Why spray sunscreen may be a bust

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There are plenty of important details to consider when choosing a sunscreen. The ingredients, the SPF, how much you use and even when you apply it all factor in to ensure you and your family are protected. But it turns out, the way you apply it can also be key and Consumer Reports says unless they’re handled with care, spray sunscreens may be a bust!

The problem isn’t with the spray sunscreens themselves, it’s just that most people don’t apply them correctly. You might think it’s convenient to do a quick zip-zip with a spray, but in fact, in Consumer Reports’ tests of sunscreens, they found you actually need to take great care when applying them, or you may shortchange your sun protection.

Start, by holding the nozzle close to your skin –– and spraying, until the skin glistens. Then rub it in, for more even coverage. Also, make sure you don’t inhale the mist. It can cause lung irritation. 

Consumer Reports recommends not using sprays on kids. If you do choose to use it on your children, spray the sunscreen into your hands, first - then rub it into your child’s skin.

And, be prepared to spend more if you go with a spray. Because some of the product can escape into the air, it’s smart to spray yourself twice. Which means a good chunk of your sunscreen dollars could actually be gone, with the wind.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.