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May 22, 2015 5:39 PM   Subscribe

I effing haaaaaate sunscreen. I'm 48 yrs old and have now finally finally maybe maybe found something I can tolerate. Everything I've ever ever tried till now just makes me gross puddles of sweat. I cannot exaggerate the discomfort and unsightliness. Nothing to do with temperature. Nivea, Neutrogena, Bullfrog, Banana Boat; fancy stuff, Dermologica, Paula's Choice; lotions, creams, gels, sprays, it has always been gross gross gross.

My husband came home from his German (we're in Germany) dermatologist with sunscreen samples, which I grudgingly tried. Applied cream (not a hot day), sat around cooly and calmly for at least 20 minutes before venturing out into the world. It was not the worst!!! I've done this a few times, and I'm hopeful. "Daylong extreme spf 50+"
My question is, how do I get it off? My skin hates me. I'm trying to be all about coconut oil, rubbed that all over before washing with my awesome super sensitive cleanser..... but all this rubbing, red and owww, still breakouts. No way can I do this daily to my skin. FML, I honestly feel I'm better off with the sun damage. Convince me otherwise.
posted by dmvs to Health & Fitness (34 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Did part of this question get erased or am I having trouble parsing it or what?

Unclear if the question is how do I get it off (soap? but I'm unclear why you're having trouble getting it off) or whether a breakout(?) is worse than skin damage from cancer. I would say no, skin cancer can kill you. A breakout will not kill you.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:42 PM on May 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

If it doesn't wash off with a gentle soap, it probably has some pretty creepy chemicals in it, and I wouldn't risk using it.

I like to use a lightweight moisturizer with sunscreen for everyday wear, just to keep the weird sun spots from growing more pronounced on my over 40 face. I wear a hat if I have to be out in the sun for long and I limit even my beach time to less than 2 hours and never in the middle of the day. So, no, you don't have to use sunscreen to prevent cancer, you just have to be sensible with your exposure. Also, if you are using sunscreen to allow yourself to not be sensible with exposure then you are doing more harm than good. And if it doesn't wash off, it isn't something that should be put on.
posted by myselfasme at 5:47 PM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Are you asking whether you need to wear sunscreen? If so, I don't think you do. You could cover up instead. How would you feel about wearing long sleeves and a hat?

I have a family history of melanoma, so I suck it up and wear sunscreen. I buy the super expensive stuff: Philosophy Miracle Worker sun screen. It's like $35 for a little tube, but I don't have to pay for it because of the dumb way my health insurance works. I don't know if it's actually any better than any other sunscreen, but I feel very indulgent wearing stupid expensive sunscreen. It's kind of greasy going on, but if I rub it in and then go eat breakfast, it feels ok by the time I'm done. I put a little powder over it or I look shiny.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:50 PM on May 22, 2015

This doesn't directly answer the question, but it might help. I've found that SPF 30 and lower are far less residue and is less noticeable. If you're using 40 and higher, give 35 or 30 a try.
posted by zippy at 5:51 PM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Hmm. Re-reading your question, I still don't think I understand it. Are you asking how to take your sunscreen off? If so, I think you're overdoing it. Just wash your face normally with some sort of gentle cleanser. You don't need to use coconut oil or rub your face raw or anything.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:56 PM on May 22, 2015 [5 favorites]

To add on to what zippy says, going above SPF 30 isn't really necessary in most cases. That's a common misconception. And no sunscreen lasts all day. If you're going to be out in the sun, you should re-apply it (see the link for details) every 2 hours or more frequently if you're swimming or sweating.

I got lost too at the point at which you say you can't get the sunscreen off. What about taking a shower? What was the deal with the coconut oil? Why did your skin turn red? From what I know of coconut oil it's used as a skin moisturizer, but I'm not sure how that relates to the sunscreen part of the question, or whether your skin was red because you got sunburned or because you were rubbing it so hard or...?

I can definitely say to your final point though that if you are the type of person who goes out in the sun, you're definitely not better off with sun damage than just feeling a little uncomfortable with some cream on your skin. Check out the "Dear 16 year old me" video if you need more convincing.

If you can't stand using sunscreen, wearing broad brimmed hats, lightweight fabric cover-ups (long sleeves and long pants) and rash guards is probably your best bet.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:00 PM on May 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

I have recently seen a mineral powder sunscreen but I cannot recall the name or even where I saw it. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 6:00 PM on May 22, 2015

Buy a hat. Or try BB Creams with SPF instead of sunblock. They absorb into the skin so much easier than sunscreen and just feel like a facial moisturiser. If you get a mineral based one you don't have to reapply if you aren't doing anything involving sweating.

