How to Get Sunscreen Out of Eyes

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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Sunscreen in the eyes is a common summer nuisance that can cause discomfort or, worse, a chemical burn. Did you know that flushing your eyes with distilled water for 15-20 minutes can help to alleviate this issue? This post provides simple solutions on how to successfully remove sunscreen from your eyes and offers prevention tips to avoid future mishaps.

Dive in and uncover these eye-saving tips!

Key Takeaways

  • Flushing your eyes with clean, lukewarm water for 15 – 20 minutes is the best way to remove sunscreen from your eyes.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes if you get sunscreen in them as it can worsen the irritation. Instead, blink rapidly or use lubricating eye drops for relief.
  • To prevent sunscreen from getting in your eyes, be careful when applying it and avoid getting too close to the eye area. Choose physical sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and wear sunglasses for extra protection.
  • Seek medical help if you experience persistent irritation, severe pain, or notice any changes in your vision after getting sunscreen in your eyes.

What Causes Sunscreen to Get in Your Eyes?

Chemical sunscreens, when not properly absorbed or dried on the skin, can easily migrate into your eyes and cause irritation. Additionally, incorrect application techniques, such as accidentally rubbing sunscreen into your eyes or applying it too close to the eye area, can also lead to sunscreen getting in your eyes.

Chemical sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the sun’s harmful UV rays, often containing ingredients like avobenzone or oxybenzone. When applied near your eyes, these components might cause a stinging sensation if they come into contact with the eye surface.

The discomfort can feel like a burn, which may persist for a couple days due to the chemical reaction on the eye surface. Minimizing how much sunscreen gets in your eyes is crucial to avoid this displeasing experience.

If you inadvertently get sunscreen in your eyes, don’t panic and rub them; this could make the irritation worse. Instead, turn to methods such as flushing with clean water or using eye drops that are specially made to soothe irritated eyes.

Incorrect application

Applying sunscreen incorrectly can increase the risk of getting it in your eyes. One common mistake is not being careful when applying sunscreen around the eye area. If you apply too much or get too close to your eyes, it’s more likely that some of it will end up irritating your eyes.

Another error is not waiting for the sunscreen to fully dry before opening your eyes or putting on sunglasses. When the sunscreen is wet, it’s easier for it to seep into your eyes and cause irritation.

Remember to be mindful of how you apply sunscreen and take extra care around your delicate eye area to prevent discomfort and irritation.

How to Remove Sunscreen from Your Eyes

To remove sunscreen from your eyes, start by flushing them with water. This will help wash away any residue and provide immediate relief. Make sure to use clean, lukewarm water and gently splash it onto your closed eyes or use a sterile eyecup for more targeted rinsing.

Flush your eyes with water

Flush your eyes with water immediately if sunscreen gets in them. This helps to remove the irritants and soothe the discomfort. Position your eyes under a faucet and let clean, warm water flow over them for 15-20 minutes.

Tilt your head back and pour warm water over your eyes to flush out any remaining sunscreen. If running water is not easily accessible, you can use bottled water instead. Remember to avoid rubbing your eyes as it can worsen the irritation caused by the sunscreen.

Flushing your eyes with water helps to remove the sunscreen and provide relief from any burning or stinging sensation.

Use eye drops

To ease the discomfort caused by sunscreen in your eyes, using eye drops can provide quick relief. Look for lubricating eye drops that are specifically designed to soothe irritated eyes.

These drops can help rinse out any remaining sunscreen particles and provide a soothing effect on the surface of your eyes. Simply tilt your head back and gently squeeze a few drops into each eye, blinking several times to distribute the solution evenly.

This will help alleviate any burning or stinging sensations caused by the sunscreen. Remember to follow the instructions on the packaging and consult with an optometrist if you have any concerns about using eye drops for sunscreen irritation.

Avoid rubbing your eyes

Rubbing your eyes may be a natural instinct when they feel irritated, but it can actually worsen the discomfort caused by sunscreen in your eyes. When you rub your eyes, it can further irritate the sensitive tissues and potentially push the sunscreen deeper into your eye.

This can lead to increased burning and prolong the recovery time. Instead of rubbing, try blinking rapidly or using lubricating eye drops to help soothe the irritation. Remember, avoiding rubbing is crucial for minimizing any additional discomfort and helping your eyes recover faster after getting sunscreen in them.

Preventing Sunscreen from Getting in Your Eyes

To prevent sunscreen from getting in your eyes, be sure to apply it carefully, making sure to avoid the sensitive area around your eyes. Opt for physical sunscreens that contain zinc or titanium dioxide rather than chemical ones, as they are less likely to migrate into your eyes.

