You already know how important sunscreen is for your skin. But do you know it can trigger multiple skin issues if not rinsed off thoroughly before bedtime?
Yes, sunscreen can make your skin appear oily, and block pores resulting in acne, blackheads, whiteheads, etc. Hence it's vital to remove sunscreen from your skin before sleeping.
Let's dive in to know how to remove sunscreen from your skin correctly and ways to remove its stains from your clothes or furniture.
What Experts Say
“If you skip rinsing off sunscreen from your skin, it can lead to clogged pores and cause an increase in the production of sebum which can result in acne, blackheads and whiteheads.”
— Sonal Singh (PG, Cosmetic & Perfumery Technology), Product Development Executive at SkinKraft
How To Remove Sunscreen From Skin?
Coating your skin with sunscreen before going out in the sun is an essential step in your regular skincare routine. Rain or shine, sunscreen is meant to protect your skin from intense ultraviolet (UV) rays. Without it, your skin may experience a multitude of concerns, some of which include hyperpigmentation, skin discoloration, dry skin, rashes, and dark patches.
Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays can damage your skin’s collagen and connective tissue , which speeds up your skin's ageing process. Whereas ultraviolet B (UVB) rays can burn your skin cells, leading to hyperpigmentation or discoloration.
“If you skip rinsing off sunscreen from your skin, it can lead to clogged pores and cause an increase in the production of sebum which can result in acne, blackheads and whiteheads,” says Sonal Singh, Product Development Executive at SkinKraft.
All sunscreens are not the same. Each type contains different ingredients and formulations, and caters to specific skin types. While some are gel-based or cream-based, others are water-resistant. Few of the water-resistant variations are quite stubborn, like physical sunscreens or mineral sunscreens that are very difficult to remove. Chemical sunscreens are usually easy to wash off from your skin, waterproof but not water-resistant.
To effectively remove sunscreen from your skin, you may try the below-mentioned ways:
- Wash your face using a face wash.
- Use a cleansing oil to remove the sunscreen, if it’s oil-based. An oil-based cleanser will help you to deep cleanse your pores.
- If you’re using a water-based sunscreen, you can use micellar water or your regular makeup cleanser to remove your sunscreen.
Other Ways To Remove Sunscreen From Your Skin
For those who find it difficult to rinse off sunscreen from the skin, you can try the below-mentioned ways.
1. Remove sunscreen with micellar water
Micellar water is one of the most efficient cleansers that is gentle, quick, and effective in cleansing your skin. It contains primarily two ingredients: water and surfactants or emulsifiers. This formulation works as a light cleanser, helping eliminate sunscreen, pollutants, excess oil and grime from your skin. Besides cleansing, micellar water also helps to manage excess sebum, opens up your skin pores, and works as a toner and moisturizer.
How to use:
Take a few drops of micellar water on a cotton pad and wipe your face with it. It will remove all your sunscreen and dirt as well.
2. Remove sunscreen with water
In most cases, your sunscreen is either waterproof or water-resistant. So, it is not enough to wash your face with water to remove the sunscreen. It can only do partial cleaning. In fact washing your skin only with water or even hot water is inadequate to make your skin completely clean.
3. Remove sunscreen with olive oil or coconut oil
Most water-resistant sunscreens, especially the chemical ones, are oil-soluble. Hence, you can't wash them off with only water. Even the physical sunscreens are oil-based too which is why you cannot just wash them off. However, you can certainly pick any oil like regular coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil that suits your skin and go for an oil-cleansing method to remove sunscreen.
How to use:
Take a small amount of oil of your choice onto your palm and massage it all over your face. Leave it for 1 to 2 minutes to soak in. Take a clean towel, soak it in warm water and wring it out. Now hold the damp towel over your face for just 10 – 15 seconds and then gently wipe away the oil along with the sunscreen.
If you feel excess oil on your skin, you can use a regular face wash to remove the extra oil after that.
