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Sunscreen Spray vs Lotion: Which is Best?

By now, you already know that sunscreen (with SPF 30 or higher) is a Holy Grail in skincare. However, choosing the type of sunscreen to use can be quite tough for some of us. Sunscreen comes in different forms, but the two common types you’ll find out there are sunscreen sprays/mist and lotions.


We often get questions like “should I buy a spray option?” Or “should I just stick to my lotion?” If this sounds like you, we’ve created this guide to help you make a sound choice.


At the end of this post, you’ll learn the benefits and how to include both in your sun protection routine.


Spray Sunscreen Benefits

Spray sunscreen is a continuous mist that is applied in tiny droplets over the skin for sun protection. It is formulated with traditional UV-protecting components alongside natural ingredients that replenish the skin. This type of sunscreen is great for harder-to-reach areas of your body such as the ears, back, and behind your legs.


We love spray sunscreen because it is convenient to use and great for touch ups. When you’re outside, reapplying sunscreen becomes super easy with a spray. You’ll only need to move to a well-ventilated area and puff the mist over your body for a few seconds. It melts into your skin and you’re good to go!


Do you find yourself rushing out of the house most days without sun protection? If yes, a spray-on might be just what you need. It is compact and you can spray on the go without making a mess.


Mists are lightweight and do not cause any greasiness. All you need to do is to spray a thick layer of mist, rub the liquid vigorously, and wait till your skin absorbs all the formula. Within a few minutes, you’ll find no trace of it.


Sunscreen spray is perfect for all skin types, especially oily skin.


Sunscreen Lotion Benefits

Sunscreen lotion is a lightweight, cream-based product formulated with active components to protect you from sun exposure. Lotion sunscreen, especially the broad-spectrum type, does a great job at warding off the sun’s harmful UV rays. Also, it rejuvenates your skin with healthy  ingredients.


Lotions with SPF 30 or higher guarantees sun protection for longer periods. However, you may need to reapply every two hours if you’re spending a long time under the sun or engaging in physical activity that causes sweating. To achieve maximum UV protection with lotions is simple. For your face and neck, you need approximately half a teaspoon of lotion, while for your body you need an ounce of product. Rub the cream gently until it dissolves into your skin leaving no white cast or greasiness.


Lotions are excellent for all skin types, especially dry and dehydrated skin.


Spray Vs. Lotion: What is the Difference? 

Spray and lotion sunblock provide similar solutions but they are used for different reasons. The major difference is their texture. Spray products are liquid-based while lotions are emulsion-based. Both types are regulated by the FDA and have the same SPF levels on their package.


Dr. Del Campo, a board- certified dermatologist based in Chicago says;


“Yes —  between a lotion that has SPF 30 and a spray that’s SPF 30, they are equivalent.”


His statement is buttressed by Clinical Professor of Dermatology, Dr. Rajani Kattan who states that;


“Both lotion sunscreen and spray sunscreen can be effective as long as they’re used correctly.”


When to Use Spray Sunscreen for Face & Body

Spray sunscreen is recommended for use all year round – winter, spring, summer, and fall. Why? You may ask. The sun emits Ultraviolet rays every single day – even when it is very cloudy outside. So, we suggest you apply a mist sunscreen every time you’re stepping outside – whether you’re going grocery shopping in winter, taking a dip in the pool during summer or having fun with your kids at the park during springtime.


Tips on How to Apply Sunscreen Spray

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, this is how you should use sunscreen spray.


Keep the spray close to your skin. 

Before you spray the mist, ensure that the nozzle of the spray is close to your skin, then spray a generous amount of product on the surface of your skin. Proceed to massage the product gently into your skin.


Avoid spraying directly on your face. 

Spray the mist into your palms before applying it to your face gently. Avoid sensitive areas such as your mouth and eyes.


How to know if you are spraying correctly.

You’ll know if you’re spraying your sunscreen correctly when you notice your skin is glistening after a few seconds. To avoid missing an area on your body, spray the mist evenly before rubbing.  “I recommend that you spray and then you make sure that you rub it in so that you’re not missing any spots,” says Dr. Kattan.


