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Four reasons to always cleanse your complexion before bedtime.

Whether you are coming home after being stuck at the office or after a few too many cocktails, it can be hard to muster up the energy to wash your face when you’re exhausted. But skipping that pre-bedtime step can damage your skin. These are four reasons to wash your face before you go to sleep:

1. You’ll Reduce Breakouts.

You probably aren’t even aware that you touch your face all day long, making it one of the dirtiest parts of your body. And with all of that bacteria on your skin, you may be more susceptible to developing acne; washing away the grime before bed will remove troublesome bacteria and oil, making you less susceptible to clogged pores and breakouts.

2. Your Moisturizer Will Work Better.

While you sleep, your skin naturally repairs and restores itself, and cleaning it before you turn in maximizes this effect. During the day, your skin fights off all sorts of assaults, from UV rays to pollution; at night, there’s less damage control to do, so the beauty products that you apply may be more effective. Applying night creams to clean skin in the evening is the best time to soften your face—not to mention, it can feel soothing and relaxing as you prep for sleep.

3. You’ll Help Prevent Wrinkles.

We’re exposed to free radicals in the environment all day, and makeup tends to hold on to them. They can cause the breakdown of healthy collagen, which eventually leads to fine lines and wrinkles. If you don’t wash your face before bed, your skin will have to fend off those free radicals all night long.

4. You’ll Avert Eye Infections.

Sleeping in eye makeup is a bad idea because it can migrate into your eyes, which may cause irritation. Making a habit out of snoozing in eye makeup can cause the tiny hair follicles and oil glands on your eyelids to clog, which may lead to a buildup of bacteria. This can cause inflammation, and eventually result in the formation of small bumps called styes or hordeolums, which may need to be removed by your doctor. If washing your face doesn’t remove mascara, eyeliner, and other makeup from the eye area, be sure to use eye makeup remover to ensure that all traces of cosmetics are gone.