Why You Should Never Spray Sunscreen on Your Face, According to a Dermatologist

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spray sunscreen face

From organic to broad spectrum, there are loads of SPFs on the market. While there’s no denying the convenience of spray sunscreen, we can’t help but wonder if it works as well as lotion. In particular, can we use spray sunscreen on our face and still reap the benefits?

We recently turned to California-based dermatologist Gloria J. Stevens, MD, who answered all our burning questions about SPF. For example, can I spray sunscreen on my face? And is there a difference between spray sunscreen and lotions? Here’s what Dr. Stevens had to say.

1. Can I use spray sunscreen on my face?

Technically, the answer is yes, since any SPF is better than no SPF. However, Dr. Stevens doesn’t recommend using spray sunscreen directly on your face, since the application isn’t easily controlled.

“I do not recommend using spray sunscreens directly onto the face, as this could result in spraying the sunscreen into the eyes,” she told PureWow.

2. Is there an alternative application method?

Absolutely. Dr. Stevens explained that spray sunscreen can be beneficial when used correctly. She recommended “spraying the sunscreen into your hand and then applying it to your face.” Not only does it ensure an even application, but it also minimizes the chances of getting it in your eyes.

3. Is a lotion—versus a spray—better for my face?

Not necessarily, just as long as you’re applying it correctly. Dr. Stevens revealed that the type of sunscreen (i.e., lotion, spray, etc.) isn’t what she’s worried about—instead, it’s ensuring the product not only protects against UVB rays, but that it also covers broad spectrum (like Neutrogena’s Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen).

“Either is fine, just be sure the sunscreen has an SPF of at least 30, and states that it is broad spectrum,” she said. “SPF measures how much the sunscreen protects against UVB, but UVA protection is also important.”

4. If spray sunscreen gets in my eyes/mouth, what should I do?

First of all, don’t panic. Next, follow standard protocol to flush your eyes, as instructed by Dr. Stevens. “Remove contact lenses if you are wearing them,” she said. “Flush out the eyes with running water if the sunscreen inadvertently gets in your eyes. Then use preservative-free eye drops to ease any discomfort. Cold wet compresses over the eyelids can also be soothing.”

Bottom line: If you have an SPF lotion on hand, you might want to save the spray sunscreen for your body. However, if it’s your only option, be sure to spray it into your hands before applying on your face.

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Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...