Summer, sunshine, and time spent outdoors go together like peas and carrots. But summer and sun also mean that you’ve got to lather on the sunscreen to protect your skin. Application and reapplication of sunscreen is my least favorite part of time spent outdoors, and with two kiddos, anything that makes that task easier is a godsend. I recently converted to the spray sunscreen and have been singing its praises ever since for its convenience. But is it as effective as lotion sunscreens? And how should you best apply it? Whether you’re doing laps in the pool, going for a sunny run, or simply staying active in the backyard, use these tips from Seattle, Wash. dermatologist Dr. Heather Rogers of the Madison Skin and Laser Center to make sure that spray sunscreen does its job properly.
Tips for Spray Sunscreen
1. Use enough. According to Rogers, spray sunscreens are as effective as lotions and creams, provided that you use enough. It’s recommended to use a shot glass full of lotion-type sunscreens, so be sure to spray enough of the sprays to feel like you have ample coverage.
2. Rub it in. Whether the instructions call for it or not, be sure to rub the sunscreen in once you apply it. Sprays can concentrate more in certain areas, so rubbing it in ensures more even coverage, Rogers says.
3. Avoid inhalation. Apply sprays in a well-ventilated area, and spray it on your hands to apply to the face.
4. Avoid open flames. It seems obvious, but the alcohol in spray sunscreens can catch fire, so avoid applying them near open flames. The FDA recently issued a warning regarding this, so be sure to avoid candles, barbecues, and other flames to avoid more than just a sunburn.
5. Consider a physical blocker. Zinc these days can come in a spray that won’t turn you bright white like it used to. Chemical blockers like oxybenzone penetrate the skin and are absorbed in small amounts, whereas zinc is not, according to Rogers.
6. Use one you like. If you like spray sunscreen use it. If you like the creams and lotions, use them. The most effective sunscreen is the one you’ll use most often. Likewise, take your skin type into consideration: If you have dry skin, a lotion may be your best bet.
Do you find one type of sunscreen to be much more convenient for you and your kids?