The Frightening Truth About Spray-On Sunscreens—and 5 Better Alternatives

The Frightening Truth About Spray-On Sunscreens—and 5 Better Alternatives
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Spray-on sunscreens might be doing more harm than good. While the products have yet to be banned, the FDA recently shed some light on potential health risks, specifically when it comes to young children. Wondering what this means for beach trips and family getaways, we spoke to a sun safety specialist for the 411.

“The primary concern with aerosol sunscreen and children is inhalation and injury of the lungs, especially when applied to the face,” dermatologist Michael Shapiro, M.D. tells InStyle. But if you just picked up a can and don't want to see it go to waste, Shapiro says your child can avoid swallowing harmful ingredients by spraying it on your hands first and then rubbing it on your child directly.

RELATED: What’s the Difference Between Physical & Chemical Sunscreen? Here's Everything You Need to Know

While we'll admit to loving spray-ons for their convenience, if not applied properly, they do pose some serious risks. “It’s important to be diligent when spraying yourself and others, as the effectiveness of sunscreens is based on topical application,” Shapiro adds. “Studies have shown that patients should be applying a more generous amount. This is especially important with sprays, as some of the spray will drift off into the air and not adhere to the skin.”

For the safest alternative, the expert suggests sticking to lotion or cream formulas to ensure some peace of mind. Shop some all-natural options the whole family can use, below.

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Shop the sunscreens: Badger Organic Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide SPF 30, $16; badgerbalm.com. Coola Suncare Sport Classic Sunscreen SPF 50, $32; nordstrom.com. California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, $20; target.com. The Honest Co. SPF 30 Sunscreen, $14; nordstrom.com. Alba Botantica Emollient Sunscreen Lotion with SPF 30, $9; target.com.

RELATED: 8 Sunscreens that Won't Make You Break Out

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