Are You Washing Off Your Sunscreen the Right Way?

little boy applying sunscreen

If you know what’s good for you, you slather on sunscreen every time you even think about stepping outside. But at the end of the day, your focus should be on taking it all off. Unfortunately, simply washing with soap and water isn’t going to cut it.

Especially after a day at the beach, when you’re applying sunscreen four or five times throughout the day and probably sweating a bit, too, you’ll need to use more than just your finger tips to get squeaky clean. All the sweat and dirt on your skin from the day gets trapped under sunscreen, increasing your risk for a breakout.

Chemical sunscreens are a little easier to get off, since they’re absorbed and broken down over time. But the thick, adhesive ingredients in physical sunscreen—namely zinc and titanium dioxide—sit stubbornly on the skin’s surface, making them tough to break down and wash off.

So what’s a girl to do? Your best bet is to use an oil-based cleanser.

In case you haven’t been schooled yet on the beauty of cleansing oils, they work by grabbing onto whatever oil is on your skin already (natural ones or from the products you’ve applied) forming a strong bond, so that when you rinse the cleanser off, it carries away all the gunky stuff too.

To remove your sunscreen, massage an oil-based cleanser into your skin for one to two minutes. Then, gently remove the cleanser with a washcloth soaked in warm water. For your body, try a body scrub or use a loofa in the shower for a little extra help lifting off stubborn particles.

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