How to Get Sunscreen Out of Eyes

It's essential to wear sunscreen every day of the year, regardless of whether it's summer or the cold, not-so-sunny winter months, and whether you're planning on spending time at the beach, on the lake, or even at the park. 

But watch out for the agonizing sting when sunscreen seeps into your eyes. Even though sunscreen doesn't permanently damage the eyes, it can cause chemical burns on the eye's surface that can cause discomfort for a few days.

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How Do I Get Sunscreen Out of My Eyes?


Gentle Eye Cleaning

Before you dive into your day at the beach or a sunny hike, make sure to clear away any excess sunscreen from around your eyes. This simple step can prevent a lot of discomfort later. When tidying up, be gentle and careful not to rub the sunscreen into your eyes, which could lead to irritation.

Soothing Rinse Techniques

If sunscreen does sneak into your eyes, don’t worry — there's a straightforward fix. Rinsing your eyes with clean water can help wash away the sting. There are a few ways to do this safely: use a clean syringe to gently squirt water into your eye, cup water in your hands and lower your eye into it, or let lukewarm water from a faucet flow over your open eye. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but this sensation should ease as the sunscreen is flushed out.

Comfort with Cold Compress

After flushing out your eyes, a cold compress can be your best friend. It helps to calm the inflammation and provide relief. To protect your eyes even further, keep them hydrated with artificial tears that are free from preservatives — this helps to ensure no additional irritants bother your eyes while they recover.

Monitoring Recovery

Your eyes are resilient, and the irritation usually eases within a couple of days. However, if the irritation persists or if your symptoms don't improve, it’s wise to get in touch with your eye care professional. An in-depth eye exam will help ensure that your eyes remain healthy and clear of any issues.

Remember, your vision is invaluable, and taking these careful steps can ensure that your eyes are protected, even when sunscreen tries to get in the way. If you ever have any concerns about eye discomfort or eye health, our clinic is here to provide you with comprehensive eye care tailored to your needs.

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How should I apply sunscreen so that it doesn't get in my eyes?

When applying sunscreen, precision is key to keep it away from your delicate eye area. Take a small amount of sunscreen lotion and dot it on your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. Blend it in with care, steering clear of the eye region. It's like painting a masterpiece — you want to cover every necessary inch without overstepping the boundaries.

Choosing the Right Formula

Mineral-based sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide tend to stay put once applied, reducing the risk of them migrating into your eyes and causing irritation. These minerals act as a shield, reflecting sunlight away from the skin, and they start working the moment you put them on — perfect for those sunny days when you're in a hurry.

Avoiding Aerosols on the Face

While spray-on sunscreens are convenient for hard-to-reach areas, they can be a menace to your eyes. The tiny particles are difficult to control and can easily be blown into your face by the wind. Stick to lotion forms for your face to ensure you have full control over where the product goes.

Guidance for Children

Kids are often in a rush to get out and play, but make sure to take the time to apply their sunscreen for them. Children may not understand the importance of avoiding the eye area and can inadvertently transfer sunscreen to their eyes with unwashed hands. Keep sunblock containers out of their reach to avoid any accidents.

Remember, your eyes count on you for protection from the sun just as much as your skin does. Take the time to apply sunscreen correctly, and your eyes will thank you for it. If you're ever unsure about how to protect your eyes or manage sunscreen application, we're here to help.

My Sunscreen Burns my Eyes When I Sweat. Which Sunscreen Should I Use?

My Sunscreen Burns my Eyes When I Sweat. Which Sunscreen Should I Use?

It's no secret that a good sweat can turn a day at the beach or a jog in the park into an eye-stinging halt. If you've ever felt that all-too-familiar burn in your eyes as sunscreen mixes with sweat, it's time to explore the world of eye-friendly sun protection.

Chemical vs. Physical: What's the Difference?

Chemical sunscreens soak into your skin, absorbing UV rays and converting them into heat, which is then released from your body. While they're effective, they can be the culprits behind that eye sting. On the flip side, physical (also known as mineral) sunscreens sit on top of your skin. They act like tiny mirrors, reflecting the sun's rays away from your skin. Because they don't absorb into the skin in the same way, they're much less likely to cause any irritation if they mingle with your sweat and approach your eyes.

Choosing Physical Sunscreens

When shopping for sunscreen, keep an eye out for those that boast zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as their active ingredients. These mineral sunscreens are gentler on the eyes and are less likely to cause any discomfort if you start to perspire. Plus, they offer robust protection from both UVA and UVB rays, which is essential for shielding your skin from sunburn and long-term damage.

Tips for Use

Apply your mineral sunscreen at least 15 minutes before heading outdoors to give it time to settle. And remember, no sunscreen is a one-time shield for the whole day, especially if you're swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Reapply at least every two hours, and immediately after a dip or sweat session, to keep your protection layer strong.

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Why wear sunscreen?

Why wear sunscreen?

Besides protecting yourself from sunburn (if your skin type burns), following are other reasons why you need to wear sunscreen:

  • The use of sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer.
  • Wearing sunscreen reduces premature aging.
  • Using sunscreen reduces the risk of hyperpigmentation.
  • Sunscreen helps prevent skin inflammation.
  • Sunscreen helps to prevent sun sensitivity.
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Common Questions

If sunscreen gets into the eyes, the discomfort can vary depending on the amount and type of sunscreen. Typically, the burning or stinging sensation may last several hours. It's essential to rinse the eyes thoroughly with clean, cool water to help remove the sunscreen. If the discomfort continues or if vision becomes affected, it's imperative to see an optometrist. While sunscreen in the eyes is usually not an acute eye emergency, it's always wise to consult a professional if symptoms persist.
It's crucial to protect the delicate skin around the eyes from UV rays. When choosing SPF for this area, opt for sunscreens formulated explicitly for the face or those labeled as "ophthalmologist-tested" to ensure they're less likely to irritate the eyes. Apply carefully, avoiding direct contact with the eyes. Wearing UV-protective sunglasses is also a good practice. If unsure about which product is best, consulting an eye doctor for recommendations can be beneficial.
Sunscreen can make eyes water if the product migrates into the eyes, often because of sweating or touching the face. Some sunscreen formulations contain chemicals that can be irritating to the eyes, leading to tearing. If one is prone to this, using a water-resistant, sweat-proof sunscreen and being cautious during application can help. For those particularly sensitive, it might be worth exploring sunscreens made for sensitive skin or children, as they tend to be gentler. If watering persists or is accompanied by pain or vision changes, it's essential to see an eye doctor to ensure there's no underlying eye emergency.
How to Get Sunscreen Out of Eyes
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Schedule a Medical Eye Exam Immediately

If you have tried all the methods listed above to alleviate the pain in your eyes and flush out the sunscreen, but you are still experiencing pain or burn in your eyes, then you may want to schedule an appointment for a medical eye exam. To schedule a medical eye exam, you can reach out to your nearest Amplify EyeCare practice either via a call or in-person visit.

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