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3 Alarming Reasons You Should Not use Spray Sunscreen

Posted on 30 July 2015

3 Reasons You Should Not use Spray Sunscreen

With squirming children, spray sunscreen seems like a convenient idea, and they make up a big portion of the sunscreen market. But they may pose serious inhalation risks, and they make it too easy to apply too little or miss a spot. Here are the top 3 alarming reasons you shouldn’t use spray sunscreen, with a list of the top offenders.

spray sunscreen dangers

1. Spray Sunscreens Can Be Inhaled

“We don’t recommend that consumers use these products,” explains Environmental Working Group’s Senior Scientist Dave Andrews. “There are inhalation concerns as you are breathing in these sunscreen ingredients when you apply them.” This is especially true with children, who rarely stay still during sunscreen application.

2. Difficult to Get Adequate Coverage

With spray sunscreens, it’s difficult to get an adequate coating on your skin, or to even verify that an adequate amount is being applied.

"You don't get an even layer from spray sunscreens unless you rub it in," says Dermatologist, skin cancer specialist and Little Leaves co-founder Dr. Carlos Gomez-Meade. "In fact, you need to spray and rub it in three separate times to get an even layer for adequate sun protection."

3. Certain Chemicals Can Disrupt the Hormonal System or Even Cause Cancer

Here are two chemicals to look out for in spray sunscreens.

Oxybenzone penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream, and could potentially act like estrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic skin reactions. Some research studies, while not conclusive, have linked higher concentrations of oxybenzone to disorders, including endometriosis in older women and, lower birth weights in newborn girls.

Retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A. On sun-exposed skin, retinyl palmitate may speed development of skin tumors and lesions, according to government studies (NTP 2012).

There is no such thing as SPF protection over 50

The FDA has long contended that SPF higher than 50 is “inherently misleading” (FDA 2007). Australian authorities cap SPF values at 30; European and Japanese regulators at 50 (Osterwalder 2009b), and Canada allows a maximum of “50+”. The FDA proposed a regulation to prohibit labels higher than SPF 50+, but the agency has not put it into force. (FDA 2012)

Related reading: What’s Wrong with High SPF

EWG Sunscreen Hall of Shame

The Environmental Working Group has a list of the 2015 Sunscreen Hall of Shame. Some sunscreens are not only a waste of money and time, but also potentially harmful.
Read the full list here.

spray sunscreen

11 Worst Sunscreens for Kids

Banana Boat Clear UltraMist Kids Max Protect & Play Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 110
Coppertone Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
Coppertone Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Coppertone Kids Wacky Foam Foaming Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70+
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Equate Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Kroger Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
Kroger Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Beach & Pool Sunblock Spray, SPF 70+
Up & Up Kid’s Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55

Healthy Sunscreen Solutions for Kids

Mama Natural provides a comprehensive article about the best sunscreens for kids.

Little Leaves sun protective clothing was featured in this Mama Natural vlog. By using sun protective clothing, you can minimize your child’s sun exposure, and areas to apply sunscreen. Convenient and cost effective, sun protective clothing is 100% effective in protecting your child from sunburn and skin damage!


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