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  4. 9 Best Sunscreen Sprays in 2022 (Dermatologist-Reviewed)
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9 Best Sunscreen Sprays in 2022 (Dermatologist-Reviewed)

Sunburns can feel miserable, and what's worse, unprotected exposure to sun could cause cancer or skin damage. That's why it's really important to use sunscreen with the right SPF to avoid harmful UV rays. Sunscreen sprays can be a quick and efficient way to protect your skin from the sun's rays, as they often require little to no rubbing for full absorption into your skin. They may also feel less sticky and greasy upon application.


If you're wondering which sunscreen spray to choose, we combed through reviews on Amazon and created a list of 9 recommendations. Our favorite was Banana Boat's Ultra Sport Sunscreen Spray since its sweat-resistant formula and incredibly high SPF rating make it beneficial for any type of outing. Read on for the rest of our picks, as well as buying guide reviewed by a board certified dermatologist!

Last updated 09/26/2023
Dr. Lauren Levy
Expert
Board Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Lauren Levy

Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients.

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Table of Contents

How to Choose Sunscreen Sprays

Choosing a suitable sunscreen spray is not easy, since there are various products with somewhat similar ingredients. Therefore, you need to think about factors such as the type of the sunscreen and the SPF ratings to ensure that the product actually works for you. Take a look at this buying guide for more details!

1

Choose the Right Level of Protection

Choose the Right Level of Protection

SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a number that shows how well a sunscreen can protect the skin from UVB, rays which are the main cause of sunburns and skin cancers. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the SPF number is, the more protection you get.


Typically, an SPF 15 sunscreen can block about 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 can stop 97 percent, SPF 50 approximately 98 percent, and SPF 100 about 99 percent. It's important to keep in mind that no sunscreen can filter out 100 percent of UVB rays. Generally, dermatologists suggest that you choose sunscreens with high SPF ratings (SPF 15 or 30 or higher).


However, the SPF number does not indicate how often you should reapply the sunscreen. No matter how high the SPF rating is, the Federal Food and Drug Administration recommends that people reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, and more when swimming or sweating. Be sure to check the sunscreen label for their application recommendations. 

Dr. Lauren Levy
Board Certified DermatologistDr. Lauren Levy

I like to recommend higher SPF when it comes to spray-on sunscreens. This is because when you apply a spray, much of the product can get blown away. 


For a long day outside, choose a higher level of SPF and make sure you reapply. Sprays are great when you're alone, because they make it easier to protect your back. 

2

Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Sprays Provide Optimal Protection

Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Sprays Provide Optimal Protection

Many people think that SPF is the only number to pay attention to, but that does not say anything about UVA rays. It's important to know that both of these UV rays can do harm to your body. According to the American Cancer Society, UVB rays can lead to sunburns and skin cancers, and UVA rays can cause premature aging and skin cancer as well! 


Therefore, you should choose sunscreens that are labeled "broad spectrum" to ensure that your skin is protected against both UVA and UVB rays. According to the FDA, products labeled "broad spectrum" have a UVA protection level equivalent to the SPF rating. 

3

Pick a Product With Added Nutrients for Skincare

Pick a Product With Added Nutrients for Skincare

The free radicals generated by UV exposure have been shown to degrade the quality of your skin and accelerate the aging process. Sadly, even a high SPF sunscreen cannot completely shield your skin from those stubborn free radicals. This is especially true of the skin on your face, which is often quite exposed.


To help neutralize free radical damage better, many brands add antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, or ferulic acid. Some facial sunscreens are also formulated with ceramides to help lock in moisture and keep your skin hydrated all the time. 


If you're looking for some added benefits besides UV ray protection, then look for products with nourishing antioxidants and hydrating ingredients

4

Decide Between Mineral and Chemical Sunscreens

There are two types of sunscreens: chemical-based and mineral-based. Each type has its own pros and cons, so take these into consideration before you choose a product! 

Chemical Sunscreens Are Effective but With Caveats

Chemical Sunscreens Are Effective but With Caveats

Chemical sunscreens often contain active chemicals such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, or octocrylene. They work by absorbing and dissipating the sun's UV rays.


Compared to mineral sunscreens, chemical sprays absorb into your skin quicker and don't leave behind a white residue on the skin. However, chemical sunscreens might trigger allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin or worsen skin conditions such as melasma or rosacea.


