Help! My Sunscreen Stings My Eyes!

Now that summer is in full swing, we can enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities: beach volley, tennis, biking, water balloon fights.. They’re so much fun, until we start sweating and some of our sunscreen drips down into our eyes. And it burns. Ouch! And if you have sensitive skin, you’re even more prone to this stinging even if you don’t play any sports…

So, we opt for a sunscreen that’s labelled sweatproof or waterproof thinking they will stay put all day and won’t run as easily. Unfortunately, no sunscreen is really waterproof so they can still sting our eyes. But not wearing sunscreen is not an option either. Argh! What’s a girl to do?

Physical sunscreens don’t irritate eyes

Use physical sunscreens. You see, there are two types of sunscreens: physical sunscreens (those that contain Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide) which act like a shield on the skin, and reflect light away from it, and chemical sunscreens (those that contain all other sunscreen agents such as Avobenzone, Octocrylene and Oxybenzone), which absorb UV rays and transform it into a less damaging form of heat.

The sunscreen ingredients in chemical sunscreens, and Avobenzone in particular, although safe, can irritate and sting the eyes. Physical sunscreens instead adhere better to the skin, and, even if they should end up in your eyes, the chance of them stinging is much lower. A couple of good physical sunscreens you can try are Blue Lizard Suncream and SkinMedica Daily Physical Defense SPF 30.

Now you can enjoy your time in the sun without worrying about your sunscreen making you cry. Just remember to reapply it after you’ve had a good sweat!

Does your sunscreen irritate your eyes?

17 Comment

    • Trisha, I prefer physical sunscreens too. They’re less irritating and I think they offer better protection too.

    • Makeup Morsels, ouch, that must have been really painful! You’re welcome, I hope this tip will help you pick a sunscreen that won’t sting your eyes. :)

      And thank you. :oops:

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