The Best Spray Sunscreens to Buy Right Now-Plus, Expert-Approved Tips on Applying Them Correctly
Spray sunscreens are convenient in terms of application, but it can be difficult to quantify the amount you need for proper coverage (choose a cream formula, for example, and you will need a shot glass' worth for your entire body). According to leading dermatologists, you need to take extra care when spritzing on SPF. "Keep the nozzle close to the skin, depending on how wide the spray is and the type of nozzle used," explains board-certified dermatologist Brandith Irwin, who is the founder of SkinTour.com. "If the spray is wider, move closer; if the spray is narrower, move further away."
It's just as critical to work systematically from bottom to top or vice versa, notes Dr. Irwin, so you don't miss any areas. And while you might believe that one of the biggest benefits of spray sunscreens is that you don't need to rub in the product, think again. "Spray sunscreen should not be applied like perfume," says New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. "They should be sprayed until the skin glistens. Then the sunscreen should be rubbed in. If you don't see it on your skin, then it is not there."
Planning on using a spray sunscreen on your face? Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman notes to skip the direct spritz. "Spray it into your hands first and then rub it on, avoiding your eyes and mouth," she instructs, adding that you also don't want to inhale any product. As for what not to do? "Never spray sunscreens into the wind, because it will blow it away from your skin," Dr. Zeichner warns. "And don't apply them near a barbecue or an open fire because most are flammable."
Despite spray SPF's popularity, it's also controversial; these formulations can lead to an increased risk of sunburn due to uneven (and often inadequate) application. With this in mind, Dr. Hope Mitchell says that users should spray about one ounce of sunscreen to cover their entire body from the neck down-which means that your standard six-ounce bottle won't last long. Now that you know the pros and the cons, you will find several dermatologist-recommended spray sunscreens, below, so you can find the right product for your needs.