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Spray Sunscreen: Benefits, Usage, And Tips From The Experts

Updated on June 13, 2024
spray_sunscreen_3_2c40f912-dc46-444d-8b34-b6f2c17f0f9b - Mustela USA - 1

If you have questions about spray sunscreen, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll talk all about spray sunscreen and why it may be the best choice for your family, as well as offer you an option that is both safe and effective.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of spray sunscreen, how to use it correctly, and some general tips when it comes to the sun and the type of protection you’re using. But first, let’s make sure you understand what spray sunscreen is.

Table Of Contents

What Is Spray Sunscreen?

 spray sunscreen

Spray sunscreen is a type of sun protection packaged in an aerosol can. When you press the button to deploy the sunscreen, it comes out in an even, thin layer. As you move the can around, you can quickly apply it to your body.

It’s easy to spray on hard-to-reach areas, like your back or legs, which makes it ideal for those with limited mobility or coordination. It’s also great for squirming kids.

However, not every brand of spray sunscreen is suitable for young children. We’ll dive into ingredients later on. But for now, know that you want to pick one that’s safe for your child’s delicate skin.

Let’s look at some other benefits of using this type of sunscreen.

Benefits Of Using Spray Sunscreen

Dad on picnic with child and prepared with spray sunscreen

Whether you’re heading to the pool or park, going on vacation, or doing any other outdoor activity, you know sunscreen is a must-have! But sometimes it’s hard to know exactly which sunscreen to use.

You may be wondering why spray sunscreens are being used more and more by families. Why the sudden preference for spray and over lotion?

To start, spray sunscreens are super easy to use and aren’t as messy as sunscreen lotions, which are creamy and thick and can take some time to fully absorb into your skin.

Spray sunscreens are also convenient for those times when you’re just heading out for an afternoon and need a quick and easy application option, especially if you’ve got kids in tow who will also need sun protection.

Finally, spray products are made using a lighter formula, so they don't feel heavy and sticky on your skin like some sunscreen lotions can.

Overall, people are choosing spray sunscreen as a safe sun protection alternative to lotions and creams because of the convenience and easy application!

Downsides Of Spray Sunscreen

Of course, though it’s incredibly popular, there are some downsides to using spray sunscreen.

For example, it's difficult to tell if you’ve applied enough sunscreen since it's less visible than lotions. This means it’s easy to miss spots and think you’re fully protected when you’re not.

Also, due to the aerosol in the can, you shouldn't spray sunscreen directly on your face. While there are some workarounds we'll get into below, some families prefer to stick with a sunscreen lotion they can use everywhere.

Finally, some spray sunscreens use nanoparticles of zinc oxide. These tiny particles can wind up getting absorbed into your skin and make their way into your bloodstream, which isn't good.

That's why it's crucial to look for non-nano zinc oxide when selecting sunscreen. These larger particles are safer for you and the environment.

How To Use Spray Sunscreen

Mom applying spray sunscreen on child

Applying spray sunscreen is a little bit different — and sometimes trickier — than sunscreen lotion. With the lotion, you can see exactly where it's going. As mentioned above, that’s not always the case with spray.

While each brand’s directions might vary slightly, here are some general guidelines for applying this type of sunscreen.

General Application Instructions

When you’re applying this kind of sunscreen to your or your little one’s skin, make sure you can see where you’re spraying it.

Even if it’s a clear spray, you should still be able to tell which areas are covered and which areas aren’t. The skin will look slightly damp or glistening once you get the sunscreen on it. Look closely as you spray to ensure you don’t leave patches without coverage.

Once you’ve sprayed an area, be sure to gently rub the sunscreen into your skin. A common misconception about spray sunscreen is that you’re good to go after spraying it. The truth is you still need to make sure it’s applied evenly or you may end up sunburnt in spots!

Generally, you’ll need to apply sunscreen every two hours, just like with sunscreen lotions, and every hour if you’re sweating or in the water.

That said, we recommend using your best judgment. If you notice your skin or your child’s skin getting redder or darker, go ahead and reapply!

Gentle And Natural Spray Sunscreen

At Mustela, we understand that you want only the best, most natural, and effective skincare products for your family.

That’s why we’ve designed a mineral sunscreen spray that can meet all of your family’s sun protection needs: SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Spray.

To use our SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Spray, shake the bottle well, hold the container about four to six inches away from your skin, and then apply it all over, avoiding your face.

Remember that it’s best to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before you’re exposed to the sun. Take care of your and your family’s sunscreen application before heading outside. This gives the product time to soak into your skin so it does its job while you’re in the sun’s rays.