Furthermore, some UV blockers such as oxybenzone or octinoxate have been shown to damage coral reefs. So, if you want to look for a reef-friendly option, make sure the ingredients list doesn't contain any of the chemicals that are detrimental to reefs. 

Mineral Sunscreens Work Fast and Are Friendly to Sensitive Skin

Mineral Sunscreens Work Fast and Are Friendly to Sensitive Skin

Mineral sunscreens, otherwise known as physical sunscreens, are formulated with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Once applied, they form a protective barrier on your skin and reflect damaging UV rays. Unlike chemical sunscreens, which take about 20 to 30 minutes to actually take effect, mineral sunscreens scatter UV rays immediately after they're applied


But mineral sunscreens are not always the best option. You'll need to reapply mineral sunscreen more frequently. Moreover, mineral sunscreens tend to leave behind an annoying white residue on your skin. The texture might be a bit thicker than that of a chemical sunscreen, so make sure to really rub the mineral sunscreen in. 


Still, mineral sunscreens have been shown to be gentle on sensitive skin and safe for babies as well as pregnant women. So if your skin is easily irritated, look into a mineral product instead! 

Dr. Lauren Levy
Board Certified DermatologistDr. Lauren Levy

Many of the spray mineral blockers are thicker than chemical blockers. They're also less oily, making them a good choice for those with acne or oily skin. I recommend mineral-based sprays to those who have sun sensitivity or for those who are on photosensitizing meds.

5

Think About Water-Resistant Sunscreens if You're Active

Think About Water-Resistant Sunscreens if You're Active

If you usually exercise outdoors, go swimming, or just sweat a lot, you should definitely consider using a water-resistant product to keep your skin protected even after sweating or exposure to water


Note that if you're toweling off after getting out of the water, you might be rubbing off sunscreen, so be sure to reapply. Some sunscreens may even be designed to be applied to wet skin so you don't have to wait to dry off!


However, you should keep in mind that "water-resistant" doesn't equal "waterproof". Water-resistant sunscreens typically last for either 40 or 80 minutes after your skin gets wet, so you should reapply sunscreen after that time period! 

6

Figure Out What Ingredients You're Comfortable With

Some products highlight the fact that they are don't contain a variety of ingredients, such as oil, PABA, or parabens. That doesn't mean these ingredients are inherently bad or harmful. It can be confusing to determine what's safe and what's potentially risky, especially since studies aren't currently conclusive either way.

Check for Reef-Safe and Eco-Friendly Options

Check for Reef-Safe and Eco-Friendly Options

The best strategy is to do some research yourself to learn more about these ingredients and weigh the pros and cons of using a product that contains them depending on your skin type and personal preferences. If you're eco-conscious, also read up on how different ingredients affect the environment. 


When it comes to finding a sunscreen spray that is safe for ocean habitats, do keep in mind that "reef-safe" is a label that's not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. To be reef-safe, sunscreens must not contain oxybenzone or octinoxate. 


Unfortunately, even products free of those chemicals may contain other ingredients that could cause harm to the reefs, such as octocrylene, PABA, and homosalate. You can look online for more complete lists of chemicals that might be marine pollutants


Look up the ingredients on the back of the bottle and investigate whether they are reef friendly. You can do web searches, look for more information on the manufacturer's website, or contact the manufacturer directly with questions. If you're traveling to an ocean location, make sure you're aware of any sunscreen bans and find a product that will meet the standards. 

Also Check the Nanometers

Also Check the Nanometers

Also check the size of the particles in your sunscreen. A reef-safe sunscreen should be non-nanotized, that is, the particles should be larger than 100 nanometers. If they're any smaller, they can be absorbed by reefs and damage or kill coral. 


Another consideration is your own health: inhaling nanoparticles from spray sunscreen could pose respiratory risks. Keep this in mind when deciding if a spray or lotion sunscreen works best for you. If you do choose a spray sunscreen, be sure to apply safely and be conscious of people downwind from you who could also be exposed to the emitted nanoparticles. 

