Why Does Sunscreen Burn My Face or Make it Sting?

women applying sunscreen to face

If you have applied sunscreen and it burns your face you might be wondering what’s causing it and how to stop it from happening again. So why did sunscreen burn your face?

One of the most likely reasons sunscreen might burn your face is because of an allergic reaction to your skin but there is a selection of other reasons which might cause your skin to burn or even sting.

Below we will break down all the reasons why your skin might be burning and what you can do about each to stop them from happening again.

Why Does Sunscreen Burn My Face – Top Reasons

Allergic Reaction

Probably the most likely reason sunscreen might burn your face is because of an allergic reaction. This can cause a burning feeling or irritation in general to the skin.

If you think you might be allergic to some ingredient/s in the sunscreen then it would be best to try a different brand that doesn’t include the ingredient.

It would also be recommended to do a small patch test on the skin to check if you have any reaction before completely applying it to all your skin. To do a patch test apply a little on your neck and wait until the following day to see if there was any negative reaction. If not you can use it as normal.

Using Too Much

If you apply to much sunscreen this can lead to burning. How that happens is when you apply too much lotion it means you need to rub in the lotion even more to try and get it absorbed into the skin. When the skin is rubbed too much this can irritate the skin and can cause it to become burned too.

The secret here is to be careful to not apply too much sunscreen. Start with a little and add a bit extra if and when needed. This prevents from applying too much.

Using Expired Sunscreen          

Just like any beauty products they will expire after some time.

If you have used expired sunscreen it may cause skin irritation or burning to the skin because it had gone bad.

If you have had some sunscreen laying around for a while be sure to check its expiry date. If the date has passed you will need to buy a new one.

Applying to Moist or Damp Skin

Sunscreen is best applied to dry skin. That’s because it absorbs much better than if the skin were moist or damp.

If you do apply it to moist or damp skin you might have some irritation because it may not apply as smoothly if the skin was more dry.

What this means is if you are sweating ideally you should wait until you stop, and the skin dries off. Also, it’s best to not apply moisturizer just before applying sunblock for this same reason.

From the Sun

If you have applied sunscreen and then proceeded to spend time in the sun and then later you notice your skin is burnt it could well be because of sun burn.

This could mean the sunscreen was not effective in protecting your skin. That could also be because it wasn’t applied properly, or you spent too much time in the sun without reapplying the sunscreen.

It could also mean you may need a sunscreen with a higher SPF for better protection.

Interesting Related Questions

Is It Normal for Sunscreen to Burn the Face?

It can happen and sometimes does happen that sunscreen may burn or irritate the skin on your face.

Why I Only Burn with Sunscreen?

Probably because the sunscreen is causing irritation to the skin due to an allergic reaction or some of the other reasons we covered above.

How Do You Know if You’re Allergic to Sunscreen?

The best way to know if you are allergic to sunscreen is to do a patch test on your skin and see if you have any reaction before applying to the rest of your skin.

What Sunscreen is Best for Sensitive Skin?

We recommend this sunscreen from EltaMD. It’s the best choice if you have sensitive or easily irritable skin.

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