How to Get Sunscreen Off Skin

Getting sunscreen completely off your skin requires more than just water…

Getting sunscreen off your skin seems like it should be simple enough – just jump in the shower, right? Well depending on what sunscreen you’re using, getting all that gunk off your skin can be quite tricky.

Why is Sunscreen So Hard to Wash Off?

We’ve already talked about how to get sunscreen out of your eyes, but getting it off your skin entirely is a different matter.

There are a few reasons why sunscreen can be so darn stubborn and is a challenge to wash off.

One reason is that many sunscreens are waterproof, which means they are intentionally designed to stay on your skin even when you sweat or swim. This can be great for protecting your skin from the sun, but it also means that waterproof sunscreen can be more difficult to remove at the end of the day.

Certain sunscreens are also doing to be tougher to remove than others. Chemical sunscreens can usually be washed off well enough with your average body soap or face soap.

Physical mineral sunscreens, with thick, adhesive ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are much more difficult to remove. In order to get physical sunscreen off of your face and body, you’ll likely want to use a double cleansing method. This involves using both an oil-based cleanser as well as a water-based cleanser.

Do You Have to Wash Off Sunscreen?

Of course you don’t have to wash off sunscreen, but it’s certainly a good idea to do so. Even when it feels as if sunscreen has fully absorbed into your skin, there is a plethora of dirt, debris, and residue that needs to be washed off your skin.

If you leave old sunscreen on and don’t wash it off, it can build up, irritate your skin, and clog your pores. This commonly results in acne breakouts – something nobody wants.

On top of that, old sunscreen residue can end up acting as a barrier when you apply skincare products during your nighttime routine, which means your products won’t penetrate into your skin as they should. Not only will this make your products less effective, it also means your adding layers upon layers of products, resulting in even more icky build up – yuk!

How to Get Sunscreen Off Of Your Skin (On Your Face)

  • Step 1. Apply an oil-based cleanser. Opt for an oil-based cleanser with surfactants and emulsifiers to lift sunscreen (plus any other cosmetics and dirt) off the skin. A pump dispenser will be easiest to use, but other application methods work fine too!
  • Step 2. Massage the cleanser into your skin in a circular motion. Be sure to focus on areas where you tend to wear more sunscreen, like your face, neck, chest, and hands.
  • Step 3. Apply a water-based cleanser. Once you’ve lifted the majority of the sunscreen with an oil-based cleanser, you’ll want to follow up with a water-based cleanser to wash the sunscreen off of your face and remove any residue.
  • Step 4. Pat your face gently with a soft, dry towel.
  • Step 5. Apply moisturizer to dehydrate and protect your skin.

How to Get Sunscreen Off of Skin (On Your Body)

You can repeat the same process on your body as you did with your face. Once again, you’ll want to use an oil-based cleaner on your body – most folks like to use castile soap or shea butter soap.

Additionally, you can use a loofah to help exfoliate your skin as you go.

End your shower by patting dry and applying body lotion.

So there you have – a double cleansing regiment is really the only effective way to fully get sunscreen off skin. Do you regularly use an oil-based cleanser? What kind do you like to use? Let us know in the comments!

FAQs About How to Get Sunscreen Off Your Skin

How does cleansing oil remove sunscreen from your skin?

Oil-based cleansers work by forming a strong bond with whatever oil is already on your skin. This way, when you rinse the cleanser off, all that gunk comes off too!

Do you need to remove sunscreen with makeup remover?

You don’t necessarily need to use makeup remover, but it can help to break down the oils in sunscreen so that they’re easier to wash off. You’ll definitely need makeup remover or an oil-based cleanser to clean off physical mineral sunscreens (such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide). Just remember, no matter what method you use to remove sunscreen, it’s always important to follow up with a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and protected!

Can you remove sunscreen with just water?

No, you cannot remove sunscreen with just water. You’ll need an oil-based cleanser to fully remove sunscreen from your skin.

How do you remove water resistant sunscreen?

You’ll need to use an oil-based cleanser to remove water resistant sunscreen. Apply the cleanser to your skin and massage in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly with warm water or with a second water-based cleanser. Pat dry and follow up with a moisturizer.

How do you remove mineral sunscreen from skin?

To remove mineral sunscreen, you’ll need to use an oil-based cleanser. Apply the cleanser to your skin and massage it into the skin for several minutes. Next, use a water-based cleaner to fully clean off the residue. End by gently drying off your skin and applying a moisturizer.

How do you wash off body sunscreen?

You can wash off body sunscreen the same way you would face sunscreen – by using an oil-based cleanser. Since our body skin is usually tougher than the face area, you can use a stronger cleanser like castile soap (which tends to be too harsh for many people’s face).

What happens when you don’t wash off sunscreen?

If you don’t wash off sunscreen, the oils and chemicals will remain on your skin. This can cause irritation, breakouts, and clogged pores. Additionally, it will make it harder for your skin to absorb other products in your skincare routine.

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