SPOKANE, Wash. - It's an unavoidable part of summer to slather up the kids and yourself with sunscreen before heading outside. But, not all sunscreens are created equal and experts warn you should avoid altogether.
A recent study found more than half of all sunscreen users prefer to use the spray. It's less messy and it's easy to put on the kids before they run out the door. But, Consumer Reports and the FDA warn not only is the spray less effective, it can be dangerous.
The FDA has been studying the potential dangers of spray sunscreen since 2011, trying to determine if it can trigger asthma and allergy attacks in kids. They haven't reached a conclusion yet, but it's not hard to imagine, if you've ever sprayed it on and found yourself in a toxic fog. Aside from that, Consumer Reports lists several reasons you should reach for the lotion instead.
One reason: it's hard to tell if you're really covered. Even with a slight wind, a lot of the spray gets away before it gets on your skin. To really get covered, stay within four to six inches when you spray. Because the spray dissipates, you're probably spending more money on sunscreen if you stick to the spray.
If all you have is the spray, you're better off spraying it on your hands first, then rubbing it into the skin. That will reduce the risk of inhaling the mist and make sure you're getting enough into your skin.
You should also be aware that the spray sunscreens may be flammable. More than 20 brands were recalled last year because they were used near an open flame like a BBQ and caused fires and burns.
The bottom line: if you have a choice, ditch the spray. It's probably not worth the risk and cost. But, if it's all you have, experts say it's better than no coverage at all.
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