Additionally, wearing sunglasses can provide an extra layer of protection and help shield your eyes from any accidental contact with sunscreen.

Apply sunscreen carefully

When applying sunscreen, it’s important to be careful and precise. Take your time and apply a generous amount of sunscreen evenly to all exposed areas of your skin. Be especially cautious around the eye area and avoid getting sunscreen directly into your eyes.

Use gentle motions when applying near the eyes and consider using a stick or cream-based sunscreen for better control. By being mindful during application, you can minimize the risk of getting sunscreen in your eyes and prevent any potential discomfort or irritation.

Use physical sunscreens

Physical sunscreens are a great choice to prevent sunscreen from getting into your eyes. These types of sunscreens contain mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which sit on top of the skin and act as a physical barrier against the harmful UV rays.

Since they don’t penetrate the skin, there is less chance of them migrating into your eyes and causing irritation. Look for sunscreens labeled as “physical” or “mineral,” and apply them carefully around the eye area to minimize any potential contact with your eyes.

Wear sunglasses

Protect your eyes from sunscreen irritation by wearing sunglasses. Sunglasses not only shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, but they also help to prevent sunscreen from getting into your eyes in the first place.

Choose sunglasses that provide 100% UVA and UVB protection and wrap around your face for maximum coverage. By wearing sunglasses, you can enjoy the outdoors without worrying about irritating sunscreen residue causing discomfort or burning sensations in your eyes.

Safeguard your eye health and keep those pesky sunscreen-related eye irritations at bay with a stylish pair of shades!

Avoid applying sunscreen too close to the eyes

To protect your eyes from irritation, it’s important to avoid applying sunscreen too close to them. When you apply sunscreen near the eye area, there is a higher chance of it getting into your eyes and causing discomfort.

Instead, be careful and keep a safe distance when applying sunscreen around the eyes. This will help minimize the risk of irritation and ensure that your skin remains protected without any unnecessary discomfort or burning sensation in your eyes.

When to Seek Medical Help

If you experience persistent irritation or severe pain, or if you notice any changes in your vision after getting sunscreen in your eyes, it is important to seek medical help.

Persistent irritation

If you experience persistent irritation in your eyes after getting sunscreen in them, it’s important to seek medical help. Persistent irritation could be a sign of a more serious issue, such as a chemical burn on the surface of your eye.

Don’t ignore any ongoing discomfort or pain, especially if it lasts for more than a couple of days. Seeking medical attention will ensure that your eyes receive proper care and treatment to alleviate the irritation and prevent any further damage.

Severe pain or vision changes

If you experience severe pain or notice any changes in your vision after getting sunscreen in your eyes, it is important to seek medical help immediately. Sunscreen chemicals can cause a chemical burn on the surface of the eye, which can lead to intense discomfort and potentially affect your eyesight.

Prompt medical attention will help address any complications and ensure proper treatment for your eye health. Remember, always prioritize your well-being and consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns about sunscreen-related eye irritation.


To quickly and effectively remove sunscreen from your eyes, flushing them with clean water is key. Make sure to use distilled or warm water and flush for 15-20 minutes. Avoid rubbing your eyes and seek medical help if the irritation persists or becomes severe.

Remember, taking preventive measures can also go a long way in keeping sunscreen out of your eyes in the first place. Stay protected and keep your eyes comfortable!


1. What should I do if I get sunscreen in my eyes?

Immediately flush your eyes with water or a saline solution to rinse out the sunscreen. This helps prevent irritation and provides discomfort relief.

2. Can contact lenses be affected by sunscreen?

Sunscreen can stick to contact lenses, leading to eye discomfort. If you wear contacts, it’s recommended to remove them before washing the sunscreen out of your eyes.

3. How can I prevent getting sunscreen in my eyes?

When applying sunscreen, take extra caution around your eyes for protection against its potentially irritating effects. Make sure not to rub your face after application as this could inadvertently transfer the product into your eyes.

4. Does having sunscreen in my eyes pose any serious risks?

While unpleasant, most instances of getting sunscreen in the eye cause temporary burning and sensitivity but no lasting harm. However, prolonged exposure without proper rinsing may lead to more severe irritation.

5. Are there special products that can soothe my eyes after exposure to sunscreens?

Yes! Eye drops specifically designed for discomfort related from foreign substances like sunscreens are available; these often provide immediate relief from symptoms such as burning or itching.

How to Get Sunscreen Out of Eyes
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Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

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