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12 Ways to Remove Sunscreen from Your Face, Body, and Clothing

how to wash sunscreen off your face

Sunscreen is a must for protecting our skin from harmful UV rays, but removing it effectively can sometimes be a challenge. Whether it's from our face, body, or clothing, different types of sunscreen require different removal techniques. In this guide, we'll recommend the best methods for removing sunscreen residue, leaving your skin and clothes clean and refreshed.

Removing Sunscreen from the Face

When it comes to the delicate skin of our face, gentle yet effective removal methods are essential. Consider the following options:

Cleansing Oil

Start by massaging a cleansing oil onto dry skin, focusing on areas with sunscreen buildup. Rinse with warm water to dissolve the sunscreen and dirt, leaving your skin clean and nourished.

Gentle Cleanser

Opt for a gentle cleanser formulated for your skin type. Massage it onto damp skin in circular motions to lift away sunscreen residue and impurities. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Micellar Water

Soak a cotton pad with micellar water and gently swipe it across your face to remove sunscreen and impurities. Micellar water is effective yet gentle, making it suitable for all skin types.

Makeup Remover

If your sunscreen is waterproof or contains heavy-duty ingredients, a dedicated makeup remover may be necessary. Apply it to your face using a cotton pad or your fingertips, then rinse with water or wipe away with a damp cloth.


For stubborn sunscreen or if you've been wearing makeup on top, consider double-cleansing. Start with an oil-based cleanser to break down sunscreen and makeup, then follow up with a water-based cleanser to remove any remaining residue and impurities. This is also a preferred method for removing water-resistant sunscreen.

how to clean off sunscreen residue on skin

Removing Sunscreen from the Body

Our bodies often require a more thorough approach to sunscreen removal, especially after a day spent outdoors. Here's how to effectively cleanse your skin:

Shower with Warm Water

Start by rinsing your body with warm water to loosen sunscreen residue and sweat. Avoid using hot water, as it can strip the skin of its natural oils. Continue to wash your body as normal and be sure to rinse well.

Exfoliating Body Wash

Use an exfoliating body wash with gentle scrubbing beads or a loofah to slough off sunscreen buildup and dead skin cells. Focus on areas prone to sun exposure, such as the arms, legs, and shoulders.

Body Scrub

Treat your skin to a nourishing body scrub once or twice a week to remove stubborn sunscreen residue and reveal smoother, healthier-looking skin. Choose a scrub with natural exfoliants like sugar or salt for best results.

Creamy Body Cleanser

For sensitive or dry skin, opt for a creamy body cleanser that hydrates as it cleanses. Look for formulas enriched with moisturizing ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil to replenish lost moisture.

how to remove sunscreen stains from clothing

Removing Sunscreen from Clothing

Sunscreen stains on clothing can be tricky to remove, but with the right approach, you can restore your garments to their former glory:

Pre-Treat Stains

If you notice sunscreen stains on your clothes, pre-treat them as soon as possible. Apply a small amount of laundry detergent or stain remover directly to the affected area and gently rub it in with your fingers.

Wash in Cold Water

Wash your stained clothing in cold water, as hot water can set the stains and make them more difficult to remove. Use a gentle detergent and follow the care instructions on the garment label.

Air Dry

After washing, air dry your clothes outdoors if possible. Sunlight can help to naturally bleach out stains and freshen up fabrics. Avoid using the dryer until you're sure the stains are completely gone, as heat can set them in permanently.

What are the consequences of not washing the sunscreen off your face?

Thicker sunscreen can clog your pores and cause your skin to look dull. Additionally, leaving sunscreen on your skin makes it harder for your skin to repair and renew itself at night.

What's the best sunscreen for sensitive skin?

If you have sensitive skin, it's best to use a mineral zinc-based sunscreen rather than chemical. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are less irritating than chemical sunscreens.

Is chemical or mineral sunscreen harder to remove from the skin?

While both sunscreen types should be thoroughly cleansed from the skin, traditional mineral sunscreen is typically more difficult. This is because a percentage sits on the skin's surface to reflect UV rays. The durability is excellent for safeguarding your skin, but it doesn't rinse off easily.

Removing sunscreen from the face, body, and clothing isn't rocket science. If you choose the right products and techniques, you can effectively cleanse your skin and garments without causing irritation or damage. Whether you prefer cleansing oils, gentle cleansers, or exfoliating scrubs, there's a method that's perfect for you. Treat removing sunscreen residue on your face like you would your makeup, removing it every night before bed.

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