The Risks of Spray & Aerosol Sunscreens

Let’s face it; as essential as sunscreen is to our daily life, putting it on is an absolute pain in the #%&!!  Why not make it as easy as possible? That’s where spray or aerosol sunscreens come into play. A quick spray here; another hit there! It’s fast. It’s easy. It doesn’t get on your hands – what could be wrong with that?  Quite a bit to be honest!

First off, coverage of a spray is a fraction of a liquid sunscreen. Spray sunscreen is diluted by high levels of propellant in the canister. In short, on average, only half the bottle actually contains sunscreen! And because sprays tend to sit on the surface of the skin – if it doesn’t  blow off in the wind – the sunscreen isn’t absorbed into the epidermis; key to total protection. To actually get full SPF protection, you would need to saturate your skin and rub it in to get the full effect. Thus, you are back to the same process as liquid sunscreen. 

There are chemical risks from aerosol sunscreens as well.  The nature of the spray requires  chemical propellants such as propane, butane and hydrocarbon. Plus, unlike liquid sunscreen formulations, aerosol versions contain certain chemicals such as benzene, oxybenzone and parabens which can all be inhaled while applying.

Exploding sunscreen? Only in aerosol form! All those chemicals and alcohol can become flammable when exposed to excessive heat when stashed in your car, beach tote or sports bag. And, think twice before spraying near an open flame! Yikes!

Aerosols damage the environment! Aerosol sunscreens are not healthy for the ocean or reefs. Not only can the wind carry the chemical filled spray into the water, but it washes off your skin while swimming impacting you as well as the reef and marine life.


What should you do? Choose a liquid sunscreen, SPF 30 and apply liberally every two hours. Don’t like it on your hands? Then use a hand wipe to remove excess! And keep in mind there are good number of terrific sunscreens safe for our oceans. Here are just a few!

If you would like to learn more about the risks of aerosol sunscreens, just click here:

Remember, take care of you. Take care of your skin, and #livelifelikeclaire

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