Spray sunscreen has become pretty popular over the last several years. This is probably because it’s easier to apply than lotion or cream sunscreen — especially on squirmy kids who are excited to play in the sun!

Like anything you put on your and your baby’s skin, you want to make sure spray sunscreen is safe and effective. Sprays can work just as well as regular sunscreens as long as you’re using them the right way.

In this article, find out everything you need to know when it comes to correctly applying spray sunscreen and choosing the best one for your family!

Are Spray Sunscreens Effective?

kids playing in the ocean waves wearing spray sunscreen

If you’re wondering whether or not spray sunscreens protect your skin from the sun’s rays, they do.

But even though this type of sunscreen protects your skin and goes on easier than traditional sunscreen, it can sometimes be hard to tell if you’ve applied enough. (Don’t worry; we’ll talk about application later!)

Spray sunscreens can be tricky because of the way they’re made. Because aerosol (what makes up most spray formulas) sunscreens are thinner than traditional sunscreens, you’ll need to apply more than you may think.

Unfortunately, there are other misconceptions about how to apply this type of sunscreen as well.

Setting all of the drawbacks aside, spray sunscreen is better than no sunscreen. However, there are definitely risks associated with sprays. Keep reading to understand those risks and learn how to safely use spray sunscreen!

Are Spray Sunscreens Harmful To Babies?

mom laying on beach with baby

According to the FDA, babies six months and younger should not use any kind of sunscreen. Because your baby’s skin isn’t mature enough yet to endure exposure to ingredients found in sunscreens, it’s best to keep them out of the sun.

Use alternative methods of sun protection, like keeping your baby in the shade, fully covering your baby’s skin with long-sleeves or pants, and giving your baby a sun hat to wear to protect their face and neck.

So, are spray sunscreens harmful to babies older than six months? It really depends on which one you’re using.

Keep in mind that whatever you’re spraying, your baby can inhale via aerosol. Spray sunscreen can irritate your baby’s lungs and cause them to cough if inhaled.

Additionally, it can be dangerous to your baby’s skin. Remember: your little one’s skin isn’t fully developed, so it can’t process chemicals the way yours can. It’s also important to realize that skin is an organ and acts like a sponge, so whatever you put on your skin can get in your skin.

The good news is that mineral-based spray sunscreens are safe and effective for protecting your baby’s skin and your family’s.

And that’s just what we offer here at Babo Botanicals! Our line of mineral-based sunscreens gives your family the safest and best protection while you’re out in the sun.

Try our Sheer Zinc Continuous Spray Sunscreen, which gives you the benefits of a spray without the harmful side effects! It’s gently formulated with 100% non-nano zinc oxide and perfect for extra sensitive skin.

This lightweight spray sunscreen is fragrance-free and works great for the entire family, from babies to adults. Plus, it’s water-resistant and reef safe!

What’s In Your Sunscreen?

We briefly mentioned chemicals above, but let’s talk about them in a bit more detail.

Some spray sunscreens contain harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can lead to hormone disruptions in your body, among other things.

If these two dangerous ingredients are inhaled in large amounts, they may harm your baby. And, of course, they can also irritate your and your baby’s skin.

It’s especially important to choose a gentle, lightweight sunscreen for your baby’s delicate skin and still-developing body. The main active ingredients in your sunscreen should be zinc oxide and titanium oxide.

Let’s talk more about these natural minerals and how to choose safe sunscreens.

How To Choose The Right Spray Sunscreen

 Two kids at the beach protected by spray sunscreen

Non-Aerosol Spray

When choosing the right spray sunscreen for your family, look for a non-aerosol spray.

Babo Botanicals’s Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Spray SPF 50 is designed with a bag on valve technology. This means it has a non-aerosol, eco-friendly, chemical-free dispensing system that is safe for the entire family.

If you’ve never heard of a non-aerosol sunscreen spray or bag on valve technology, let us explain.

Powered by air, this innovative packaging uses only compressed air instead of the propellant chemicals used in aerosol cans. When the button is pushed, air pressure squeezes the sunscreen out of the airless bag inside.

This means no potentially harmful chemicals are sprayed into the atmosphere or onto your or your baby’s skin! What’s more, it’s reef safe, free of oxybenzone and octinoxate, and hypoallergenic.

Stash our Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Spray, SPF 50 in your bag for your entire family to use! It’s fragrance-free and great for those with sensitive skin, like your little one.