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9
Best Sunscreen Sprays Ranking

Here are the best Sunscreen Sprays, ranked according to 9 Best Sunscreen Sprays (as of 11-04-2022). The products are ranked independently by mybest.
Popularity
Products
Image
Click to purchase
Key features
1

Banana Boat

Ultra Sport Sunscreen Spray

Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Spray 1枚目

Best High SPF Chemical Sunscreen for Sports or Water Activities

2

Babo Botanicals

Sheer Zinc Sunscreen

Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Sunscreen 1枚目

Best Baby-Safe Sunscreen Spray That Absorbs Quickly

3

Neutrogena

Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen2 pack

Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen 1枚目

Best Chemical Sunscreen for Oily and Sensitive Skin Types

4

Hawaiian Tropic

Silk Hydration Weightless Clear Spray Sunscreen

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Clear Spray Sunscreen 1枚目

Best Chemical Sunscreen for Lightweight Application and Moisturizing Ingredients

5

Babyganics

Sunscreen Spray 2 pack

Babyganics  Sunscreen Spray  1枚目

Best Mineral Sunscreen Spray With Fruit-Based Nutrients

6

Bare Republic

Bare Republic  1枚目

Best Vegan Mineral Spray With Organically-Sourced Ingredients

7

Alba Botanica

Hawaiian SunscreenCoconut Clear Spray

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen 1枚目

Best Emollient-Infused Sunscreen With Natural Fragrance

8

Sun Bum

Mineral Sunscreen Spray

Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Spray 1枚目

Best Mineral Sunscreen With a Matte Finish

9

Australian Gold

Continuous Spray Sunscreen with Instant Bronzer

Australian Gold Continuous Spray Sunscreen with Instant Bronzer 1枚目

Best Bronzing Sunscreen With Anti-Aging Ingredients

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

Banana BoatUltra Sport Sunscreen Spray

Ultra Sport Sunscreen Spray Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Ultra Sport Sunscreen Spray Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$9.97
Reference price
$9.97

Best High SPF Chemical Sunscreen for Sports or Water Activities

Pros: 

  • Sweat-resistant formula makes it ideal for sports
  • High SPF rating means long-lasting protection in sunny conditions
  • Lightweight texture for comfortable application

Cons: 


If you're super active, check out this Ultra Sport Sunscreen Spray with a lightweight breathable formula that stands up to various intense outdoor activities. It has a lightweight texture and offers an SPF rating of 100, which should keep your skin safe even in scorching conditions.


Some reviewers complained that the smell of the sunscreen was unpleasant, and a few said they thought the texture felt uncomfortably oily. Nevertheless, many reviewers said that the spray was comfortable and effective in preventing sunburn. They were impressed that one application provided long-lasting protection and held up against sweat and water. 

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No.2

Babo BotanicalsSheer Zinc Sunscreen

Reference price
$18.02

Best Baby-Safe Sunscreen Spray That Absorbs Quickly

Pros: 

  • Safe for all ages, even infants
  • Contains nourishing, plant-based oils like safflower and avocado for nourishment and moisturization 
  • Completely reef-safe and cruelty-free
  • Formulated to be sheer (for a mineral sunscreen) and wash off easily
  • Ingredients are gentle on sensitive skin types
  • Minimal scent

Cons: 

  • While more lightweight and clear than most mineral sunscreens, it will still leave a white residue

Babo is a certified Brand is certified as a B Corporation, meaning it aims to remain transparent about its social and environmental impact. This sunscreen spray is safe for reefs and certified as organic. While no mineral sunscreen is truly sheer, this one has been formulated to be as lightweight and subtle as possible


Many reviewers reported that the sunscreen did not spray sheer and was hard to rub in, leaving a chalky white finish. Still, many others loved that the product had a light consistency that didn't make their skin feel greasy or sticky at all. They also appreciated that the sunscreen had little to no odor.

No.3

NeutrogenaWet Skin Kids Sunscreen2 pack

Reference price
$29.66

Best Chemical Sunscreen for Oily and Sensitive Skin Types

Pros: 

  • Formulated to be hypoallergenic and oil-free
  • Can be applied to wet skin
  • Non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores
  • Safe for children and adults
  • Broad-spectrum for maximum protection

Cons: 

  • Bottles are on the smaller side
  • Contains oxybenzone, which is harmful to reefs

While this is a Neutrogena aerosolized sunscreen, it isn't on the recall list for recent benzene concerns and is therefore safe for general use. Neutrogena's sunscreen spray is hypoallergenic and contains no oils, meaning it's a good choice for those with sensitive or oily skin


Some buyers noted that the spray didn't protect them from sunburn as effectively as they would have liked. Still, many were pleased with how effectively the sunscreen protected them, adding that it sprayed on very evenly. Parents were especially grateful that they could apply it on their kids' wet skin without leaving an unpleasant white residue. 

