woman dabs sunscreen on a child's nose

Spray Sunscreens: Cautions and Reminders

Spray sunscreens eliminate those extra minutes of lathering and offer us a quicker route to sun protection, but that convenience may come with added health costs.

Parents of young children are often seen scouring the aisles for a spray sunscreen. But such buying needs may need to be reconsidered in light of a 2014 recommendation from ConsumerReports.org, discouraging parents from using these products on their children.

Not-So Kid-Friendly SPF

Child locks on cabinets were invented for a reason: to keep young hands from playing with toxins. Without realizing it, parents may be putting a toxic product in their kids’ hands when they use spray sunscreen.

Often marketed as a safe and effective option, the sunscreen sprays used to block harmful rays may be presenting other problems of their own.

Here’s what the evidence shows:

  • The 2014 ConsumerReports.org recommendation indicates that sprays are easily subject to the wind or the wild tantrum of a toddler, and because of these instantaneous movements, toxins can accidentally be sprayed near or within range of the face, causing accidental inhalation.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning in response to five incidents causing fire-related burns. Don’t apply a sunscreen spray or insect repellant around your grill or around an open-flame. Research show that burns and burn-related incidents can even happen hours after the initial sunscreen application occurs.
  • The American Academy of Dermatology presents another potential drawback: a lack of coverage. Sprays can be deceptive, making it difficult to tell if all body parts exposed to the sun get adequate attention.

As prevention is often a matter of education, and sunscreen sprays a hot topic these days, keep your parenting friends in the loop and your kids in the know. Spray with caution.

Sunscreen 101: Remember the Basics

Remember that sunscreen sprays aren’t the only potential danger when considering sun-safety tips.

The Skin Cancer Foundation reminds consumers to purchase broad-spectrum sunscreens, which work to actively shield the body from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. Both types of rays are harmful and should be actively avoided in excess. The FDA makes a key distinction between the two types of rays: UVA rays are associated with causing skin damage, while UVB rays are often the prime suspects for sunburns (though UVA rays can cause this as well).

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a palm full sunscreen (about one ounce) to all exposed areas of your body about 15 minutes before you go outdoors. Choose a water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and then reapplying it at least every two hours. If you’re swimming or sweating, you’ll want to apply the sunscreen more often.

To find a dermatologist who can help you with any skin issues, visit TexasHealth.org.

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