Scott Robertson

Spray On Sunscreen
By: Posted On: 2014-05-10

Ted Mclaughlin

Ok, here's a topic that hopefully everyone on this list can relate to.

I took our camp's overnight canoe trip out on Wednesday. As we were about to put in one of the campers handed out his sunscreen and just said everyone could use it as he had plenty of extras. When it came to me I looked at it and thought I'd give it a try. It was the spray on type, (sorry I can't remember the brand name), but it had a decent SPF rating.

So a couple hours later I'm sunburned in splotches all over my legs, a couple spots on my arms, half of my neck, and a little bit on one shoulder. Half the campers had similar problems.

I haven't had any problems like this with the lotion types. With those you have a pretty good idea what areas are covered and which ones aren't. The spray on types you don't seem to get that. I had even spray some in my hand and rubbed it over my arms and legs.


I haven't experienced the same issues. All of the girls at girl scout day camp the last couple years have spray-on sunscreen. Of course, the staff have them reapply it frequently, and especially right after pool time.

I have a fair skinned, red headed child who burns easily and we've only had this happen once. He put the spray on himself and underestimated how much he needed and failed to rub it in.

That said my kids complain that most sprays burn. The main ingredient is alcohol so we only buy ones without alcohol...banana boat kids in a yellow bottle and the pink bottle baby faces.

I apply a lot. Enough so that it drips. Then rub it in. Wait for it to dry.

I checked Consumer Reports two weeks ago and it says sprays may not be safe for children (aerosol issues) and my littlest has asthma so I've switched back to lotion. The Walmart brand was rated a best buy.

Our dermatologist recommends Blue Lizard as it has a high zinc oxide level but it's hard to find and too expensive.

I heard somewhere that no screen is water proof or even resistant and must be reapplied each time you get out of the water. Also if you read the instructions you have to put a lot of lotion on for it to be “effective”. Most people don't do either and thus have problems.

Tell us what your thoughts are about sunscreen...


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