Friday, August 5, 2011

Which Spray Sunscreen Works Best?

I have absolutely no claims to a scientific mind, so y’all just take what I’ve got to say with a cup o’salt. 

We just returned from five days in Virginia beach. Now, if you’ve ever seen pictures of my family, you may have noticed that we are as lily whitebread as the day is long on the solstice, and all that jazz. My family goes back at least as far as the Salem witch trials, and my husband’s goes back to Jamestown. We are British Isles, British Isles, British Isles, with a bit of German and Dutch thrown in. So, yeah, we don’t exactly TAN.
This means we are sunscreen, hat, umbrella, and beach coverup fanatics. Like, strap on a stink bomb and raid the baby oil suntan manufacturer’s headquarters fanatics. (As pacifists, we still think nasal passage violence is okay).
So, here’s what we found with our unscientific study of spray on sunscreen usage:

Banana Boat Kids Tear Free UltraMist Spray Sunscreen - SPF 50: 
Cons: Sprays on horribly. Really, really, sucky spray. Bad coverage. Hurts your finger to press for as long as it takes to get on your kid, or your own feet. Rubs off easily.
Pros: Doesn’t make kids’ eyes tear up and turn into golf ball sized agents of parental sanity destruction.  

Coppertone Continuous Sport Spray, Ultra Sweatproof SPF 50
Cons: Runs out really fast. One bottle will cover one family with two adults, one 7 year old, one 2 year old, ONE TIME. If it gets in your kids’ eyes, there will be screaming of a SAW movie type variety. Buy prophylactic earplugs. And eyewash. Also, if you happen to open your mouth and inhale while spraying, your throat will hurt, a lot. 
Pros: Fast, even, awesome coverage. 

Pros: Fast coverage. Long lasting. Stays on until you scrape it off with a spatula and a pumice stone. No sunburn unless you decide you need to loofah yourself in the sand fifty times while body surfing and applying battery acid to your body.
Cons: See other Coppertone Spray for cons. Basically, eye and throat misery. Runs out super fast. 

And there’s the scoop, folks. Use at your own risk.


  1. We're going to Virginia Beach later this month, as a matter of fact. No little ones to spray, but I definitely lean toward the lily white end of the spectrum myself (Swedish heritage), so I'll keep this in mind. Thanks! :)

  2. As a Dermatologist I approve of your topic! I like spray sunscreen for kids because it is fast to put onto moving targets. I would add to your post a couple of caveats: 1) Spray these puppies outside- they can make your floors slick and nasty. 2) When spraying outdoors, or on a porch, make sure that you are not spraying into the wind so it doesn't blow into your eyes easily, 3) Don't spray on face- spray on your hand and wipe on face

  3. Thanks for this! I've been considering buying some for my kids. We all have sensitive skin and so far only Coppertone Waterbabies lotion doesn't give us rashes. I'll share on Facebook!

    Bobbi Mumm