I am not sure what you are doing to remove the sunscreen, but it's sounds like overkill if it is leaving your face raw, just a normal facial cleanser and a soft cloth to pat dry. I'd avoid an oil based one as you are trying to remove an oily product & go a nice gentle foaming cleanser of some sort. If you can't get sunblock off the problem is more likely to be the cleanser than the sunscreen.
posted by wwax at 6:10 PM on May 22, 2015

Honestly, don't remove the sunscreen. If you put it on it the morning it kinda just wears away. However you normally clean your face at night should be fine.
posted by saradarlin at 6:23 PM on May 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

You have a couple of options here: one, keep trying sunscreens until you find one that works. I like Josie Maran Daily Moisturizer with an SPF of 47 in the winter, and an oil-free moisturizer with sunscreen in summer (like the Philosophy one mentioned above). I don't know if those brands are available in Germany, though. LaRoche-Posay makes some really good lightweight moisturizers with sunscreen in them that I am pretty sure are available in Europe.

Another option is to find a mineral-based powder sunscreen, like this one from Peter Thomas Roth. The powder base might be better for you, especially if you are prone to oily skin.

Like others, I am not understanding what the problem is with taking off the sunscreen. I wear sunscreen daily on my face and it comes off with a regular cleansing cloth or regular facial cleanser, no intense scrubbing or coconut oil required. Can you post the name of the specific sunscreen you are using? Maybe it is meant for body use instead of facial use.

Lastly, I would not recommend going without sunscreen if you are going to be outside without other sun protection like a hat, clothing, or umbrella. As a melanoma survivor, I urge you to continue to look for a solution that does not involve voluntarily exposing yourself to additional sun damage.
posted by bedhead at 6:23 PM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Do you see a dermatologist? They could advise you on sunscreen recommendations, how to wash it off without irritating your skin, and general "my skin hates me" concerns. Your experience with sunscreen doesn't sound typical, and you'll get the most success getting help from a specialist.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:33 PM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure I entirely understand the question, but if you're asking about non-greasy facial sunscreens, I highly recommend the Josie Maran one (not sure if it's available in Germany). I have made an extensive survey of facial sunscreens, and it is one of my few successes. It's been reformulated in the past year (?) and I haven't tried the new one yet (I stocked up on the old one before it vanished), but I'm hoping it's just as good as the old one. It feels like a really nice moisturizer, not greasy like a sunscreen.
posted by ClaireBear at 6:44 PM on May 22, 2015

Also, at least in my experience, "extreme" or "waterproof" sunscreens are often difficult to wash off. Similarly, I have also found high SPF sunscreens more difficult to wash off, and greasy in feel as well. I have more luck with a more normal sunscreen, reapplied throughout the day. For casual everyday use, a facial lotion that includes SPF (even if it's a lower one) should be fine - better than going with nothing because you can't stand heavy-duty sunscreens! You can always reapply if you have concerns about its efficacy throughout the day. Also, coconut oil can cause facial breakouts/acne, so if you're acne-prone, I'd think about going easy on the coconut oil, especially if you mention that you're having breakouts (as you do in your question). I also have acne-prone skin, and while I've had luck with jojoba oil and argan oil for winter moisturizing, I don't use them to remove sunscreen: I rely on my cleanser for that.

There are lots of sunscreen reviews on places like MakeupAlley. I would recommend doing a bit of online research to see which brands people specifically recommend as non-greasy, prioritizing maybe lower SPF formulations that double as daily moisturizers. Might also want to do a bit of reading of physical versus chemical sunscreens: physical tend to go on thicker and whiter, but I find the chemical ones irritate my sensitive skin and feel greasier specifically. You might be using one when your face would prefer the other. After you compile a shortlist of possible candidates, you could go about trying them to see if any work for you. This is basically what I did, and while I have sensitive acne-prone skin and I'm super picky in general with cosmetics, I came up with a few that I'm happy with (Josie Maran was the winner, but there were a few others that would have satisfied me too). I bet that you'd find the same. As I'm sure you know, going without sunscreen really isn't a good option, for both health reasons and aesthetic reasons. If you really can't tolerate it, you should be religious about covering up with materials that have a high SPF/UPF. There are several companies that make hats and clothing that guarantee an SPF/UPF and are reasonably cute.
posted by ClaireBear at 7:01 PM on May 22, 2015 [5 favorites]

