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Spray on sunscreen warning

Consumer Reports recommends concern over using spray-on suntan protection for children while the Federal Drug Administration conducts studies on its potential dangers. The concerns revolve around the product's coverage and inhalation.

When spray products are applied, a cloud forms. The cloud may spray in a narrow pattern or a wide pattern. One might think the narrow pattern works best on small areas such as hands or face or that the wide pattern is good for large areas such as the back. The concern here is the actual coverage of the product over the skin. The spray itself will not be even. Think about a bull’s-eye diagram. The center will be distinct, while the surrounding area is wider and less impressive. The less impressive part of the application goes airborne vs. on the skin. Sunscreen is only as good as its even coverage.

The spray’s second concern is inhalation. Whether the issue is asthma or cancer, it is never a good idea to inhale chemicals. SPF products include chemicals. Applying sunscreen in spray form allows possible inhalation directly into the lungs. The particles inhaled are pretty much invisible. The lungs supply oxygen to the body. If something toxic is inhaled, the internal body can be exposed to the toxin. The skin absorbs sunscreen chemicals too, but more slowly.

What happens if the closet is full of this spray stuff because it was bought on sale? Use it wisely. Spraying the product in one’s hand at a distance is a safer bet than full exposure around or into the face. This way a person knows how much product is actually going on the skin vs. into the air.

The American Cancer Society suggests that if one wants to hang outdoors to use and reapply often a 30 plus SPF sunscreen, wear light clothing, a hat and sunglasses, and avoid direct sun between 10 in the morning and four in the afternoon.

Be safe. Be aware. That’s always the motto.