Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Spray-On Sunscreen

Trying to put sunscreen on a young child is about like trying to paint a chicken with a watercolor brush:
1. First, you've got to catch 'em.
2. Then, you've got to hold 'em down long enough to get them covered.

By the time you've done the above, you're too exhausted to go outside (or you've forgotten what you were doing in the first place, or it's now raining, or it's lunch/nap time). You get the idea.

This past weekend, we made a whirlwind trip to the beach to meet up with some friends. Amazingly, Mom-E's morning all-day sickness got better at the beach. I think we'll get her OB to write a prescription for "beach therapy."

Given our past experiences with sunscreen, you can imagine how excited we were to finally own some spray-on sunscreen. (I'm sure it's been available for years, and we're just now getting around to trying it out.)

The brand we bough was called "Up&Up." It was labeled as "sweat-proof", "don't need to rub it in," etc., etc., etc.

Well, we spray-painted sunscreened the boys REALLY well with this stuff (except for their faces, for which we used regular sunscreen). I mean like two coats of "Krylon-new" on a park bench well. Then we reapplied midway through our time at the beach.

Mom-E and I also tried this stuff.

Let me just say that it did NOT work well.

Everyone got some sun burn to some extent. Not terrible, but sun burn of any kind is bad.
Big Brother got the worst of it, but even parts of Little Brother’s arms were red. We also have some interesting tan/burn lines.

Apparently, the stuff is appropriately named, because “Up&Up” refers to what it will do to you long-term skin cancer risk.

If we had it to do all over again, maybe some things on our end would’ve helped: rub in the sunscreen, spray more often, let it dry longer before going back in the water.

The bottom line is that our experience with spray-on sunscreen parallels much of my attitude about life. To do things “right”, to really do a good job, takes an investment of time and effort, whether that’s raising children, a marriage, a job, or a blog.

It reminds me of the quote, “Happiness is the fruit of the desire and ability to sacrifice what we want now for what we want eventually.”

I guess this goes for sunscreen, too. Next time at the beach, we’ll be chasing the chickens boys down to paint them load them up with good old-fashioned sunscreen. “Up&Up” is for the chickens birds.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,


  1. Banana Boat Sport had a great spray on/no rub.

  2. Uncle and I use that sunscreen all the time. In fact that's basically all we used on our honeymoon for a week and didn't get burned. Do you think something was wrong with the brand you tried? BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME!!!! Aunt-E

  3. I tried one of those spray ones too and did not care for it either. For me it smelled like an alcohol based sunscreen. Rosi

  4. I loved your description of trying to round up the kids to get the sunscreen on them. I'm sorry you got burnt. I have very, very sun sensitive skin, so I have to use the sunscreen or I'll burn after minutes in the hot sun. I usually rub it on, not spray it on.
    Glad to hear Busy Mom-E felt better at the beach. Pregnancy nausea is a pain the posterior.

  5. Our little one went to the pool for the first time yesterday. Between the swimp shirt, the bucket hat, the canopy covered floatie, and the 75 spf sun block the sun never had a chance to get that kid.

  6. Wow! Thanks for the head's up. So sorry you and your family had to be the guinea pigs! Have you ever thought of trying a uv protected swim shirt? They have a UPF of 50+ and you don't have to apply sunscreen to the top half of your kids body or worry about reapplying; just the face, ears and neck, legs, feet. My girl's love to put on their UV Skinz swim shirts and they are quick-drying so they can just wear them all day.

  7. I used spray on sun block twice. The first time I had an allergic reaction to it and the second time I got the worst burn of my life. I'm talking... I couldn't wear tennis shoes for a week because my ankles were so swollen.

  8. I use Banana Boat spray on on my red head -- it works great. SPF 50 I think. I can't stand it on myself though...

    Great blog!