Reapply our mineral spray sunscreen after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, or at least every two hours. Otherwise, it’ll wear off, and you’re more likely to get a sunburn.

So go ahead and set a reminder on your phone to help you keep track of each application. That way, you don’t get so busy having fun that you forget!

Can You Use Spray Sunscreen On Babies?

While our Mineral Sunscreen Spray is formulated from safe ingredients, most doctors recommend not using sunscreen on babies younger than six months old. The delicate skin of newborns is simply too sensitive, and they’re at higher risk for rashes and other side effects.

If you will be out in the sun with the newest member of your family, it’s best to keep them in the shade. You can create shade using a beach umbrella or stroller canopy. Or you can look for naturally shady areas, like underneath trees.

Protective clothing, such as a rash guard and a floppy hat can also help keep your baby safe in the sun.

However, sometimes life happens, and you end up in an area with less shade than you had anticipated. If you think that situation might arise, talk to your child’s doctor beforehand about your sunscreen options.

Bring along a bottle of what you use so they can read the ingredients and talk to you about potential risks. They might also have other recommendations that can help keep your baby safe while you’re outside.

Spray Sunscreen Tips

Two kids out at the beach

Now that you know how spray sunscreen works, here are some tips for using this product effectively.

1) Don’t Spray Directly On Your Face

When using spray sunscreen, avoid spraying it directly on your (or your kid’s!) face, and try not to inhale the product. While the sunscreen ingredients are safe for your skin, they aren’t a good fit for your lungs.

Should you need to use it on your face, spray some into your hands first and then use your hands to apply it to your face. As with any sunscreen, close your eyes before you slather it on to ensure you don’t accidentally get any into this sensitive area.

Looking for an easier option that makes applying sunscreen to your face — or your child’s face — a breeze? Our SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Stick provides safe and easy sun protection for your whole family!

To apply, simply glide the stick directly across your or your little one’s face. It’s easy to use and super convenient to carry around in your purse or diaper bag!

2) Be Mindful Of The Wind

When applying sunscreen spray, be mindful of the weather conditions.

If you’re trying to apply it while at the beach, for example, the wind from the ocean could blow the product away from your skin, leaving some areas exposed without you even realizing it.

This is also why it’s best to apply sunscreen before you step outside. Or, if you are applying it while outdoors, stay in a covered or shaded area.

The wind can also blow the aerosol mist into your face, causing you to inhale potentially dangerous fumes. To avoid this, pay attention to how the wind is blowing and consider that before you spray.

3) Don’t Miss Important Areas

One common mistake people make when applying sunscreen is forgetting about some body parts. To protect yourself from sunburns, it’s essential to apply sunscreen on all your exposed skin.

This includes your:

  • Ears
  • Scalp (especially if you have a part line or thin hair)
  • Tops of your feet
  • Neck
  • Hands
  • Back of your knees

Also, if you’re wearing a bathing suit, think about how much it could ride up while you’re swimming and splashing. If there’s much movement in your suit, you’ll want to apply sunscreen a bit higher up so you’re protected no matter what position you find yourself in.

4) Choose The Right SPF

As you know, spending too much time in the sun can damage your skin and possibly lead to age spots or even skin cancer.

To decrease your risk of sun damage, use sun protection with a broad spectrum SPF of at least 15.

SPF 15 is the FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) minimum recommendation for skin protection. However, the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) recommends choosing an SPF of 30 or above.

But what exactly is SPF? And what do the numbers mean?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and this factor is labeled in numerals, such as SPF 15, SPF 30, or SPF 50. The higher the number, the more protection it offers against the sun’s rays.

In addition to the right SPF, it’s also important to look for a sunscreen labeled as “broad-spectrum,” which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

The Lowdown On UVA And UVB Rays

The sun has two types of rays that reach the earth: UVA and UVB. You can blame UVB rays for your sunburns and UVA rays for your wrinkles and age spots.

While UVA rays are longer and can penetrate below the skin, the shorter UVB rays affect the top of your skin. Offering the right protection against both is the best way to prevent sun damage.

two kids painting outside while being protected by mustela sunscreen products

5) Apply Daily

When you look outside and see clouds, you may not automatically reach for your sunscreen. However, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can still reach the earth’s surface through the clouds.

This means that any day you’re spending outside should include sunscreen. Make it a habit to put it on before you head out, regardless of the weather.

Also, keep in mind that you can be exposed to UV rays through glass. If you’re going on a long car ride or spend a lot of time sitting next to a window, you’ll want to apply sunscreen first.

