Spray sunscreen is all the rage now.
But have you heard about spray sunscreen dangers? Are you wondering if spray sunscreen is safe?
I'm covering all of the ins and outs of spray sunscreen safety so you can make a well-informed decision about whether or not you want to use this on yourself and your loved one.
We have a community pool in our new neighborhood. I'm no longer a sun bather (I did way too much of that in my younger years), and really don't care for chlorine, but we have been enjoying the pool quite a bit.
And I'm constantly seeing all kinds of people spraying sunscreen on themselves. It seems like everyone is using it.
They're convenient, they cover easily, and kids with sensory issues about textures and having things spread on them like them a lot better than regular sunscreen.
In fact, many daycares say that parents should ONLY send spray sunscreen with their child!
But with that convenience comes risk. And it's a big one.
Even if you are using "safer" spray sunscreens, you could be putting your (and your children's) health at risk.
And even the spray sunscreen manufacturers know this.
Spray Sunscreen Dangers
In addition to normal sunscreen safety tips, there are special things to take into consideration when using spray sunscreen. Here are some of the things to think about when deciding whether or not to use these products--and how to use them should you choose to do so.
If you look at a bottle of spray sunscreen, you can see that there are warnings, but are we heeding them and do we know why they are there? Here are some warnings that you can see on spray sunscreen bottles:
"If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Center right away."
"Do not spray directly into face."
"Do not apply in windy conditions."
"Use in a well-ventilated area."
"Avoid inhaling or exposing others to spray."
"Keep away from face to avoid breathing it."
Doesn't sound too good, does it?
I mean, basically, you need to hold your breath for a long time while putting this on and don't put it on around other people unless they are holding their breath too.
Not easy to coordinate that kind of thing anywhere, let alone at the pool or beach.
I'll stick with my "not as cool or as much fun" spread on sunscreen and be good with it.
In fact, it was a huge mess trying to get the photos for this post. The sunscreen got caught up in the wind over and over again so we had to hold our breath. Then it went all over my clothes and even the camera.
This stuff flies EVERYWHERE!
Well, let's talk about the risks--it's a pretty scary list.
First let's talk about the typical sunscreens on the market. When you spray sunscreens, besides the risk to your skin and overall health of what you are applying to your skin, there is the added risk of inhalation. You are at risk of inhaling any of the ingredients including:
Chemical Sunscreens Such As:
and any of the other ingredients on the list such as (these ingredients are taken from the label of a popular brand of sunscreen):
- artificial fragrances
- styrene / acrylates
- glyceryl stearate
- PEG-100 stearate
- acrylates / dimethicone copolymer
- acrylates / c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer
- Diethylhexyl 2,6-naphthalate
- Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate
- Disodium EDTA
Not really wanting to be breathing any of those :(.
Now, assuming you are using "safer sunscreens", the likely active ingredients would be mineral sunscreens--titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide.
Now, those ingredients aren't really "on the radar" of skin toxicity guardians.
But here's the deal. If you're spraying sunscreen, the big risk for these two ingredients is--yes, you guessed it--inhalation.
Check out the toxicity warnings about titanium dioxide and zinc oxide from EWG's Skin Deep:
- "It appears to have low skin penetration, but inhalation is a concern."
- Cancer: - 3 agencies cite it as having carcinogenic (causing cancer) properties when inhaled.
- Organ System Toxicity - Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful
- 4 citations of respiratory toxicity concerns
- Occupational Hazard citations
- Ecotoxicology - (toxic to the environment)
Cancer. Respiratory Toxicity. Toxic to the Environment. Occupational Hazard.
Basically, you do NOT want to be inhaling these things. But it's hard to avoid when you're out in public.
One day, at our community pool, I was sitting at least 15-20 feet from a young girl who was spraying a popular brand of sunscreen on her body. I felt like I was being gassed. Now, I have always been sensitive to "fragrances", but this was strong.
So I held my breath and turned away. Not just because of the stink, but I also didn't want that titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and other toxic stuff going into my lungs.
Flammability is a concern for two reasons.
One - the cans themselves are flammable (due to what is inside) which can really be an issue in hot conditions. If you choose to use spray sunscreen, be very careful where you leave the cans.
Second - the spray contains flammable components. The labels do state this, but you really do need to be careful spraying around barbecues, etc. Think about this--if you spray sunscreen on and then walk too close to a citronella candle, you could literally go up in flames!
In many sunscreens, the ingredients are not safe for the environment. That goes for many regular sunscreens (non spray) and other body care products as well, but more so for spray-on products.
Safe Sunscreen Options
Of course, besides the aerosol spray aspect and possible inhalation issues, there are a lot of other things to be concerned about when buying sunscreen. I talked about other Sunscreen Do's and Don'ts in this post, and of course, you want to buy a brand that is safe -- not just as far as being "non spray", but as far as the other ingredients that they use.
I listed the brands I've tried in the Sunscreen Do's and Don'ts post, but I apologize -- I really haven't tried tons. Like I said, my sunbathing days are mainly over, but I do like to get some natural vitamin D from the sun when I can. Maybe I can try some more later this summer on my boys, or next year.
I also plan to share a Homemade Sunscreen Recipe with you soon. I've made this once, but it was a little thicker feeling once it was on than I would like.
Following are sunscreens that I have personally used and liked.
I have been a fan of Miessence for a long time.
Their products are super "clean" and basically, you can eat almost anything in their product line since it's food-grade organic.
This post on fermented foods and this one on probiotics will give you an idea of why. Their products are super safe and this sunscreen rates a low "1" on EWG's Skin Deep (where I turn for a lot of my information on the safety of beauty and personal care products).
You can find it here in my Miessence Store.
Beautycounter is one of the few companies that I trust. With so many "natural" and "clean" companies getting caught not being honest and ethical, you really want to buy from a company that isn't lying about what they are putting in their products.
Beautycounter is one such company.
Their Sunscreen Lotion performs really well too.
I used this one in the past and like it fine -- it was the first supposedly non-toxic brand I tried and we liked it just fine.
It has a low rating on EWG's SkinDeep but please take note of the mixed reviews on Amazon.
There are also multiple other products that they offer with SPF protection, including their BB Cream (foundation) which I love, lip balm with SPF, moisturizer, and sunscreen sticks.
I also did try Goddess Garden's SPF 30 Sport.
It's very thin which is nice if you don't like the feel of thick sunscreens. It also is a grayish color.
I don't really mind that but just so you know ahead of time -- it's not the typical white sunscreen.
Safer Spray Sunscreen
If after reading all of this, you still choose to use a Spray Sunscreen, I recommend choosing one with safer ingredients, not spraying while it's windy, and if possible, holding your breath while spraying.
I personally LOVE Beautycounter--they are second to none when it comes to transparency and there are no artificial fragrances in any of their products.
Their Mineral Sunscreen Mist works really well and ranks as a 3 on EWG / Skin Deep.
Do you use Spray Sunscreen?
If so, will you keep doing so after reading this?
Share with a friend to keep them healthy too!