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Spray Sunscreen | How to choose the right one

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Spray sunscreens are popular because of their ease of application. Simply spraying sunscreen on with minimal need to rub it in can really facilitate the process of wearing sunscreen. Spray sunscreen can come in two varieties: aerosol spray or pump spray. Read more...
 

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spray sunscreens

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What should I look for in spray sunscreens?



Spray sunscreens are popular because of their ease of application. Simply spraying sunscreen on with minimal need to rub it in can really facilitate the process of wearing sunscreen. Spray sunscreen can come in two varieties: aerosol spray or pump spray.


Aerosol sprays for sunscreen offer the benefit of even coverage. Spray sunscreens can have the same protection as offered by traditional lotion or cream-based sunscreens if they are applied correctly. Applying until the skin “glistens” can be the visual cue to know when enough is applied. Due to the aerosol, the product can be lost to the environment or accidentally inhaled so try to position the nozzle closer to the skin - within 6 inches or less- to avoid losing the product. Be mindful of windy days or wind by the ocean or shore when applied as much of the product may be lost to the air if care is not taken to avoid this. Avoid spraying on the face directly, instead apply to the hands and rub in if necessary. And remember that aerosols are flammable and do not apply near an open flame.


Pump sunscreens can offer some benefits in ease of application but do require rubbing in the product.


The real challenge with most spray sunscreens is that it is not common to find mineral sunscreen-based sunscreen sprays. Mineral sunscreens, which include zinc and titanium, are large particles and difficult to incorporate into a spray. They tend to clog the nozzle so most companies avoid using them. This means that there is a better chance than not that if you are using a spray sunscreen then chances are it is a chemical-based sunscreen.



Which spray sunscreens work best for the face?



Spray sunscreens meant for the face tend to spray mists. In spite of stating they are for the face, this does not mean you can spray directly on the face. Most directions tend to recommend spraying the mist into your hands and then rubbing it onto the face.



Which spray sunscreens work best for the body?



One of the most loved sunscreen brands is EltaMD UV Aero Broad Spectrum SPF. It applies easily and is cosmetically elegant to apply. For a mineral sunscreen option for the body, I recommend SunBum Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray and Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Spray.



Which spray sunscreens work best for sensitive skin?



The Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen spray for sensitive skin is mineral-based and fragrance-free making it a reasonable choice for sensitive skin.



Which spray sunscreens work best for swimming?



Water-resistant sunscreens tend to last in the water, remaining effective for 40 to 80 minutes depending on the label designation. Sunscreens are not considered “waterproof” as all will eventually wear off if in the water long enough. I tend to favor La Roche Posay Anthelios lotion spray sunscreen for swimming.



What do you think is better: spray or rub sunscreen?



In terms of SPF, the SPF designated on the label can be trusted as this is based on testing and an FDA approval process to verify the product provides the protection indicated.


In terms of ease of application and compliance with sunscreen application, I find that many of my patients favor the use of sunscreen sprays.


However, I tend to favor mineral sunscreen products over chemical sunscreen ingredients. Since it is very difficult to find sunscreen sprays that are exclusively mineral sunscreens and not just “mineral-based” (in other words, some mineral ingredients but still include chemical sunscreen ingredients), lotion sunscreens tend to have a wider range of options to choose from.



spray sunscreen

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