The Truth About Spray Sunscreen

Spray sunscreen is one of the most popular ways to apply sunscreen on active outdoor days. But not all spray sunscreen is created equal and if you or your family has ever experienced a burning, itching result using one, you know what we mean. To be clear, this post NOT about mineral vs. chemical sunscreen — it’s a resource for identifying the questionable, flammable and irritating ingredients that make up most aerosol sunscreen sprays on the shelf.  This is true of BOTH mineral and chemical sprays.


The majority of spray sunscreens actually use highly flammable chemicals and thinners like denatured alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to expel the formula mist. On the label, you can spot flammable propellants by looking for ingredients like Isobutane, Butane or Propane, for example.  Besides flammabilty (eek), these ingredients are also highly irritating and are absorbed into the skin at high levels given the amount that can be found in a single sunscreen can*.   

So just how much propellant is in the can? A reputable 2021 study out of Australia* showed that aerosol / propellant-based sunscreen sprays often contain between 27% and a whopping 87% propellant, which is mixing with your sunscreen formula.  That translates to MORE exposure to questionable ingredients and LESS sunscreen in the can than you may think. That doesn't sit right with us. 

So, when we decided to formulate a mineral spray sunscreen for our Go! Collection, we knew new we had to find a better solution for our skin, health and planet. As a result, our non-aerosol sunscreen spray uses a bag-on-valve technology, which keeps the sunscreen formula safely contained and uses compressed air versus propellent to expel the sunscreen, so you can feel good that the only liquid spraying onto your skin is the mineral sunscreen itself and not flammable or questionable propellants.  


Additionally, for those with sensitive skin, be aware of other very common spray ingredients like denatured alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and "fragrance," both of which can be very irritating and cause the burning sensation so many people experience when using these spray products. In fact, a recent Instragram poll of our Solara community found that 90% of followers had an unpleasant experience applying a spray sunscreen. 

We always say, the truth is in the ingredient list.


From hiking locally to swimming in Hawaii, our products are meant to be enjoyed under the sun, in the water and out in nature. This is at the forefront of everything we formulate and played a major role in how we created our Go! Mineral Defense SPORT Superfruit + Aloe Sunscreen Mist. It’s also why we chose the more expensive route of bag on valve technology over questionable, VOC heavy and flammable aerosol propellants. 

After all, VOCs have shown to be harmful to both the environment and human health, resulting in issues like respiratory problems, headaches, and dizziness in addition to permeating the air. VOCs are often found in paints, paint thinners and the propellants of aerosol products like sunscreen, hairspray and even in spray oils in the cooking aisle! 


The number one sunscreen spray mistake? Not rubbing it in. All sunscreen sprays (even chemical sprays that go on clear) should be rubbed into the skin to ensure adequate coverage.

Use the proper amount! Just because the lotion is dispersing on the skin in a fine mist does not mean you don't need as much or need to apply as frequently.  Follow the label instructions!

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