A crisp white t-shirt on sun-kissed skin, a brand new swimsuit for your days in the sun, a light and airy summer dress on your honey-coloured cherubs, it’s all part of the holiday daydream. In reality, by the end of the two weeks, that white t-shirt, the brand new costume, the cute summer dress, they are all looking yellow and downright mucky. The culprit? It’s sunscreen, or to be precise its active ingredient, Avobenzone.
Avobenzone is used to stop the UVA rays and these are the ones that cause premature aging and skin cancer. Other chemicals in sunscreen are more concerned with UVB rays and protecting you from sunburn.
So, the first thing to do if you want to stop this pesky yellow staining is stop using Avobenzone-based sunscreen all together. You may consider this a crazy idea, but UVA Rays can be stopped by other chemicals that are in fact kinder to your skin. But that’s a whole other story. If it’s too late and your investment in sunscreen has been in the Avobenzone kind, worry not. You can prevent yellow staining by slathering it on before you get dressed. Apply to your skin and only put your clothes on once it’s all absorbed. For some, however, the urge to get out onto the beach can be too much. Waiting for sunscreen to do its thing is 10 minutes too long and if the cream does get to your threads then it’s time to talk about cure.
Bicarbonate soda, the home favourite and the saver of many things from teeth to silver jewellery, can help in your fight against the yellow. Sprinkle onto the stain and rub it in with and a bar of soap and leave for 30 minutes. Brush off the powder and wash in a washing machine. For bigger stains, Bar Keepers Friend, the traditional cleaning product launched in 1882, will help get rid of the biggest of sunscreen crimes. Just avoid using bleach based products as it will make the stain worse – deeper in colour and more stuck than ever before. But overall, whether you (or your clothes) fall victim to the yellow or not, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Wear sunscreen.