No.4

Hawaiian TropicSilk Hydration Weightless Clear Spray Sunscreen

Reference price
$8.92

Best Chemical Sunscreen for Lightweight Application and Moisturizing Ingredients

Pros: 

  • Contains hydrating ingredients like aloe vera extract and mineral oil
  • Formulated to be smooth and lightweight, making it easy to rub in
  • Traces of multiple fruit extracts offer nutrients and antioxidants

Cons: 

  • Contains a small percentage of homosalate, which isn't reef-friendly

This weightless sunscreen spray is made with a special breathable formula that gives the product a lightweight texture so you can barely feel it on your skin. As a bonus, you'll get up to 12 hours of hydration in addition to broad-spectrum coverage. It's also scented to smell like a tropical fruit mix, so if you enjoy perfumed sunscreens it may be a good choice. 


A few reviewers reported receiving fake products, so we've included a second EC site for you to buy from if you're worried. For the most part, though this sunscreen spray is incredibly popular for how lightweight and silky it feels when rubbed into the skin. They added that it doesn't feel greasy but still moisturized their skin and prevented sunburn effectively. 

No.5

Babyganics Sunscreen Spray 2 pack

Reference price
$19.98

Best Mineral Sunscreen Spray With Fruit-Based Nutrients

Pros: 

  • Safe for infants 
  • Contains antioxidants and nourishing, hydrating ingredients from seed oil mix
  • Lasts 80 minutes per application
  • Contains glycerin, which acts as a moisturizer

Cons: 


Because of zinc oxide, this broad-spectrum sunscreen sprays on white so it's plain to see if you missed any spots and thus easier to ensure you get full coverage. If you want to eliminate some of the white streaks, you'll have to rub the sunscreen in a bit. This sunscreen is formulated with an enriched blend of seed oils to nourish your skin.


Some reviewers had difficulties with the spraying mechanism after excessive use, while others warned that knock-off products were being sold on Amazon. However, other reviewers were pleased, praising how the product sprayed and spread easily on the skin. Many users with sensitive skin or allergies found that the product was a great alternative to other sunscreens.

No.6

Bare Republic

Reference price
$14.99

Best Vegan Mineral Spray With Organically-Sourced Ingredients

Pros: 

  • Completely safe for reef swimming
  • Ingredients are vegan, cruelty-free, and organically-sourced
  • Contains antioxidant-heavy ingredients like raspberry, carrot, and grape seed oils
  • Shea butter content moisturizes skin

Cons: 

  • Has a thicker consistency than chemical sprays and may leave a white cast

Bare Republic's mineral sunscreen spray features a sweet, natural fragrance and an SPF rating of 30. It's water-resistant and contains nourishing, natural ingredients to keep your skin healthy while you're out in the sun. The formula is also free of all chemicals and nano-particles that might be harmful to reefs.


There have been complaints that the sunscreen's consistency is too thick. Some reviewers said clogged the nozzle. However, this sunscreen is one of the more popular mineral sprays due to its delicious smell and how lightweight it feels. Reviewers added that they loved the natural ingredients and how lightweight the spray felt on their skin.

No.7

Alba BotanicaHawaiian SunscreenCoconut Clear Spray

Reference price
$12.14

Best Emollient-Infused Sunscreen With Natural Fragrance

Pros: 

  • Natural fragrance from coconut fruit extract
  • Contains natural botanical emollients like aloe vera and shea butter for moisturization

Cons: 


Alba Botanical's Hawaiian Sunscreen is made with vegetarian ingredients. Furthermore, it's infused with moisturizing botanical emollients such as shea butter and aloe vera. The spray is lightweight and shouldn't leave your skin feeling greasy. 


Some reviewers complained that the product left behind a sticky residue that was hard to wash off. On the other hand, happy reviewers said that the product was safe and worked well for those with sensitive skin. Others added that the product had a pleasant aroma, sprayed evenly, and was easy to use. 

