The reason for the warning? The chance that your children will inhale some of the sunscreen while you spray them down. The magazine says spray-on sunscreen has the potential to cause children asthma or allergy attacks. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) saw this as a potential risk back in 2011, and they began taking a closer look at spray-on sunscreens to see if they posed any risks to children. They haven’t issued a report on their findings yet, and Consumer Reports suggests refraining from using the product until they do.
As the magazine notes, “We now say that until the FDA completes its analysis, the products should generally not be used by or on children.” As part of their recommendation, they removed a spray-on sunscreen marketed specifically toward kids from the recommended list. The only time parents should use the spray-on sunscreen is when there is not other type available. Even then, some extra precautions should be taken so as to reduce the risk.
- If only spray-on sunscreen available, it’s better to spray the sunscreen into your hands and rub it onto the child’s skin rather than spray it directly onto the child. This can reduce the risk of the spray getting into the eyes and mouth. Even when rubbing on, take special care when applying near the eyes and mouth to avoid getting any of it into them.
- Adults can use spray-on sunscreen for their body, but they shouldn’t spray it directly on their faces. As with the kids, it’s better to spray the sunscreen into their hands and then rub it on their face. Take special precautions (plug nose and hold breath) so as not to inhale any of the spray.
- With any sunscreen you use, make sure you apply enough. Spray-on sunscreen works well when properly applied, but it’s more difficult to do apply evenly versus creams or lotions, especially when being applied to a wide area of the body. Consumer Reports recommends that spray-on sunscreen be applied twice to ensure enough is put on.
(Photo courtesy of Michael Dorausch)