I hate suncreen, too, but I love this powder version: http://amzn.to/1F74VBn There are different shades, so you should probably check out the Eminence Organics website to see if there's some place local that has the different colors. It doesn't provide drastic coverage, so I doubt it would have your skin looking too unnatural, but it'd be nice to get the one that is best for you. It is pricey but a stick lasts FOREVER, & it feels nothing like suncreen. If it helps, I have very, very fair, easy to burn skin, & that Honey Apple color is perfect for me year-round. It does give me a bit of a natural glow, plus it's sweat & water-resistant.
posted by katemcd at 7:03 PM on May 22, 2015

If break outs are specifically the issue, I know there are sunscreens out there specifically formulated to be non-comedogenic (fancy term for "doesn't cause acne").

As for removing it, your usual facial cleansing routine should be enough. If for some reason it's not you could try a make-up remover or something like Sea Breeze, but that might not be great if you have sensitive skin.
posted by Kimmalah at 7:17 PM on May 22, 2015

Full disclosure: this if my FIL's company. That being said I don't usually endorse products (theirs or others') I don't actually use.

For face sunscreen I really like this. It's SPF20, so depending on the duration of the day you'd need to reapply, but it's so light on the skin. I, like you hate heavy creams on my face, but this one doesn't make me feel all yucky.

For body I use this one. This one is SPF50, so it's obv. heavier, but still not crazy and it rubs in pretty well.

They're obv. more expensive then then CVS stuff, but maybe worth it. Especially the SPF20, it really is quite good (plus it doubles as a moisturizer).

Oh and if the question is actually about getting the stuff of your face (it's a bit unclear), they also have this make up remover that my wife swears by. If it works to remove heavy make up, it may help here (bonus, it's cheaper then then SPFs.)
posted by pyro979 at 7:21 PM on May 22, 2015

I don't like sunscreens, so I wear a long-sleeve shirt. Natural fibers let your skin breathe, even in the hot sun. I just use everyday shirts, but they do even make these with SPF built in. And wear a hat.
posted by aniola at 7:55 PM on May 22, 2015

I hate sunscreen too, so I generally go with the full body blockade options mentioned above: hat, huge UV-ray dark glasses, full-coverage clothing. When I lived in the Southwest I was super-hardcore and carried an umbrella while wearing white gloves when I walked outside, like a proper Southern belle. When I wear sunscreen it's the Neutrogena facial moisturizer with SPF 15 or 20, rather than a real sunscreen, due to similar issues to yours. I just don't go out during peak sun hours, either.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 8:04 PM on May 22, 2015

Definitely what ClaireBear says: Those extreme ones are very, very hard to remove from your skin.

According to the American Melanoma Foundation, an SPF of 34 is 97% effective, and nothing is 100% effective. So anything higher than 34 has marginal results, anyway.

I just do a combination of mid-SPF tinted foundation (there are several good ones out there), protective clothing (I love a good wide-brimmed sunhat!), and staying out of the sun during mid-day. I'm pale and have a family history of ginger, so I try to be extra careful.
posted by mochapickle at 8:05 PM on May 22, 2015

I hated sunscreen too until I found these two game changers:

1. Japanese sunscreen. Get it from Amazon. Biore Watery Essence, Hada Labo UV creamy Gel, Skin Aqua moisture milk, Sunbears Super Strong..., in my experience the brand doesn't matter -- I've never tried a Japanese sunscreen that has not sunk in and disappeared within minutes, and none of them have ever irritated my very very sensitive skin. All of these are SPF 50.

2. Albolene to remove them. Find it on the bottom shelf of your local Walgreens or CVS. Smear it on, massage it in, wipe it off with a damp washcloth, you're done.

Until I figured this out, my skin was constantly either irritated, greasy, or pimply. Now I've been wearing sunscreen daily for two+ years, removing it at night with minimum hassle, and haven't had a breakout since.
posted by artemisia at 8:48 PM on May 22, 2015 [12 favorites]

3rd ClaireBear - do your research (makeupalley is a great resource), and try out sunscreens that people with your skin type have given solid reviews.