No.8

Sun BumMineral Sunscreen Spray

Reference price
$17.97

Best Mineral Sunscreen With a Matte Finish

Pros: 

  • Cruelty-free
  • Sprays on with a matte finish, making it a great choice for applying over makeup
  • Reef-safe and enriched with plant-based moisturizing ingredients

Cons: 

  • Leaves a white cast on skin
  • Sunscreen's consistency is almost too thick to spray properly

Sun Bum's hypoallergenic sunscreen is made with zinc oxide and is reef-friendly. The lightweight and silky texture of the sunscreen will leave your skin with a matte finish. In addition to SPF 30 protection against the sun's rays, this spray also provides hydration to your skin from ingredients like seed-based oils and glycerin.


Unfortunately, many reviewers found that the spray was more like a lotion in terms of consistency, saying that it often clogged the nozzle and didn't rub in well. Still, many others were happy to have a reef-safe and all-natural option. They said it was effective at protecting against sunburn and was gentle on sensitive skin.

No.9

Australian GoldContinuous Spray Sunscreen with Instant Bronzer

Continuous Spray Sunscreen with Instant Bronzer Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Continuous Spray Sunscreen with Instant Bronzer Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$13.81
Reference price
$13.81

Best Bronzing Sunscreen With Anti-Aging Ingredients

Pros: 

  • Offers UV protection as well as bronzing
  • Extract from Australian kakadu plum helps prevent aging
  • Oil-free formula is ideal for oily skin types

Cons: 


This oil-free sunscreen contains native Australian kakadu plum that helps rejuvenate your skin and slow down the aging process. Furthermore, the two-in-one sunscreen and bronzer give your skin some color and a glowing look. The product is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. 


A handful of reviewers were dissatisfied because the sprayer arrived broken or stopped working, leaving them with an unusable bottle of sunscreen. Meanwhile, others complimented the spray for giving them a beautiful tan and glow and said the scent was very tropical in comparison to the chemical smell of other sunscreens. 

Dr. Levy's Take on the Banned Spray Sunscreens List

Dr. Levy's Take on the Banned Spray Sunscreens List

Dr. Levy says, "In May 2021, Valisure, an independent lab, released their findings that some sunscreens contain benzene. This is a chemical that could cause cancer when used for long periods of time


It's important to note that only trace amounts of benzene were found in the sunscreens and that the significance of their presence isn't fully known yet. However, many of the sunscreens reported were in fact sunscreen sprays. You can find the full list here


In response, Neutrogena issued a recall of their sunscreen sprays that were on the list in July 2021. This is simply something to keep in mind when you shop for sunscreen sprays. Be sure to check the label carefully if you're worried about benzene in your sunscreen." 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you're still feeling a bit lost on the topic of sunscreen sprays, be sure to keep reading for our answers to some commonly asked questions. 

Do spray on sunscreens work?

Spray-on sunscreens work about as effectively as their lotion-based counterparts, but you should take a little more care when applying a sunscreen spray. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that an effective sunscreen spray must have an SPF rating of at least 30


Be sure to spray each part of your skin until it shines. If the bottle has a set time for spraying, refer to this time for the best results. If you apply your sunscreen spray properly, it will be just as effective as a lotion-based sunscreen. 

Will my sunscreen spray explode on the plane?

Sunscreen sprays are considered safe for airplanes, and there are no known cases in which an aerosol sunscreen has exploded mid-flight. 


Still, the TSA does limit sunscreen sprays to 3.4 ounces per can if you plan to bring your sunscreen as a carry-on item. Make sure that the can is stowed in a zippable plastic bag to avoid any spillage. 


If you want to pack your sunscreen in your checked luggage, there isn't currently a size limit for spray cans. It's still a good idea to pack your sunscreen in a plastic bag, just in case the can develops a leak. You don't want to get sunscreen on your clothes. 

Explore More Sunscreen Options

Amazon's Best-Selling Sunscreens

If you're still looking for a new sunscreen, check out Amazon's recommended products. This list includes both spray-on sunscreens and lotion-based, if you want to look at another type of UV protection. 

In Collaboration With Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Lauren Levy

Dr. Lauren Levy
Board Certified DermatologistDr. Lauren Levy

This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.

Top 5 Sunscreen Sprays

No. 1: Banana BoatUltra Sport Sunscreen Spray

No. 2: Babo BotanicalsSheer Zinc Sunscreen

No. 3: NeutrogenaWet Skin Kids Sunscreen2 pack

No. 4: Hawaiian TropicSilk Hydration Weightless Clear Spray Sunscreen

No. 5: Babyganics Sunscreen Spray 2 pack

View Full Ranking
The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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