Spray sunscreen may take half the time as lotions to apply, but health officials are unsure if they're completely safe.
The Food and Drug Administration announced their investigation of spray sunscreen safety in 2011, but have yet to release a verdict. However, Consumer Reports recently issued a warning against the sprays that advises parents to stay away from using them on children.
"We now say that until the FDA completes its analysis, the products should generally not be used by or on children," says Consumer Reports. "We have also removed one sunscreen spray -- Ocean Potion Kids Instant Dry Mist SPF 50 -- from the group of recommended sunscreens in our sunscreen Ratings, because it is marketed especially for children."
Consumer Reports tested sunscreens in the past and found that those containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide could have nanoparticles -- particles known for causing developmental issues in animals. The FDA's analysis will determine whether these chemicals are more harmful in spray form, since they're more likely to be inhaled by kids.
"Requests arose because sprays are applied differently from other sunscreen dosage forms, such as lotions and sticks," reported the FDA.
The American Academy of Dermatology also warns against sprays. If you're going to use them, they advise to spray on hands first, and then spread on the body -- and to never spray around the face and mouth.
"The question there is what's bad about it? Is it chemicals directly, or is it the fact that the chemicals irritate the lungs, the spray, can it trigger asthma attacks?" pediatrician Dr. Jeffery Simon told news outlet WSFA last month.
While the FDA tries to figure that out, Consumer Reports recommends that adults use the sprays carefully and that kids avoid them altogether.