I also can't stand the feel of most chemical sunscreens. I've done the rounds, with often disastrous results (e.g. three-month dermatological intervention required, including multiple cortisone injections - bad, bad, bad stuff). Hence, I am pleased to offer my (approx) 900th recommendation for La Roche Posay's Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 60 with Mexoryl. It is beautiful under makeup, it's not greasy, it doesn't sting, it feels light on, it actually does its job (no tanning, no hyperpigmentation), and it doesn't break out or irritate my sensitive, acne-prone, rosacean skin (this is the point on which 99% of sunscreens have failed me). It might not be the one for you, you can only try things and see what works.

With that said, I still actually have to take it off to prevent surface clogging (as I must also do with makeup). I use either olive or jojoba oil to do that, and follow up with a foaming cleanser. The rationale is that sunscreen is (usually) lipophilic, so a light oil that can itself then be easily removed by a facewash will help break it down, leaving your cleanser with less work to do. Not sure why coconut oil isn't working for you (as there's no way I'd put something that heavy on my face), but 2nd trying an oil. (I agree with ClaireBear, I bet your "Daylong extreme spf 50+" is waterproof and so extra stubborn.) Olive oil should do it if you have some around.

If you're breaking out, definitely don't sleep with sunscreen on. Your skin needs time to breathe.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:51 PM on May 22, 2015 [5 favorites]

Reading the previous advice, tans do not protect your skin against UV damage, including precancerous changes. Use sunscreen or cover up.
posted by gingerest at 11:46 PM on May 22, 2015 [17 favorites]

Without a clear understanding of what your question is and what about sunscreen is so disgusting to you, here is my best advice.

Is "being all about" coconut oil using it as cleanser, using it as tanning lotion, or something else? In any case, coconut oil is almost guaranteed to make you break out.

If you use moisturizer, wait 10 minutes before you apply anything else, but especially sunscreen.

I would recommend Ocean Potion

which you should blend in with a DRY - not damp - cosmetic sponge like this one.

Then wash the sponge in soap and water and leave it to air dry.

I don't really understand why you're going to extreme lengths to remove something that should just wash off. In the evening, fill a basin with lukewarm water. Splash your face with water and then smear on some Cetaphil.

Rinse for 20 splashes, then pat, don't rub, with your towel.

Drain and refill your basin, and repeat.

Drain and refill your basin, and just rinse your face with another 20 spashes. I guarantee you a perfectly clean face after you do this.

Tanning is not a way to avoid sun damage, because tanning is sun damage.

Clothing will help, but the SPF of a lot of clothing is very low. If you can see your hand through the fabric when you hold it up to the light, it won't protect you much.

On the other hand, denim won't let any ultra-violet through. So if you wear full-length denim jeans and a denim shirt buttoned right up to your neck all spring and summer, and never roll up the sleeves, that leaves just your head, your neck, your hands and your feet exposed to the sun. Add a sun hat (2-inch brim or more, and not one of those that's full of holes) and you only have to worry about any areas of your face that sunlight can either shine on or be reflected on - so your forehead should be OK. You will look like The Invisible Man, but no sunlight will get on any area of your body that is covered with clothing.

Or of course a salwar kameez is a much more efficient way to cover up in hot weather, with the caveat that they're made for people with much darker skin than J. Random Northern European, so you have to make sure the fabric is opaque enough.
posted by tel3path at 12:52 AM on May 23, 2015 [3 favorites]

Are you talking about break outs on your face? Because it could be the coconut oil, not the sunscreen, causing that. Coconut oil is comedogenic, so it is not recommended for use on the face.

You don't need to scrub your skin until it is red to remove sunscreen. Irritating the hell out of your skin doesn't help reduce break outs. I would think that it could even cause them.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 2:21 AM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

If the question here is actually:

I honestly feel I'm better off with the sun damage. Convince me otherwise.

How big an issue is visible aging to you? Are you down with wrinkling, browner-than-the-rest-of-you spots, etc?

Do some Google image searches for skin cancer -- a lot of scary third-world horrors will come up, but so will a lot of less-than-pleasant treatment/appearance hassles.

Ask how much you are willing to go through to deal with said sun damage. I now have to get strange little spots frozen off with liquid nitrogen. Usually this doesn't leave much damage behind. It is pretty painless to be frozen, quite painful when it thaws out, and a couple of weeks of a gross scab. And then that's it, until the next strange spot shows up.

