Crawling into bed after a night out without changing or washing your face is totally normal — we've all been there after falling asleep in the Lyft home. It's common knowledge that sleeping in makeup is a terrible idea, but if you're too tired to take it off, what are you supposed to do? According to a downright horrifying new study, you should suck it up and force yourself to wash your face, because the consequences could be devastating. An Australian woman developed lesions on her eyes after not removing mascara properly for years, and she's sharing her experience so none of us make the same mistake.
According to the case study, which was published in a peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a 50-year-old woman went to the doctor because she felt like she had something in her eyes. Then she told doctors she'd been using mascara for 25 years without taking it off properly. As a result, she developed sub-conjunctival concretions, or lesions that develop on the inside of your eyelids. She had a number of other eye problems because of her makeup habits, according to the report, including corneal erosions and inflammation problems. You can see the pictures here, but be prepared that they're pretty graphic, especially if you get freaked out about eye injuries.
The Daily Mail interviewed the woman noted in the report, Theresa Lynch, and hearing her describe it in her own terms is even scarier. She says she had "solid black lumps" underneath her eyelids because of her mascara habits, and her eyelids felt swollen as the problem got worse. "I had fallen into a bad habit of wearing a lot of makeup and not washing it off. I should never have let it get this far," she told the Daily Mail. "It's so important to properly take your makeup off every single night. You can't miss a single day." Study author Dr. Dana Robaei says it took a 90-minute surgical procedure to remove the eye lesions, and Lynch will have permanent eye damage as a result of the complications she dealt with. The ophthalmologist says she'd never seen anything like Lynch's eye injuries before. Here's more of what she told the publication:
Every time Theresa was blinking these bumps were rubbing on the surface of the eye and they pose a risk to her vision.
If the scratch on the surface of the eye got infected, there is a risk this could be a potentially blinding but that would be rare.
She compares Lynch's experience to having sand thrown in your eyes, which is a cringeworthy visual. But it all could've been avoided with proper eye makeup removal, and both the doctor and patient are spreading the word about why people need to take their mascara off every night. "Not many women are treating the removal of their mascara seriously [...] You must be meticulous," Robaei says in the interview.
We all need to take the time to remove our mascara before we go to bed. Baby oil, baby shampoo, and coconut oil can all work as DIY makeup removers, so you don’t don’t have an excuse even if you run out of makeup remover. Waterproof makeup is harder to remove, so keep that in mind when you’re buying new makeup.
And if you're too tired to move, try keeping makeup wipes on your nightstand. It's not a perfect solution, but it can help you avoid longterm eye damage. If you're incredibly lazy, it can be tempting to use last night's smoky eye as today's smudged makeup, but the risks aren't worth it.