Sunscreen Spray vs. Lotion

When it comes to sun protection, applying sunscreen is one of the most important things you can do to combat the sun’s powerful rays. The type of sunscreen you use can make all the difference, especially for your children. So, which is best? Spray or lotion?

While spray takes less time to apply and is easier to use on your children, convenience doesn’t always mean better. In fact, dermatologists, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Consumer Reports all have serious concerns about using spray, especially on children.

The FDA is currently studying the safety and effectiveness of spray, particularly the health risks from accidentally inhaling its fumes during application. They have already determined that sprays can be a fire hazard and shouldn’t be used near an open flame. Because of all of this, Consumer Reports has advised against spraying sunscreen on your children until the FDA’s analysis is complete.

In addition, lotions offer more protection because you can tell how much you are putting on your child’s skin. On average, people tend to get less sunscreen out of a spray because they only spray for a couple of seconds.

Overall, sunscreen lotion is the best way to go. Spray is not recommended, but if that is the only sunscreen you have on hand, make sure to spray the sunscreen onto your hands and then rub it onto your child’s skin and face. Be sure to avoid getting the spray into the eyes or mouth.

Visit UPMC Children's Community Pediatrics’ health resources page for more information on sunscreen and sun safety.