Do a Google image search for the word "Efudex." Efudex is a cream that, well, scabs you up quite frighteningly in the process of scabbing off one's cancer-y bits.

In some ways it is a "should I avoid maintenance now in exchange for maintenance in the future?" question. Creams you dislike the feel of on the regular, now, or, creams that will blister your face, in the future? Neither's ideal, I know...
posted by kmennie at 6:29 AM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

(I would not be using coconut oil on your face if you are having breakouts. Have you tried a bit of Argan oil?)

Your routine to remove sunscreen should simply be to use a gentle soap (like Dove or Cetaphil) and a wash cloth. Get a good lather going on the cloth and then use the wash cloth to soap your face and then rinse the cloth with water well and use that to remove the soap from your face. Pat your face dry gently with a towel. If your face feels dry after that process then you can apply a bit of some moisturizer like Argan oil. You should not need to put oil on your face over the sunscreen first prior to washing with soap, and you should not need to scrub your face so hard that it gets red and sore in order to remove the sunscreen.

Note that if your face is starting to get red and sore after you apply the sunscreen and prior to any washing of it off then you should change sunscreens, because some chemical in the sunscreen is not agreeing with your skin (I know this feeling well, as I am sensitive to most sunscreens).

I like to use Elta sunscreen on my face, and it is available on amazon.de. In the summer, I usually moisturize with a bit of Argan oil, then a bit later prior to going out, apply this sunscreen. I wash it off (when I know I will not be going out in the sun again) with a wash cloth and gentle soap.

Being a very fair person (and both my parents were also fair and had issues from sun - basal cell carcinoma - in their later years) I not only use sunscreen but also wear a nice floppy hat. Keep in mind also that UV, in addition to cancer, also is known to contribute to getting wrinkles. That is another reason for you to protect your skin from sun.
posted by gudrun at 7:40 AM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Have you tried using PABA-free sunscreens? As an allergy to PABA is fairly common. If that's the problem you have, you could try using a lighter PABA-free sunscreen. Wash off with something like Cetaphil.
posted by hazyjane at 9:25 AM on May 23, 2015

I've just done a bunch of research to try to find the best sunscreens. I hate them too. La Roche Posay isn't too gunky. Another brand I don't mind too much is Elta MD. And my newest find that I'm psyched about is this stuff. It's expensive, but I've read that one container lasts a long time. It's great for bringing with you and adding sunscreen throughout the day. It contains physical as opposed to chemical sunscreens, and I really can't detect it all. Some of the other powders may be cheaper, but I'm really happy with this.
posted by swheatie at 5:47 PM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Isn't this what cold cream is for?
posted by Toddles at 10:43 PM on May 23, 2015

Seconding Elta MD. As good of a sunscreen as you'll get for sensitive skin without going 100% mineral.
posted by the jam at 11:04 PM on May 23, 2015

I see a couple of people have recommended Biore Watery Essence. Now, reaction to skincare products is idiosyncratic, but OP, if breakouts are your problem, you may not like that product. I have had acne all my life and can personally attest that that particular product made me break out so much I stopped using it.

Ocean Potion, however, doesn't break me out at all. If anything it seems to improve my breakouts, which makes sense because zinc oxide heals acne.
posted by tel3path at 3:31 AM on May 24, 2015

Just to drive home the point that a base tan does not protect your skin from skin damage, here's an article about two studies that tested this theory. In addition to the fact that a tan is skin damage, as noted above, once you've done that damage, it only protects you from further damage with an SPF factor of 1.5-3.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:37 PM on May 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just wanted to add another voice to the chorus of people mentioning using oil to remove the sunscreen - but not coconut oil! Some people can tolerate coconut oil on their face, but it breaks a lot of people out. You'd be better off using mineral oil (baby oil, the one without vitamin E, will work) or another oil which is less comedogenic for most people. Here is a link to a little primer on oil cleansing that might give you an idea of what kind of oil to choose.

It sounds like the rubbing is irritating for your face - it shouldn't be, just rub gently with the tips of your fingers around your whole face and it should be enough to loosen up all the sunscreen.

Another poster mentioned Albolene, which is great for removing sunscreen (it's like oil cleansing with a solid oil instead of a liquid), but it needs to be put on dry and wiped off with wet cloth. It can be easy to irritate your face by using a cloth that isn't soft enough (microfiber cloths work) or by rubbing too hard, so this might not be as good of an option for you as a plain oil.

