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One of if not the most effective ways to protect your skin from the sun is by using sunscreen on your body. This helps to either absorb UV rays and make them less harmful or with appropriate materials to make sure that the UV rays are scattered before they even reach the skin! But when applying sunscreen on your body, especially your face, there are times when the sunscreen can get into your eyes.
So how to get sunscreen out of eyes? Unlike lotions and creams, sunscreen is made of special active ingredients that can irritate the eyes. These active ingredients are also what make it more difficult to properly get them out of the eyes without hurting the eyes. But don’t worry! There are simple and effective ways to get sunscreen out of your eyes without hurting them. For that, all you will need is a bit of warm water and a bit of guidance to make sure you get it out completely!
Sunscreen Being Eye Irritant
Many ingredients in sunscreen can cause it to be irritating to the eyes. The usual fragrance and preservatives such as parabens are available in most commercial products that can irritate the eyes. But the worst ones in sunscreen are the chemical UV filters such as avobenzone and octinoxate are the ones which cause a stinging sensation in your eyes!
If you think that only chemical sunscreen ingredients are the only ones that cause your eyes to sting, then you are completely wrong! Mineral sunscreen made from zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is considered to be safer for the eyes because of its gentle nature. However, they are much thicker when compared to chemical sunscreen making them block your eyes. When these get into your eyes, you can also expect them to make your eyes very watery and start stinging if they are left in the eyes for a long time.
This is why it is important to make sure that if you get sunscreen in your eyes, you are doing everything possible to get them out of your eyes!
Properly Washing Sunscreen Out of Eyes
When you get sunscreen in your eyes, you should not panic. Panicking will only make things worse! So instead, try to remain calm even when your eyes are stinging and follow these steps to best wash the sunscreen out of your eyes.
Step 1: Wiping excess sunscreen
When you get sunscreen on your eyes, it is most likely that you applied the sunscreen too close to the eyes and when blinking the sunscreen got into your eyes. So the first step you should be doing is to get a warm damp towel and wipe off any excess sunscreen from around the eyes. This is to make sure that no extra sunscreen is getting into your eyes while it is irritated.
Step 2: Rinsing eyes with warm water
After getting rid of the excess amount of sunscreen, the next step is to rinse out the sunscreen that is currently in your eyes. Make sure that if you have contact lenses on that you take them out and then rinse your eyes.
There are two ways of rinsing your eyes with warm water. The first way involves turning on the faucet and rinsing your eyes under a gentle flow. Make sure that the water is warm to effectively reach the sunscreen in your eyes. The other way is to constantly rinse the water on your eyes with your hand. Either way, what you are effectively doing is diluting the sunscreen in water and running it out of your eyes.
Remember to blink regularly in between each rinse so that you get the water to lubricate your eyes thoroughly. You should be doing this step for about 10 to 15 minutes or whenever the stinging sensation stops.
Step 3: Cold towel over your eyes
While you have gotten the sunscreen out of your eyes, the stinging sensation might have not totally subsided. This is why you should be resting your eyes in a dark or dimly lit area. Then press a cold towel over your eyes to soothe the irritation. Keep the towel over your eyes for about 20 to 30 minutes to completely soothe the eye from the pain and avoid causing a flare-up of irritation later on.
Step 4: Adding an eye drop
After a certain amount of time has passed, you can add a clear eye drop to help completely get rid of the irritation from your eye. But make sure that you have first washed your eyes completely off the sunscreen first before adding the sunscreen. The eye drop might have ingredients that can react with the sunscreen and cause even more irritation! The eye drops are only meant to soothe the eyes. So only use it if you feel discomfort around your eyes after you have thoroughly washed it all.
Extra tip: If you wear contact lenses, keep them off for a couple of days to make sure that your eyes are not irritated. Some of the sunscreens might have gotten on your contact lenses themselves so let it naturally go away when you store your lenses.
Preventing Sunscreen Irritation On Your Eyes: 8 Tips
When you are applying sunscreen around the eyes, there are some things that you can do to make sure that you are not getting the sunscreen directly on them. So here are some ways you can apply sunscreen around your eyes to prevent it from getting in your eyes.
- Stick sunscreen: Use a stick sunscreen around the eyes to safely put it on. These are made from mineral sunscreens like zinc oxide which are gentler for the eyes and skin.
- Spray sunscreen on hand: Avoid using the spray sunscreen directly on your eyes. Use it on your hands first and then apply it around the eyes. This way, you can protect your eyes.
- Rub in the sunscreen: When using mineral sunscreen, make sure you are completely rubbing it in your eyes. That way, the lotion part of the sunscreen gets absorbed and all that is left behind is the mineral that protects you against the sun’s UV rays.
- Fragrance-free sunscreen: It will be best if you can get a fragrance-free sunscreen. UV filters are not the only things that will irritate your eyes because fragrances in the ingredients list will be just as irritating.
- Keep away from children: If you have kids, make sure they are not applying sunscreen themselves. It is best if you apply it to them. So carefully rub it around their eyes and make sure it is completely absorbed into their skin.
- Wipe off your hands: After you have put on your sunscreen, make sure to wipe your hands off any sunscreen. This way, if you touch your eyes you don’t have any sunscreen on your hands that can irritate them.
- Other face protectors: If you want to completely avoid sunscreen, there are other options to protect from sun damage! Wear UV-blocking sunglasses to keep your eyes protected and wear a large brimmed hat to cover your face to keep the sun out.
- Water-resistant sunscreen: Even if you have safely put on your sunscreen, it is important to use a water-resistant sunscreen. That way, if you are sweating or swimming with sunscreen on, the sunscreen doesn’t transfer to your eyes and is safely stuck on your face instead!
It can take hours for the sunscreen to stop burning eyes. But if you rinse it out as soon as possible, the stinging sensation will stop way sooner.
Chemical sunscreen can cause a burning sensation in your eyes if left there for too long so make sure that you rinse it as soon as possible!
Follow the 3 finger rules, where you take sunscreen that covers up to three fingers. This is about 1 teaspoon worth of sunscreen needed for your face.
While not all sunscreen, there are specific lip balms that have an SPF rating that you can safely use on your lips!
The effectiveness of sunscreen drops every 90 minutes or so, which is why if you want to stay protected you should reapply sunscreen every two hours.
Sunscreen can be very bothersome for your eyes. That is why it is important when you are applying sunscreen around them you are doing it as carefully as possible! Using a mineral stick sunscreen is probably the best option as not only it is mostly safe for the eyes, you prevent the risk of rubbing it directly on the eyes themselves! If you do get sunscreen on your eyes, rinse with water and rest your eyes afterward to soothe your eyes from any infection. If your eyes are still irritated even after rinsing, contact an eye specialist to have your eyes checked to see if there are any lasting damages. Be safe from the sun and keep your sunscreen out of your eyes as well!
- Parabens and fragrances might be eye irritants but it is actually the UV filters like avobenzone that are the most irritant ingredients in sunscreen!
- When you get sunscreen on your eyes, it is important to wash it off first and rest your eyes afterward.
- With the help of the tips I have mentioned, you can prevent getting sunscreen on your eyes!
- In case your eyes are still irritated after rinsing, contact a doctor to make sure there are no damages to the eyes.