6) Limit Your Time In The Sun

To give your skin the best care, take some preventative measures into account when it comes to sun exposure, like limiting your time in the sun.

After all, the sun can cause a lot of damage to your largest organ (your skin)!

Keep in mind that prime time for the sun’s rays is between 10:00 a.m and 2:00 p.m. So if you are outside in direct sunlight during these hours, consider wearing a hat and sunglasses to protect your beautiful skin.

Additionally, make sure your little one’s skin is covered, too, or keep them in a shaded area during these hours.

7) Check The Ingredients

When choosing a spray sunscreen — and anything else you use on your skin — check the ingredients. Make sure your sunscreen is free of:

These ingredients are harmful to your skin and are known to cause skin reactions. Instead, look for mineral (rather than chemical) sunscreen formulated with non-nano zinc oxide.

For safe and gentle protection for the whole family, try our non-toxic formula made with naturally derived ingredients — including aloe vera, calendula, chamomile flower extract, and sunflower oil.

On top of protecting your skin from sun damage, the ingredients in our spray sunscreen also hydrate your skin, which is perfect for combatting the drying effects of the sun!

What’s more, our Mineral Sunscreen Spray meets Hawaii’s sunscreen ingredient requirements, which means it’s safe for the environment. All of our sunscreens are also NEA Certified, meaning they’re safe for even the most sensitive skin!

No need to worry any longer about safely protecting your family’s skin while out in the sun. We have you covered with our safe and effective SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Spray!

Chemical Vs. Mineral Sunscreen

Since we recommend using mineral sunscreen, let's take a moment to look at the difference between chemical and mineral formulas.

Chemical sunscreens use ingredients such as oxybenzone and octocrylene to absorb the sun's rays and convert them into heat, which is then released from the skin. In other words, it causes a chemical reaction to occur.

You can think of this type of sunscreen as a sponge, soaking up the sun's rays before they penetrate your skin.

Mineral sunscreen uses a different approach. Instead of absorbing the rays, it acts like a shield, reflecting the rays away from your skin.

Ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are often used in mineral sunscreens to achieve this effect. These ingredients stay on the surface of your skin, deflecting and dispersing the UV radiation away from your body.

That’s why this type of sunscreen often leaves a white cast on your body.

8) Apply Generously

 Mom with son at beach

It takes about two tablespoons of sunscreen to adequately protect an adult from the sun. That’s the equivalent of a shot glass or a handful.

However, you aren’t able to measure spray sunscreen like that. Thus, make it a habit to apply it generously. Don’t just spray for a few seconds over your child and declare them protected.

Instead, keep spraying in an area until their skin glistens. Then, move on to another spot. This way, you can have confidence that everyone is ready for sun exposure.

9) Read The Label

Each brand of sunscreen is different, so before you use it, take time to read the label carefully. This will help you see how to apply it and discover how much water protection it offers.

No sunscreen is completely waterproof, as the water will eventually wash it off or degrade the product. However, many types of sunscreen are water-resistant for a certain amount of time.

By reading the label, you can note how often you must reapply for continuous protection, even if you’re in the water or sweating a lot.

10) Check The Expiration Date

Spray sunscreen, like most skin care products, has an expiration date. If you’re pulling an old bottle out of the cupboard, double-check that it hasn't expired.

After the expiration date, the product's effectiveness is diminished. This means it may not protect you from the sun’s rays, and it’s time to buy a new bottle.

11) Use After-Sun Lotion

Way to go! You’ve protected your skin and your family’s skin while out in the sun!

But even after you’re no longer exposed to the sun, you still need to give your skin some long-lasting hydration to relieve the dryness that can come from a day spent outside.

So once you’re done going out for the day, give your little one a quick bath to get the sunscreen off them. Then, apply a thick, creamy moisturizer to keep their skin from drying out.

Our Hydra Bebe Body Lotion is a great choice. It uses jojoba oil, sunflower oil, and our signature Avocado Perseose to penetrate the skin and keep it hydrated.

Giving Your Skin The Best Protection

Kid playing with bubbles while using mustela sunscreen

You don’t have to pass up an opportunity to go outside and soak up some rays when the sun is shining. Just don’t forget your spray sunscreen.

This type of sunscreen is convenient and easy to use, especially if you have little ones. Reap all the benefits and rewards of using a spray sunscreen by keeping our tips in mind when heading outside. Your skin will thank you later!

So, go ahead — grab your bottle of SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Spray and enjoy the great, sunshiny outdoors!

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