There's one other option I haven't seen mentioned here - oil cleansers with emollients in them. I haven't used one, but I see them talked about a lot and it sounds like it's a great way to get the oil to remove sunscreen but then it rinses more cleanly than a plain oil. There are a lot of Japanese oil cleanser options - Kose Softymo and DHC Cleansing oil are two that you might be able to find on Amazon. I believe Neutrogena also makes a cleansing oil. This might be a good option to avoid rubbing your face too hard and irritating it. I would look up how to use it properly - I believe you put it on your dry face with dry hands, then after massaging it around you add water and it foams a little and washes off. But again, I haven't used one, so I'd look it up :)

Oh! And I would still follow up afterwards with your regular gentle cleanser to get any leftover oil or dirt remnants off. Oil cleansing gently with the right oil + regular cleanser should be enough to let you keep using the sunscreen. Finding a sunscreen you love is not easy, so I hope you can figure out a way to keep using it! Sorry about the essay, but I've been searching for a sunscreen I love as well and in the process have had to learn how to remove it, so this is all pretty fresh in my mind.
posted by sherber at 8:47 PM on May 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

(Disclaimer: I am a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant. I am not your MK IBC. In fact, I can't be your MK IBC, because you're in Germany. If you want help finding an IBC, I'm quite happy to help. All links to product link to the general website, not to my personal website.)

Add me to the list of somewhat confused people....but I'm going to try to answer the different permutations of your question anyway! I'm another sunscreen hater. Can't freaking stand the feeling of goopiness, anywhere on my skin. Just absolutely loathe goopiness. No goop. Hate the goop.

I was incredibly skeptical when I first tried MK's Sunscreen SPF 50. I figured it would be just like any other sunscreen - it would work, but it would be goopy, and I'd hate it. I was right about the first part; it worked beautifully. I was wrong about the goopiness, though. After I rubbed it in, I couldn't feel it at all. If this is where you're feeling like you need to take off your sunscreen - you need different sunscreen. Full stop. There are full-body sunscreens out there that won't leave you feeling like you have to take something off.

The Sunscreen SPF 50 isn't designed for facial use, though, so I use Volu-Firm Day Cream SPF 35. It's part of MK's premium anti-aging skin care line, so it's more pricey than the regular line anti-aging day cream, though both have the same SPF. For me, this one's about the whole line - when I was using the regular line, I was using a dozen bottles of lotions and potions. I recently developed a neurological condition that causes extreme facial pain, so I needed to cut down on face touching right quick. The premium line lets me use four bottles twice a day, rather than 12. If this is where you're feeling like you need to take off your sunscreen - you need different sunscreen. There are facial sunscreens out there that won't have you feeling like you have to take something off.

If your face is getting red and sore from "all this rubbing," then you're rubbing way too hard. I do microdermabrasion at home, along with chemical exfoliation on opposite days, and my face doesn't get red and sore. (Just in case you're unfamiliar with either, think sandpaper in a bottle, and the chemical equivalent thereof.)

I have absolutely no idea why you'd put coconut oil on top of sunscreen, unless you're putting on sunscreen first, then coconut oil to tan, and THEN trying to cleanse it all off. (Even THAT doesn't make a whole heck of a lot of sense to me....) All the layers of goop, though, could be what's irritating your skin so badly. Cut back on the number of goops. If you're happy with the sunscreen, and you're happy with your super sensitive skin facial cleanser, then cut out the coconut oil in between. Or, your skin could just be adjusting to the new regimen of sunscreen + coconut oil + cleanser. It typically takes skin about two weeks to adjust to a change in skin care.

As far as whether you're better off with the sun damage, the short answer is "no." The long answer is "hell no." Sun damage can quite easily turn into skin cancer, which can kill you. Assuming you're a reasonable, rational human being, you don't want to do things that can kill you. It's very easy to laugh it off with "Oh, it's only skin cancer..." but that kind of thinking can quite literally be fatal. I've never been fond of tanning, and since I wasn't "laying out," I figured my legs couldn't possibly be getting enough sun to warrant gooping up with sunscreen. They were closer to the ground, you see. Not in the windows of the car, underwater at the pool, etc. And I thought that way until my dad, who I'm sure thought the same way when he was young, had melanomas large enough to require major skin grafts removed from his shins and ankles.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 9:18 PM on May 25, 2015

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