How to Use Spray Sunscreen Safely

Here’s how to make sure you’re getting the most UV protection from your sunblock.

Two children running on the beach
Spray sunscreen sinks in fast so you can get back to enjoying the water shortly after application.Pexels/Barbara Ribeiro

The main benefit of spray sunscreen is its quick application, making it a popular choice for squirmy kids and impatient adults. But despite the convenience, there are extra precautions needed that don’t apply to lotion-based sunscreen. Here’s how to safely and effectively use spray sunscreen without sacrificing UV protection.

Babyganics Kids Sunscreen Continuous Spray 50 SPF, 6oz, 2 Pack, Packaging May Vary

Only Apply Outdoors

Formulated without PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nanoparticles.Babyganics

One very important rule of spray sunscreen is to never spray it indoors. It can affect your air quality and make floors slippery, which is particularly dangerous for little feet that like to run. For kids, consider applying lotion at home and then adding a spray sunscreen on top once outdoors. When you’re outside and ready to spray, hold the nozzle close to the skin and spray until you see a white cast appear—then rub it in to ensure proper coverage.

Coppertone SPORT Continuous Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Multipack (5.5 Ounce Bottle, Pack of 3)

Point Away From Your Face

This formula guards against UVA and UVB rays.Coppertone

Instead of spraying sunscreen directly towards your face, mist a generous amount onto your hands and then apply, taking extra care to stay away from your mouth, nose and eyes. Don’t forget to add an SPF-enhanced lip balm.

Banana Boat Sunscreen Ultra Sport Performance, Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Spray - SPF 50 - 6 Ounce Twin Pack

More is More

This spray is water resistant for up to 80 minutes.Banana Boat

Spray sunscreen is effective in protecting your skin from the sun if you apply an adequate amount—but that can be tough to tell when using an aerosol can versus a lotion application. A good rule of thumb is to spray each body part for approximately six seconds, or until it looks white.

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