Not only will it protect your baby’s skin against the sun’s damaging rays, but it will soothe and moisturize the skin as well because it’s made with organic Aloe Vera and Calendula.

Formulated with 100% mineral active ingredients, this might just be the spray sunscreen you’ve been looking for!

Mineral Ingredients

Taking it a step further, to ensure the safest product for your family, choose a mineral-based sunscreen, like Babo Botanicals’s Sheer Zinc Continuous Spray SPF 30.

A mineral-based sunscreen uses titanium dioxide or zinc oxide instead of chemicals. These ingredients offer safe protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide work by sitting on top of the skin, whereas chemicals soak into your skin. Mineral sunscreens deflect the damaging UV rays away from your skin, and chemical sunscreens turn the rays into heat.

As you can see, there’s quite a difference between mineral-based sunscreens and chemical sunscreens!

Plus, mineral sunscreens are less likely to irritate your skin or your baby’s skin. And your baby’s skin is super sensitive, so you want to use the most gentle sunscreen possible to avoid skin reactions.

Mineral sunscreen can also be referred to as natural sunscreen or physical sunscreen.

 spray sunscreen set up in beach scene

Broad-Spectrum Coverage

A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

UVA rays have longer wavelengths and penetrate deeper into your skin. They are responsible for your wrinkles and other signs of premature aging on your skin. They also cause more long-term damage to your skin, like skin cancer.

You can thank UVB rays for your sunburns. They have shorter wavelengths and are responsible for damaging your outer layer of skin. UVB rays cause more short-term damage to your skin, like peeling and sun blisters.

When choosing a spray sunscreen, make sure it’s a broad-spectrum formula that will provide the right kind of sun protection!

Adequate SPF Coverage

What good is sunscreen if it doesn’t offer enough SPF coverage?

Look for a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. This means that only 1/30 of the UVB rays will reach your or your baby’s skin, which provides great protection. And SPF 50 is even better!

As long as you’re applying sunscreen correctly to your or your baby’s skin, SPF 30 and SPF 50 are both great options.

Water-Resistant Protection

When applying sunscreen on your little one, keep in mind that they’re going to sweat or get wet at some point during the day.

That’s why it’s important to use water-resistant sunscreen — so the moisture won’t immediately render the sunscreen useless.

But remember that even water-resistant sunscreens are only effective for a certain amount of time. This means you will have to reapply sunscreen on your little one at some point (maybe more than once!) during your fun in the sun.

Reef-Safe Formula

When you take a dip in the ocean, everything that’s on your skin seeps into the ocean. If you cover your skin with chemically processed sunscreen, those chemicals leak into the water and can harm the coral reefs and aquatic life.

Next time you pick up a bottle of sunscreen, pay extra attention to the ingredients. Look for certain ingredients, like oxybenzone, which is known to bleach and damage coral reefs.

Also, using a water-resistant sunscreen can help in this regard, too, because they are more likely to stay on your skin and out of the water.

To help you narrow down your search, we’ll go ahead and assure you that Babo Botanicals sun care collection does not contain any ingredients that are harmful to coral reefs or other ocean life.

For more on reef-safe products, take a look here.

 Baby holding baby safe sun care products

What To Avoid

We’ve established by now that it’s important to avoid aerosol sprays altogether.

Aerosol sprays are very dangerous for your baby — and you, for that matter! — and are highly flammable. You definitely don’t want to apply a flammable product to your baby’s skin!

Aerosols also contain alcohol and other dangerous chemicals that can easily be inhaled when sprayed. And to top it off, the chemicals found in traditional sprays are known to harm coral reefs!

Also, stay away from products that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are dangerous chemicals. Remember to look for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are natural minerals.

Avoid sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, dyes, sodium chloride, and formaldehyde — just to name a few — because these ingredients tend to cause skin irritations, especially in babies.

How Do You Apply Spray Sunscreen?

Parents and kid playing soccer while wearing spray sunscreen

When applying a spray sunscreen, you don’t have to worry about it leaving a film on everything as you do with a cream or lotion sunscreen.

Think about it. With lotions and creams, sometimes your little one can end up covered in a white layer or with a milky-looking nose. This won't happen when you use a spray sunscreen!

But how much spray sunscreen is enough?

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends spraying until your skin glistens. For correct application, hold the nozzle close to your skin and spray an even layer.