4. Remove sunscreen with zinc
According to a research study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology (JCAD), sun protection with mineral filters like zinc oxide is much helpful in reducing the risk of premature aging of the skin. For regular application, sunscreen with zinc oxide (ZnO)  is an excellent choice for all skin types, even for sensitive and acne-prone skin types.
Mineral sunscreens  like zinc oxide are comparatively difficult to remove. Though zinc oxide forms an excellent protective layer on your skin, it is not so easy to rinse them off with simple water or face cleanser.
How to use:
To remove sunscreen with zinc, you can use a double cleansing method. Apply an oil or balm cleanser to dissolve the sunscreen or any other dirt on your face. Damp your face and apply the oil-based cleanser, massage it in circular motions for at least 1 to 2 minutes and wipe it off with wet cotton. Then, use a traditional lathering, water-based cleanser or milk cleanser to give your skin a deep and thorough cleansing.
What Happens If You Don’t Remove Sunscreen?
There are several benefits of sunscreen. But it is also crucial to follow a proper cleansing routine to remove the sunscreen before bedtime. Sunscreen products are generally a little thicker to form a protective coating on your skin. Even some formulas are sticky as well, which makes your skin a bit oily and attracts different pollutants, debris, etc.
Does Sunscreen Cause Stains?
Sunscreen can leave stains on your skin, cloth, and even on other surfaces owing to the oily substances contained in it. Some of the cream-based sunscreens also leave yellow or orange stains on your cloth. This is because of avobenzone. Many sunscreen products contain avobenzone; as it combines with your sweat or water, it forms rusty brown stains. These stains can be stubborn.
How To Remove Sunscreen Stains From Clothes, Furniture?
To prevent sunscreen stains on your skin, you must follow a regular skin cleaning routine. When applying and reapplying sunscreen, you are basically trapping dirt, microbes, and different pollutants on your skin. This may cause stains and other skin issues. So, you must properly clean your skin every night with an effective cleansing product and use double cleansing when needed to keep your skin clean and fresh.
It is pretty common to have stains on clothes for sunscreen users. There are some easy steps to remove sunscreen stains from cloth. Those stains are usually oily and greasy. Hence first, you need to identify the stained areas on your cloth and use the following treatment before properly washing your clothes.
- Apply baking soda or cornstarch to the stain to absorb excess oil.
- Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes before brushing out the dust.
- Pre-treat the stain with a stain remover and gently scrub the stain with a soft brush.
- Wash the cloth with your regular laundry detergent.
To remove sunscreen stains from your swimsuits, soak it in cold water with a quarter cup of white vinegar in it for about 30 minutes. Then wash it with your regular detergent.
Also, to remove sunscreen stains from white clothing, you may use lemon juice. Spray raw lemon juice on the stained area, then hang your clothes in direct sunlight. This formula will act as a natural bleaching agent and remove the stain.
Depending on the outer coat of your furniture, you need to apply different cleansing formulas to remove the stain on it.
- For furniture covered with fabric, you can make a solution of dishwashing liquid (1 teaspoon), white vinegar (1 tablespoon) and warm water (1 cup). Add one teaspoon of baking soda to the solution. Now spray the solution on a clean piece of cloth and gently dab and wipe on stains on the fabric. Let the material dry and have clean furniture.
- If you have leather-covered furniture, make a cleaning solution using equal parts water and white vinegar. Now, dip a clean cloth into the solution and wipe the leather with it. Clean the leather furniture with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.
Sunscreen is a must-have skincare product in your daily skincare regime. However, you must know that it has to be rinsed off from your skin before you go to sleep which otherwise might give rise to multiple skin concerns. In this article, we have tried to provide you with some of the best yet easy ways to rinse it off from your skin and keep your skin healthy, clean, nourished at the same time. Make sure to choose the right one depending on your skin type.
1. Effects of sunscreen on skin cancer and photoaging, First published: 14 January 2014,
2. The science behind skin care: Cleansers, First published: 12 December 2017,
3. Sunscreening Agents, Published on 2013 Jan,
4. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens: focus on their safety and effectiveness. Published online 2011 13 October,
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