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Why Is My Sunscreen Pilling? (& How To Prevent It)

Why Is My Sunscreen Pilling? (& How To Prevent It)

Does your mineral sunscreen cause pilling? This is when your sunscreen bunches up into little flakes or granules on your skin. Learn what causes sunscreen pilling and how to prevent sunscreen pilling.

Have you struggled to layer sunscreen onto your face during your daily skincare routine? Perhaps you’ve experienced the dreaded “pilling” that makes it (seemingly) impossible to get a smooth complexion. In this blog, we’re going to discuss what on earth causes pilling, how to prevent sunscreen pilling, and answer a couple of common questions: what is sunscreen pilling, and why is my sunscreen flaking?

What Is Sunscreen Pilling?

Sunscreen pilling is a pesky problem that affects some sunscreens (mainly mineral sunscreens) and combinations of skincare products. When a sunscreen or other skincare product “pills,” it balls up and gets “gunky.” Obviously, this isn’t very conducive to maintaining a nice, smooth, even complexion when you begin layering your other products. Pilling can look like tiny, flaky lumps, grains of rice, and even dry skin that is flaking off. But don’t be alarmed – none of those things are actually happening.

Why Is My Sunscreen Flaking?

What’s really happening is actually quite simple! Sunscreen pilling is typically an unfortunate side effect of physical sunscreens. Essentially, when this happens, the active ingredients in your sunscreen are reacting with the oils in your skin or the other components in the underlying skincare products.

Sunscreens are a homogenous (evenly mixed) conglomerate of UV-blocking minerals or chemicals and a liquid to suspend them. When you introduce other products to this mixture, it can cause the sunscreen to split. Much like milk would split when you add vinegar or lemon juice!

So should you swear off mineral sunscreen forever then? Certainly not– especially since they’re actually the dermatologist-preferred form of sunscreen. Luckily, there are actually a few things you can do to prevent sunscreen pilling!

How To Prevent Sunscreen Pilling

Keeping the above in mind, you can learn how to prevent sunscreen pilling in the following ways:

Consider Your Other Skincare Products

Try not to use radically different skincare products on top of one another without letting them soak in first. Sunscreen is a prime example of a skincare product where the previous products should be allowed ample dry and soak time before layering on the SPF. Otherwise, you’re just mixing your products together on your face like it’s a clear paint palette.

Apply Products In Thin Layers

Not only do thin layers of products dry and soak in faster, but they’re also more effective. Applying your skin care products in thinner layers will also make your products go further and save you money. In order to avoid sunscreen pilling (or pilling of any kind), use thin layers and let them dry and soak in.

Keep Your Skin Clean

Another reason your sunscreen might be pilling is that there is dirt, dust, dry skin, and oil built up on and in your skin. All of these factors can cause the surface of your skin to be lumpy and not pH balanced.

Use A High-Quality Sunscreen

You might also notice that lower-quality sunscreens pill more often. This might be because the mixture is more sensitive to splitting or because the active ingredients aren’t good enough to resist splitting in the first place. Either way, having high-quality sunscreen, like our Mineral Facial Sunscreen, is better for your skin in the first place.

So, in summary, layer slowly, layer thinly, and use the best product you can find for your daily Facial Sunscreen.


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