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5 jaw-dropping facts about sunscreen sprays

Protecting your skin from the sun is a must and should be part of your daily routine.

Without sun protection, you're more likely to develop skin damage, including:

  • Painful burns

  • Wrinkles and fine lines

  • Dark spots

  • Discoloration

  • Sagging skin

Daily sunscreen use is essential if you want to keep your skin healthy. It's particularly important if you're planning on spending a lot of time in direct sunlight.

Many people choose sunscreen sprays to protect them from unwanted sunburns, but these products can be problematic, to say the least.

The harsh reality of sunscreen sprays

At first glance, sunscreen sprays may seem more convenient, but they require about the same amount of effort as other options when applied correctly.

When you consider many of the cons, you may decide that sunscreen sprays are a skincare option to avoid.

1. Sunscreen sprays aren't as effective as lotions or creams
A spray-on product offers the illusion of a faster and easier application process, but at what cost?

Sunscreen sprays may not offer the same level of protection as a lotion product applied by hand, mainly because it takes much longer spraying than you think to get the coverage you need. Some studies show you may need to spray for 250 seconds per limb to get adequate coverage.

Keep in mind that sunscreen sprays aren't exactly a hands-off approach to skin care and sun protection. Most instructions still recommend rubbing it in for several seconds after applying.

It's also much easier to miss a spot (or several for that matter) when applying, so your chances of developing a painful sunburn with a bizarre pattern are relatively high.

2. Product inhalation is a serious risk

Even when applied outdoors, any type of aerosol product can be easily inhaled.

The risk is higher for spray sunscreens because these products are aimed toward the body, suspending thousands of microscopic droplets in the air that can linger for quite some time.

Products that are considered safe for the skin can still be dangerous when inhaled.

3. Sunscreen sprays are flammable

Any aerosol bottle has some risk of being flammable.

High temperatures and flammable products are a hazardous combination, so keeping sunscreen sprays out in direct sunlight or near an open flame can result in combustion. (Ironically, the most potentially dangerous settings are where you'll usually find a bottle of spray sunscreen, from pool-side sunbathing to beach barbecues and bonfires.)

4. Much of the product is easily wasted

Sunscreen sprays should never be applied indoors because of the even greater risk for direct inhalation, but outdoor application comes with its own set of problems.

Even the slightest breeze means much of the product is dispersed in the atmosphere before it makes contact with your skin. With so much product waste, your money is quickly wasted too.

5. You'll need more than you might think

A light misting of spray-on sunscreen isn't enough to protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays.

Studies have shown that most people only use about one-fourth of what's needed for proper protection. Sunscreen sprays should be applied generously and often. Most companies recommend spraying all exposed areas of your skin until it is visibly wet.

When you combine the amount needed with the amount wasted and the frequency of reapplication, it's anything but a bargain.

Better choices for daily skin protection

If you want healthier skin that's fully protected from the sun, you don't need to risk your wellness, safety, and comfort to do it.

Protecting your skin should be a mindful luxury, not a dangerous chore. When you take just a few preventative measures with the right products, you can enjoy all of the benefits of routine SPF use without the unnecessary risks.

Choose a cream or lotion

A cream or lotion that offers a minimum SPF 30 can reduce your exposure to harmful UV rays without all of the downsides of using sunscreen sprays.

Apply the sunscreen cream or lotion each morning to your skin, paying careful attention to your face, neck, hands, and any other exposed areas, and reapply every two hours.

Wear clothing and accessories to protect your skin

Great style isn't just beautiful; it's functional too.

Choose pieces that accentuate your unique tastes while protecting your skin from direct sunlight. Be sure to add a few staples to your wardrobe, including a great hat, some shades, and a flowy scarf or two.

Be smart about sun exposure

Whenever possible, take the extra step to protect yourself when you know you'll spend more than a few minutes in direct sunlight.

Keep your sun protective products with you on these days and reapply sunscreen as needed to keep your skin nourished and safe. Wear a hat and stick to the shade when you can.

SPF and great skincare go hand in hand, but the wrong products could produce some serious side effects that are completely avoidable. When browsing for the perfect sunscreen option, leave sunscreen sprays on the shelf and try cream or lotion options instead.