Spray sunscreen is easy to apply, takes less the time, and works perfectly for fidgety children on the go. However, Consumer Reports advises consumers stop use. After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last month they were evaluating the potential risks of spray-on sunscreen, Consumer Reports felt compelled to advise users to hold off spraying down their children until results are released and safety is confirmed.
"We now say that until the FDA completes its analysis, the products should generally not be used by or on children," Consumer Reports said. "We have also removed one sunscreen spray — Ocean Potion Kids Instant Dry Mist SPF 50 — from the group of recommended sunscreens in our sunscreen Ratings, because it is marketed especially for children."
The most significant concern is the possibility that people might accidentally breathe in the aerosol ingredients, and because children move around more during application, they’re at greater risk. Consumer Reports removed child-specific spray-on sunscreens because they’re not convinced of its safety at this stage of the game, so they don’t want to misinform consumers.
"Requests arose because sprays are applied differently from other sunscreen dosage forms, such as lotions and sticks," the FDA reported.
If there are no sunscreens other than the spray-on version available at hand when you show up to the beach or poolside, don’t just let your children run around unprotected. Consumer Reports suggests spraying the sunscreen into your hands, then applying it directly onto the child’s skin by rubbing it in thoroughly. Even before the fears of spray-on sunscreen arose, it was suggested to spray the sunscreen into your hand on a windy day because application became inconsistent.
"The question there is what's bad about it? Is it chemicals directly, or is it the fact that the chemicals irritate the lungs? The spray, can it trigger asthma attacks?" said pediatrician Dr. Jeffery Simon, WSFA News reported.
Whatever type of sunscreen you use on children or even adults, dermatologists suggest using at least SPF 30 broad spectrum. SPF, or sun protection factor, is a measure of how well the sunscreen deflects UVB rays, which is the skin-damaging ultra violet radiation from the sun, according to the Mayo Clinic. Broad-spectrum sunscreen is especially important because it protects against both UVB and UVA rays. UVA rays can prematurely age skin, cause wrinkles, and age spots, while UVB rays are what actually cause the red sunburn and damage.