Also, Boston-based dermatologist, Dr. Allison Larson hammers on spraying your body until it glistens and she explains further; “Too many people simply spray in the general direction of their skin without paying attention to whether visible liquid is coating the intended area of the body.”


When to Use Sunscreen Lotion

Sunscreen lotion is ideal for everyday use, especially when you’re outside. Whether you’re cycling, driving, or visiting the beach, you should slather your lotion prior to stepping out. Even when you’re indoors, you should consider layering lotion at least once because UVB rays can infiltrate windows and penetrate your skin.


How To Use Lotion Sunscreen

  • Apply just enough lotion to cover you all-round.
  • Use a handful/ounce of cream for even coverage.
  • Apply a thick layer of the cream.
  • Apply generously to all areas of your body that may be exposed to the sun. Do not forget harder-to-reach areas such as the top of your feet, ears, your head, back, shoulders, and the back of your legs.
  • Avoid delicate parts such as the eyes. If you’re wearing a bikini, exercise care when rubbing in the product.


When To Apply Sunscreen Lotion

  • For adequate UV protection, apply lotion approximately 30 minutes before you step out under the sun.
  • Always reapply sunblock after perspiration/sweating or swimming.
  • If you’re outside a lot, apply sunscreen every hour or two. But if you’re at home, a one-time application is suitable.


Is Spray or Lotion Sunscreen Better?

Both lotion and spray sunscreen achieve the same goals.


“Yes, spray sunscreen is as effective as lotion sunscreen, but board-certified dermatologists say both must be applied correctly to work best.” health-based website, VERIFY quotes.


Having tried both types, we couldn’t agree more.


You can opt for either of the two after weighing your options. Ensure you choose the type that you’ll use consistently.


Dr. Larson adds that you can use a spray-on or lotion as long as you use the required quantity, use SPF that is high enough, and reapply round the clock. She suggests using lotions for areas such as the face, while sprays for body coverage.


Does Spray Sunscreen Work as well as Sunscreen Lotion?

Spray products are amazing and they work as well as their lotion counterparts. However, to get solid sun protection from them, you’ll have to spray and rub them on your skin before and after you step out.


Is Spray Sunscreen Safe and Effective?

Spray Sunscreen is safe and effective when used correctly. As a safety precaution, avoid using a spray sunblock in a windy environment, as most of the product may get lost in the wind. Furthermore, spray sunblock is flammable, so use it in areas that are not inflammable.


Conclusively, spray/mist sunscreens are effective, and they do a similar job as lotions. Both options need time, effort, and expertise to apply. Also, keep in mind that you may need to reapply them after every 2 hours.


Choosing the Right Sunscreen Lotion and Spray Products

BGS Sunscreen Spray Options

This kid-friendly spray with carrot seed and sunflower oils, is perfect for kids who want to have some fun under the sun. Looking for a suncare product that repairs your child’s skin during play time? This is it.


The soothing formula leaves no sticky residue on the skin. If your kid breaks into a sweat or dashes to the pool after using this product, you need not worry about UV radiation because this spray is water-resistant. It is reef-friendly, too.


This continuous mist with SPF 30 is infused with botanicals such as jojoba and avocado oil for skin nourishment. The Make it Glow Spray is a water-resistant formula that functions optimally for 80 minutes even while you sweat or swim. It is compact and leaves no white residue. Other perks associated with using this product is that it is ocean-friendly and free of toxic chemicals such as parabens.


BGS Sunscreen Lotion Options

This moisturizing sunscreen is a crowd pleaser. It is suitable for indoor and outdoor use, and glides effortlessly under your makeup. Unlike traditional sunscreen which leaves a white cast, this formula dries completely clear.


In addition to being a rave-worthy UV protection product, this lotion nourishes, repairs and refreshes your child’s skin. This kiddies lotion is hypoallergenic and free from toxic compounds such as silicones, aluminum, and parabens.