On the lengthy list of things you might be inclined to do after an exhausting day (sit on the couch; lie down on the couch; pass out on the couch), washing your face probably hovers somewhere near the bottom, if it made the list at all (it almost certainly didn’t). You’re not alone: A national survey of 1,000 adult men and women found that more than half neglect to wash their face before bedtime.
But according to dermatologist Rajani Katta, cleaning your face before bed is one of the simplest ways to improve your skin—for two main reasons:
Washing Before Bed Prevents Acne
“It’s especially important to wash your face before bed if you have oily skin, because a build-up of oil and sloughed-off skin cells on the skin’s surface can contribute to whiteheads and blackheads,” Katta explains. “For my patients who have oily skin and are prone to acne, I often recommend medicated cleansers twice a day to remove oil and skin cells that may clog the pores (and to reduce inflammation).” Those with dry skin can also benefit from a twice-a-day cleaning—just be sure to moisturize afterward.
Washing Before Bed Reduces Wrinkles
Whatever your skin type, washing your face before calling it a night can also prevent wrinkles. That’s because your face is exposed to free radicals in the environment during the day—via pollution and UV rays—which can cause the breakdown of collagen and eventually lead to fine lines and wrinkles. But washing your face before bed prevents that lingering environmental pollution from damaging your face throughout the night.
So next time you’re debating whether you should give your face a quick scrub or pass out face down in your pizza, consider the long-term benefits of a quick cleanse. Then pass out in the pizza anyway—tomorrow is, as they say, another day.