I'm hitting the beach this weekend, so I wanted to run to the drugstore to quickly grab some sunscreen. Seems easy enough, but when I saw all the different bottles, I just stood and stared. Why are there so many to choose from? It makes it really confusing as a consumer. Being fair-skinned, the SPF is a cinch; I always go for 55 or higher. And because I exercise outdoors and spend time in the water, I always get one that's waterproof. I also make sure the label says broad spectrum so I know I'm protected against both UVA and UVB rays. But what about using a lotion versus a spray? A spray seems like it'd be less messy, plus it's easier to get to hard-to-reach spots like my upper back.
But is a spray as effective as lotion? To find out, keep reading.
Spray-on sunscreens have their pros and cons. They're easy to apply (even for kids), so you may be more likely to use them. Plus they're lightweight and dry quickly, so you may prefer the way they feel on your skin. Another plus is if you don't like getting your hands all greasy from rubbing in lotions, you can avoid that with a spray (although you'll still need to spray a little on your fingers to apply to your face). But, unlike a lotion, it may be difficult to see where you've applied (or you may not spray enough on), so some areas of your skin may go unknowingly unprotected. Many spray formulas also contain alcohol, which could affect sensitive skin. Some people find certain brands leave the skin feeling sticky or hard to wash off.
While there aren't any major benefits of using a spray over a lotion, the bottom line is that regardless of which type of sunscreen you choose, you just need to use it properly. Whether you prefer lubing up or spraying it on, be sure to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outside. Also, make sure to cover every inch of your exposed skin with an adequate amount of sunscreen, and be sure to reapply every three hours, or more often if you're sweating or swimming.
Tell me which do you prefer, lotion or spray?