Excuse us if we're slathering it on thick, but here at Life Floor, we cannot stand aerosol sunscreen. After more than half a decade in the outdoor and aquatic recreation industry, we've identified this stuff as our arch-nemesis, and we're committed to spreading, and then reapplying, the truth. That being:
1. It's a rip-off.
The average can of aerosol sunscreen costs more than the average bottle of the regular stuff, yet it contains less. You'll also go through that can much faster, because spray sunscreen tends to get on everything other than what you were aiming at. When it does make contact, spray sunscreen doesn't disperse evenly. That's why Consumer Reports recommends that you defeat the product's purpose by spraying the sunscreen into your hand and then rubbing it around.
2. It's bad for you.
When it comes to keeping kids protected, Consumer Reports actually says not to use sprays on children unless you have no other product available. Why? Squirming kids (and adults, really) are likely to inhale the oily mist, which can cause respiratory problems.
3. It's bad for the environment
Aerosol products pollute the air and cause damage to the ozone, which otherwise protects the planet from the sun's damaging ultra-violet rays. Now, are we to believe it's a "mere coincidence" that spray-on sunscreen, also designed to protect you from the sun, in fact damages the earth's natural UV barrier and thus, at least theoretically, creates a need for even more spray-on sunscreen?
Yes, because it's a total coincidence. But it's still pretty fishy.
4. It can damage property
If the sunscreen is sprayed on something, it usually won't come off without extraordinary effort. The oils meld into all sorts of surfaces and materials, especially concrete. Have you ever been to a waterpark and wondered what's with all those large splotches on the deck, and why no one bothers to clean them? Well, they're aerosol sunscreen stains, and when they get on concrete you pretty much can't clean them. And while it's much easier to remove aerosol sunscreen from Life Floor than from concrete, it still needs attention.
5. Aerosol sunscreen can even cause injury
While there are reported cases of people applying spray-on sunscreen and then CATCHING FIRE (seriously, we're not making this up), there are more mundane dangers as well.
In addition to be being ugly, those sunscreen patches can also be slippery. Water will simply sit on top of the oil and, when it gets between your foot and the ground, it can send you flying.
Kids, wear sunscreen. Reapply it. Don't be stupid and don't play games with your skin and your health. But when you are using sunscreen, use the goopy, bottled stuff.
And in the meantime, cans of aerosol sunscreen deserve the same grievance once levied against the killer robots in that classic Saturday Night Live sketch, "Old Glory Insurance": They're everywhere, and we don't even know why the scientists make them.