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Skin Care and Diseases

Spray vs. Lotion Sunscreens

06/30/2011

Question:

Are spray sunscreens as effective as lotion sunscreens?

Answer:

The effectiveness of a sunscreen is not determined by the vehicle (like spray gel or lotion). When you pick a sunscreen, select a broad spectrum sunscreen (UVA or UVB) SPF of 15 or greater. The SPF (Sunburn Protection Factor) provides information about product's protection against UVB light. Choose a water-resistant product if you will be sweating a lot or in the water. Nothing is "water-proof." Remember to reapply every 2 hours and after swimming.

The type of lotion, gel, cream or spray helps in ease of application or personal preference. For example, sprays (usually gels or lotions) are very helpful when applying sunscreen to a hairy area or areas of the back which can be difficult to reach. Heavy sunscreens (creams or oils) may exacerbate some acne conditions by clogging pores. Physical sunblocks with zinc and titanium can be applied by hand and are great for kids to avoid overspray in their eyes or the stinging irritation from chemical sunscreens. Hope this helps.

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Response by:

Margaret A Bobonich, DNP, FNP-C, DCNP, FAANP Margaret A Bobonich, DNP, FNP-C, DCNP, FAANP
Instructor of Dermatology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University