed makeup can irritate your eyes

effects of not washing your face

Your stylish look will not be complete without eyeliners and mascara but don’t forget to wash away. Leaving them overnight when you sleep can congest the microscopic hair follicles and oil glands.

If you don’t believe me, check out these articles from All About Vision, Bustle, and Dermstore. Just like your skin, bacteria buildup around your eyelids can lead to unwanted consequences like stye and conjunctivitis.

While it may take some time to wash off all that makeup, it is well worth the hassle. Apart from ensuring that your face is clean, it can prevent your eyes from getting infected!

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Going back to the question, “What happens when you don’t wash your face?” In short, there is no real benefit. Many of you are busy with crazy long work shifts but your skincare routine does not have to be elaborate. Referencing the article from Beauty RX, you can take these steps:

  • Identify your skin type to determine the kind of products to use
  • Wash your face with a cleanser
  • Since cleansers cannot remove all the dirt, follow up with a toner

What Happens When You Don’t Wash Your Face