Last Friday, an argument erupted in the Fashionista office between me and my typically gregarious coworkers. The topic? Face washing–or, more specifically, my total lack of doing so.
The following is a paraphrase of the events that occurred that evening.
Tyler: Wait… you don’t wash your face?!
Tyler: That’s so bad for you! You’re going to get wrinkles! Wait… not even your eye makeup?!
Tyler: Ugh no Nora noooooo!
It’s true. I don’t wash my face, like, ever. And my face seems to be totally fine with that. At 26, I can say in all honesty that I’ve never experienced a major breakout in my life. Blackheads rarely afflict me, and pores aren’t something that ever cross my mind. I might get a rogue pimple here and there, but doesn’t everyone?
It’s not that I haven’t wanted to do the whole twice-daily rinse thing. As a pre-teen, I subscribed to every teen magazine in existence. CosmoGirl, Teen, Teen People, Seventeen, and YM collectively taught me that having an oily T-zone was the absolute worst thing ever–and that the solution to 8th grade awkwardness relied on my faithfulness to brands like Clean & Clear, Clearasil, and/or Neutrogena.
I tried my fair share of them, but the habit never seemed to fully form. I went through a brief stint of using toner in high school because it seemed like the adult thing to do, but that got boring after a while. I even went out and bought (ok, my mother bought) some of that shine control gel and those nifty little oil blotting sheets–only to realize I’d wasted my (read: my mother’s) money. So I gave up.
In truth, I’ve never thought much of it until recently–face wash is just one less thing I have to buy on my drugstore runs. I wear what I would consider to be a “full face of makeup” (mascara, liner, bronzer, blush, and under-eye concealer) nearly every day–and when I’m ready to hit the hay at night, my makeup comes to bed with me. But it seems that every time it comes up in conversation (which, working in fashion and beauty, you can imagine is a fair amount), people’s reactions are closer aligned to Tyler’s.
The Daily Mail published a piece recently about a “shocking experiment” its author had conducted: For one full month, Anna Pursglove forced herself to forgo washing her face–reapplying new makeup over the old, slept-on makeup each morning. The drama that ensues involves eyelash cysts (succeeded by eyelash dander), swollen eyes, deepened wrinkles, cracked lips, and 5% larger pores than when she’d begun. “The experts estimated that my skin was biologically approximately a decade older than before I began my no-cleansing experiment,” Pursglove lamented.
Forget eyelash dander–save for a few mascara stains on my pillowcase, I’ve never experienced a drawback to sleeping with my “face on.” In fact, I’ve found the fastest and most reliable way to applying the perfect swipe of liquid liner is simply by tracing the remnants of the perfect swipe you had the day before. So why have I been spared? I contacted Dr. Susan Stuart, board certified dermatologist in San Diego to find out whether I’m screwing my pores over way more than I’m aware. And as I’m sure most of you are eager to hear by now, the answer is YEP!
According to Dr. Stuart, “Leaving makeup on your face [overnight] will plug your skin’s pores which can lead to further skin outbreaks including whiteheads, blackheads, and even acne outbreaks. Drying of the skin will also occur when makeup residue is not regularly removed resulting in premature skin aging including wrinkles, lines, and altered skin pigmentation.”
To top it off, whatever other products I may slather on my face at some point (never say never!) might not work properly because my pores are so gunky. “Residual makeup will prevent skin products from reaching the deeper layers of the skin, especially those products designed to rejuvenate the skin,” explains Dr. Stuart.
In summation… I’m going to die. Well, Unless I start washing my face, I guess. We’ll see if that whole old dog/new trick thing applies to personal hygiene. Or perhaps I’ll balk the doctor’s orders and end up miraculously wrinkle-free on one of those “Dermatologists hate her!” ads (I can only pray). In the meantime, feel free to recommend me your favorite face wash–the livelihood of my poor, neglected skin depends on it…