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How To Wash Off Sunscreen

Sunscreen is designed to stay on your skin so when it comes time to wash off sunscreen you may find it difficult to remove. Water-resistant and waterproof sunscreen are the hardest sunscreens to wash off the face and body. Mineral sunscreens are also hard to get off. 

Whether you are washing sunscreen off a baby, toddler, child, or adult- our advice is the same. Be gentle and try to use cleansers that contain oil or are foaming cleansers. 

Be cautious and gentle when you have eczema, rosacea, or sensitive skin.

Sunscreens, especially chemical sunscreens, are made with oil. This means they are oil soluble and are best removed with cleansing oils, soaps, creamy cleansers, or foaming face washes. 

Soap and foaming cleansers can dry the skin, so if you are removing sunscreen from a baby, toddler, or someone with delicate skin, use an oil, cleansing oil or creamy cleanser. Micelle water and gel cleansers do not do a good job of removing sunscreen unless you wash the face twice.

If you have sensitive skin or rosacea, use an oil or a cleansing oil to get sunscreen off.

If you do not have dry or sensitive skin, you can use a foaming cleanser to remove sunscreen such as one of these:


how to wash off sunscreen

Cleanser Designed to Remove Sunscreen

This cleanser was designed to remove sunscreen.  It was invented to remove the Pavise Dynamic Age Defense Diamondcore SPF- but it works well removing any type of sunscreen.  With this sunscreen remover, you do not need to double cleanse as I describe below.

2-step Method to Wash off Sunscreen

Cleansing oil can quickly remove mineral sunscreen, but can feel greasy afterward. This is why a 2 step cleansing method is the best way to remove SPF. 

You can choose to use foaming cleansers, oils, cleansing oils or micellar water, but we think 2 different cleansers is the best way to completely remove sunscreen so that it will not clog pores.

Use an oil or oil cleanser first and follow with a cleanser that is right for your Baumann Skin Type.

Baumann Skin Types

Cleansing oils are the best way to remove SPF

Cleansing oils have gained popularity as one of the most effective ways to wash off sunscreen, and for good reason. Sunscreens, by their very nature, are designed to adhere to the skin and provide lasting protection, often making them resistant to removal with just water. Chemically speaking, many of the active ingredients in sunscreens are oil-soluble, which means they dissolve more readily in oil than in water. This principle is rooted in the fundamental concept of "like dissolves like" in chemistry. Water, being a polar molecule, tends to repel non-polar substances like oils and certain sunscreen components. Conversely, oils can effectively dissolve other oils, breaking down the stubborn sunscreen residues that water-based cleansers might leave behind. Thus, cleansing oils effortlessly lift away these oil-soluble sunscreen particles, ensuring that the skin is thoroughly cleansed without the need for aggressive scrubbing or multiple washes. This not only ensures complete removal but also prevents damage to the skin's natural barrier.

The best cleansing oil to wash of sunscreen is PCA Skin Daily Cleansing Oil.

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oil to wash off sunscreen

Oil to Wash off Sunscreen

Your other option for the first wash to remove sunscreen is to apply an oil like baby oil, jojoba oil, or argan oil.

Putting oil on the skin helps surround the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and separate it from the skin. Apply the oil with a soft cloth or cotton pad and swirl it around gently to coat the skin’s surface. This will not remove all of the sunscreen but will help it lift away for the second face wash cycle.

Oils that we like to use to take off sunscreen are:

Your other option for the first wash to remove sunscreen is to apply an oil like baby oil, jojoba oil, or argan oil.

Putting oil on the skin helps surround the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and separate it from the skin. Apply the oil with a soft cloth or cotton pad and swirl it around gently to coat the skin’s surface. This will not remove all of the sunscreen but will help it lift away for the second face wash cycle.

Oils that we like to use to take off sunscreen are:

How To Remove Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen From Face?

Physical sunscreens are the same as mineral sunscreens. They contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They are the hardest to remove because they are sticky and are actually designed to cling to the skin. You will need to double cleanse the face. Follow the instructions above.

Wash the first time with a cleansing oil or oil and follow with the best cleanser for your Baumann Skin Type.

Wash Your Face Twice To Remove Sunscreen


The very best way to remove sunscreen is to wash your face 2 times with a different cleanser for each wash cycle.


First facial cleanse to remove sunscreen:

Wash the first time with a cleansing oil. This helps change the positive and negative forces that are holding the minerals to your skin’s surface.  You can also use any oil to wash your face (except not essential oils). The best oils to use to wash of sunscreen is Argan oil, jojoba oil, grape seed oil, and almond oil.

Second facial cleanse to remove sunscreen:

After using a cleansing oil or an oil to solubilize the sunscreen, use a cleanser that is right for your Baumann Skin Type. Learn more about how to know which cleanser is best for your skin type here. This cleanser will remove sunscreen and prep your skin for the rest of your skin care routine.


The Best Foaming Cleansers To Wash off Sunscreen

Foaming cleansers can also be used to remove sunscreen from the face. These work especially well to get chemicals sunscreens off and are best for oily skin types.

Choose a foaming cleanser that is right for your skin type.


Best Sunscreen Remover For Sensitive Skin or Rosacea-Prone Skin

This is our favorite gentle cleanser to remove sunscreen. Use it for babies, toddlers, or when you have eczema or sensitive skin.

Shea Terra Argan Oil & Acacia Honey Facial Wash is a safe organic way to wash sunscreen off babies.

Other good ways to remove sunscreen from delicate baby skin are:

best cleansers to wash off sunscreen

Best Cleanser To Remove Sunscreen in Normal Skin

The best and most effective sunscreen remover when you don’t have sensitive skin is a foaming cleanser. We like the Nolio Foaming Cleanser but there are several good options that you can find below. 

These same cleansers can be used to wash sunscreen off the face or body.


What Happens If You Don’t Wash Off Sunscreen?

Do you need to wash off sunscreen? Yes!! You will develop clogged pores and milia if you do not wash your sunscreen off at night before bed. 

Comedones (whiteheads and blackheads) form when sunscreen, dirt, makeup, and dead skin cells clog pores. Many sunscreens have silicones in them that must be washed off before you go to bed to prevent acne breakouts.

Level up your skin care knowledge with medical advice from dermatologists

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