Are Makeup Wipes Actually Causing Havoc on your Skin?

After a long day, it’s always nice to incorporate some good self-care into our nighttime routine. We change into comfortable clothes, brush, floss our teeth, and then remove the makeup that we put on earlier in the day. We go to reach for our favorite makeup wipe removers, and — voila! — the makeup is off, or so we think. Let’s talk about the importance of removing makeup at the end of the day before we discuss whether makeup wipes are good or bad for your skin.

Wipe the Day Away

You have probably heard of the term “beauty sleep” before, but the phrase has several science-based reasons for its name. One of those reasons is that at night, your skin renews itself. Leaving your makeup on while you sleep deters the renewal process. For those who suffer from acne, makeup will increase your chances of breaking out as it can clog pores. Sleeping with mascara, eyeshadow, or eyeliner can irritate your eyes and cause itchiness or even an infection if any makeup finds its way into your eyes.

Your skin is exposed to grime and pollutants throughout the day. These can lead to lines and wrinkles. Sleeping with makeup on seals in those pollutants onto your skin, eliminating the opportunity for your skin to regenerate itself. Finally, leaving your makeup on overnight can cause your skin to dry out, as some makeup ingredients pull moisture away from your skin.

Common Makeup Wipe Ingredients

Surfactants, solubilizers, and emulsifiers are the most common active ingredients in makeup wipes. These ingredients play a role in dissolving makeup and getting rid of oil and dead skin. Another common ingredient in wipes is sodium lauryl sulfate, which can irritate your skin and eyes. Many preservatives – such as formaldehyde-releasing chemicals and parabens – are also added to the wipes. If you’re using scented makeup wipes, you need to consider the fragrances often added for that fresh or floral scent. Many people have skin that is sensitive to them. Some of us tend not to rinse our faces after using makeup wipes, thus allowing all those chemicals to seep into the skin.

To Wipe or Not to Wipe

Many common ingredients cause skin irritation or even an allergic reaction, particularly for those with sensitive skin. So far, we have irritated skin and clogged pores on the cons list for makeup wipes. Yes, they are an easy way to remove most of the layers of foundation, blush, and concealer that we apply, but at what cost? Breakouts, aging, and irritation!

We understand that sometimes it is not feasible to wash your face with a cleanser (i.e., when you go camping instead of glamping). On those rare occasions, dermatologists understand that washing your face with water is better than leaving your full face of makeup on. The next time you go camping, you may want to pack an extra gallon of water to use specifically with your EltaMD® Foaming Facial Cleanser at night – not a bad idea!

Since makeup wipes tend not to be biodegradable, they can be harmful to the environment – another con to add to our list. It is best to avoid makeup wipes altogether for those who live with rosacea and eczema as they may result in a flare-up.

Are Makeup Wipes the Same as Baby Wipes?

Baby wipes are designed to remove organic matter from the skin, particularly baby waste – stinky! They are not devised to break down the waxes or oils used in makeup products. In short, the answer is baby wipes and makeup wipes are not the same.  A few of you have likely used baby wipes to remove makeup. We get it… However, instead of removing your makeup and cleansing your pores, baby wipes leave the makeup behind, which can cause your pores to clog and your skin to breakout.

Alternatives to Makeup Wipes

Now that we have discussed the negatives of makeup wipes, let’s talk about some alternatives.

One alternative to makeup wipes is reusable makeup removing cloths or cotton rounds. These microfiber cloths are created to be simple. Add water and gently wipe away! They have a long lifespan. Typically, after each use, you will want to give them a quick hand wash and then throw in the washer weekly to sanitize them.

Cleansing balms are another alternative. They have a thick consistency to them. Gently work the balm into your skin so that it can break down your makeup. Afterward, rinse it off, and proceed with your cleanser.

Another alternative method to makeup wipes that has been gaining popularity is the double cleanse technique. It’s simple. Wash your face twice using two different cleansers. Think of the first cleanse as the one that gets rid of the grime that accumulates throughout the day, makeup, dirt, bacteria, etc. The second cleanse will penetrate further into the skin and soak in all the ingredients. Typically, the second cleanser is stronger, more robust, and specific to your skin type and/or skin challenges. Double cleansing is best for nighttime.

To discuss skin care routine recommendations tailored to your skin care needs, schedule an appointment with one of our Cosmetic Specialists at Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery. Visit us online to request an appointment or schedule a consultation by calling 509.456.7414.