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Sunscreen Removal 101: Your Complete Guide to Removing it the Right Way

PJs on, sunscreen off: the ultimate bedtime flex! 

What Happens When You Don’t Wash Off Sunscreen?

Ever wondered what happens if you don’t wash off sunscreen? Today let’s explore some of the most common questions about removing sunscreen.

What Happens When You Don’t Wash Off Sunscreen?

Can Sunscreen Be Removed by Water?

Sunscreen protects you throughout the day. And undoubtedly, it’s the most important step in your AM routine.

But when your skin is ready to rejuvenate at nighttime, you should wash it off.

If you’re thinking, “Is it okay to leave sunscreen on overnight?” Here’s why it’s not and what happens when you leave sunscreen on your face.

  • Not washing off the sunscreen properly can clog the pores of your skin. This leads to acne, blackheads, and whiteheads.
  • It can increase sebum production, making your skin oily and hence triggering breakouts.
  • It can also cause product buildup and won’t let your skincare products work properly.

Can Sunscreen Be Removed by Water?

Can Sunscreen Be Removed by Water?

Whether your sunscreen is waterproof or not, no sunscreen can be completely removed by water. It can only do partial cleaning. 

A study says that about 54.0% of non-waterproof sunscreen stays on the skin after a water rinse. For waterproof ones, about 59.3% still remain after washing the face with water.

How to Wash Off Sunscreen From Your Face?

How to Wash Off Sunscreen From Your Face?

The double-cleansing method is one of the most effective ways to wash off sunscreen from your face.

This method even works to remove mineral and waterproof sunscreens, which are the toughest ones to remove.

A study reveals that sunscreens that are not waterproof leave behind 15.6% of the product on the skin even after cleansing with a regular cleanser. In comparison, around 36.8% of residue is found for water-resistant sunscreens on the skin post-cleansing. 

However, when using a cleansing oil, only 13.6% of non-waterproof sunscreen residue stays behind, while just 5.8% remains for waterproof sunscreens.

Now you know why double cleansing is important to remove your sunscreen properly.

And, here’s how you can do it:

1. Use a cleansing oil, cleansing balm, or micellar water first as instructed on the product’s label. This product will assist in melting away your sunscreen and makeup, thoroughly cleaning your skin.

2. Next, use a normal water-based cleanser. Always pick a mild one that suits your skin type. This will take off any remaining dirt, dust, and sweat on your skin.

Pro Tip: Make sure you’re massaging your cleanser nicely on your skin. It needs a minimum of 30-60 seconds to work.

How to Remove Sunscreen From Face Without Oil Cleanser?

How to Remove Sunscreen From Face Without Oil Cleanser?

A cleansing oil can be an effective way to thoroughly remove sunscreen, especially mineral sunscreens or water-resistant formulas that are the most challenging to get off.

However, it is not the only option available. If you prefer not to use an oil cleanser, you have some other methods:

1. Micellar Water

This is a quick and gentle way to take off sunscreen residue from any skin type. Simply soak a cotton ball with micellar water and wipe it over your face.  

2. Oil-Based Makeup Remover 

If you want to know how to remove mineral sunscreen without an oil-based cleanser, an oil-based makeup remover can break down and help gently remove the sunscreen in seconds.

3. Carrier Oils

You can also use oils like olive, jojoba, or coconut as a first step before cleansing to dissolve sunscreen. 

Take a small amount and massage it into your skin. Then use a clean, warm, damp towel to gently wipe off the oil and sunscreen residue. Only use this method if you know the oil works for your skin.

4. Toners

Toners alone are not very effective at removing water-resistant or mineral sunscreens. But they can help get rid of any leftover residue from other sunscreen types.

Can Coconut Oil Remove Sunscreen?

Can Coconut Oil Remove Sunscreen?

Yes! Coconut oil can be utilized to take off sunscreen. It works well at removing sunscreen and can also be used as a makeup remover. 

On top of that, it can give antibacterial and hydrating advantages to your skin. 

However, keep in mind that coconut oil is very comedogenic and may clog your pores, resulting in breakouts. As a result, if you have oily or acne-prone skin, it’s a big no for you.

Can I Use Micellar Water to Remove Sunscreen?

Can I Use Micellar Water to Remove Sunscreen?

Absolutely! You can use micellar water to wipe off your sunscreen, just like you do with makeup. It’s super quick and safe. It can help remove even the toughest, long-wear sunscreens. 

Here’s the secret: micellar water contains tiny particles called ‘micelles’. They act like a sponge, soaking up dirt, oil, and makeup, leaving your skin clean and ready for the next steps in your skincare routine. 

Garnier has different types of micellar waters for every skin type. If you are using water-resistant or mineral sunscreen, use micellar water for removing waterproof makeup and SPF.

Do I Need to Wash Off Sunscreen to Reapply?

Do I Need to Wash Off Sunscreen to Reapply?

No, you don’t need to wash off your sunscreen to reapply.

Reapplying sunscreen is very important, particularly when you are outside or after swimming or sweating a lot. So, it’s not really practical to wash off the sunscreen before you reapply.

Does Cleansing Milk Remove Sunscreen?

Does Cleansing Milk Remove Sunscreen?

Just like other cleansers, cleansing milk can only partly remove the sunscreen. So, don’t rely on them completely to get rid of sunscreen from your skin.

Firstly, use one of the methods I mentioned earlier to remove your sunscreen. Then, for the final cleansing step, you may use cleansing milk, especially if your skin is dry or sensitive.

How to Remove Water Resistant Sunscreen?

How to Remove Water Resistant Sunscreen?

Water-resistant sunscreens are tough to remove. A study says the following data for these sunscreens.

36.8% sunscreen residue still remains when you wash your face with a regular cleanser. However, using cleansing oil reduces the residue amount to only about 5.8%.

And, here are the best methods to remove these waterproof sunscreens properly:

  1. Double Cleansing Method: This is one of the most effective ways to remove even the toughest sunscreen.
  2. Micellar Water: Opt for ones specifically labeled for removing water-resistant makeup.

How to Remove Mineral Sunscreen From Your Face?

How to Remove Mineral Sunscreen From Your Face?

Mineral sunscreens sit on the top of your skin and create a physical barrier. This protects your skin from UV rays. So these sunscreens are very tough to remove as they cling to your skin.

But worry not! You can remove it using the same methods used to remove the water-resistant ones, which are also tough to remove.

Final Thoughts

Removing your sunscreen is really important for your skin before bedtime. Hope you got the answers to your burning questions.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me in the comment section below.

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