Next, rub the sunscreen in to make sure you didn’t miss any spots. Even fine sprays can leave an uneven layer on your skin, so you still need to rub them in to get the best coverage.

Pay attention to easily missed areas, like the top of your baby’s hands and feet and underneath their clothing or swimsuit straps. Keep in mind they’ll be running and moving throughout the day, so their straps can easily move around as well.

Important note: when you’re using a spray sunscreen, always apply it outside. The spray can affect the air quality in your home — depending on what type of spray you’re using — and it can make your floors slippery and unsafe.

If you’re trying to apply spray sunscreen on a windy day, you may not be able to get the full SPF coverage because of the wind blowing the spray away. Make sure the air is calm before you start spraying.

Applying Spray Sunscreen To Your Face

 spray sunscreen and Sheer mineral sunscreen

Because of the dangers we mentioned above about inhaling the spray, never apply sunscreen directly to your or your baby’s face.

If you do that, you’re spraying it directly on the nose and mouth, making it unsafe for both you and your baby. Instead, spray the sunscreen generously into your hands and then rub it onto your face.

When it’s difficult to apply sunscreen to your baby’s face, try our Fragrance Free SPF 50 Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Stick. It glides on sheer and is gently formulated with 100% non-nano zinc oxide. This lightweight baby sunscreen is fragrance-free and formulated for very sensitive skin.

And for older kids who need a little extra sun protection, try our Clear Zinc Sunscreen Stick SPF 30 - Summer Scent. This broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sport zinc stick is great for the face, lips, nose, ears, and anywhere with extra sensitive skin!

And for the rest of the family, try our Clear Zinc Sunscreen Stick SPF 30 - Fragrance Free. This broad-spectrum UVA/UVB zinc stick is great for the face, lips, nose, ears, and anywhere with extra sensitive skin!

It also goes on clear, is non-greasy, and rubs in well. Our hypoallergenic formula contains the power-packed protection of zinc, plus rich, skin-soothing certified organic oils, including Jojoba.

Still a little leery of using spray sunscreen on your face? Try our Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30 Lotion and SPF 50 Stick. This non-greasy mineral sunscreen adds powerful broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection while delivering a gorgeous finish.

You’ll love how it’s made with organic ingredients and gentle on your skin. Apply it before you put on your foundation or even in place of your foundation. Either way, it gives your skin a nice natural glow!

Simply throw the pocket-sized stick in your purse and reapply it on your face in the afternoon. When you go for a stroll in the park, watch after-school practices and games, or just take a family walk around the neighborhood, you’ll be ready to go!

Note: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, follow these steps for the best protection with stick sunscreen:

  • For each area of skin you’re protecting, apply four passes back and forth. Doing this will help ensure that you’re using enough sunscreen to be protected.
  • Rub it in afterward for an even layer of coverage.

How Often To Apply Spray Sunscreen

 Two kids in the pool being protected by spray sunscreen

With your little one running around, playing, and getting wet, water-resistant sunscreen is your best option, as we’ve mentioned. But just how often does it need to be applied?

With Babo Botanicals spray sunscreens, follow our steps for application and apply 15 minutes before heading outside. You will then need to reapply another layer of sunscreen after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating.

When you are ready to come inside from a day of fun in the sun, use our After Sun Soothing Hydrating Aloe Vera Gel. This hydrating gel is gentle enough for your entire family, even your little one!

Made with green tea, witch hazel, arnica, and eucalyptus oil, it soothes your skin and promotes healing. All of these natural ingredients work together to make the perfect combination to hydrate your family’s skin.

Apply this gel to your face, body, and even your hair! Use it for:

What makes this after-sun product different from others —besides its natural ingredients — is its non-sticky formula.

You can relax after a day in the sun knowing that your skin is taken care of the natural way with our After Sun Soothing Hydrating Aloe Vera Gel!

Giving Your Family The Best Protection

family having fun outside while wearing spray sunscreen

Summing up what you’ve learned about spray sunscreen, remember to use alternative sun-protection measures for your baby if they’re younger than six months old (for example, keep them in the shade).

Make sure you and your family stay safe by using a non-aerosol spray sunscreen. Aerosol sprays can be dangerous if inhaled, especially to your little baby.

Finally, remember to avoid harsh chemicals, like oxybenzone and octinoxate, and choose a spray made with natural minerals instead.

Give your family the best sun protection with Babo Botanicals's mineral-based sunscreen line!