Consumer Reports recently recommended not spraying sunscreen on children. Past tests of sunscreen by Consumer reports found that some contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which could have nanoparticles — particles known for causing developmental issues in animals. The fear is that children are more susceptible to inhaling the fumes from spray sunscreens. The FDA began investigating this issue back in 2011 and has yet to reveal its findings.
For now, Consumer Reports recommends the following if you use spray sunscreens:
• Don’t use sprays on children, unless you have no other product available. In that case, spray the sunscreen onto your hands and rub it on. As with all sunscreens, be especially careful on the face, taking care to avoid the eyes and mouth.
• Adults can still use sprays—but don’t spray your face! Instead, spray on your hands and rub it on, making sure to avoid your eyes and mouth. And try to avoid inhaling it.
• Make sure you apply enough. Our tests have found that sprays can work well when used properly—but it is harder to make sure that you apply enough, especially when it’s windy. We recommend spraying as much as can be evenly applied, and then repeating, just to be safe. On windy days, you might want to spray the sunscreen on your hands and rub it on—or just choose one of our recommended lotions instead.
You can find the Consumer Reports article here: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2011/07/don-t-spray-sunscreens-on-kids-at-least-for-now/index.htm
The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends never spraying sunscreen around your or your child’s face or mouth and to be mindful of the wind direction to avoid inhalation.
You can find the AAD’s recommendation on sunscreens here: http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens