They May Be Convenient, But They Aren’t Effective: Spray Sunscreen and Other Products That Are a Waste of Your Time

girl checking her acne in mirror

Careful before you reach for the easy acne fix | iStock/Getty Images

It seems like there are countless products out there for every skin, hair, and nail “issue” the internet can convince you exists. Still, some products are necessary, while others are just a waste of time and money.

So how do you weed out the treatments that will keep your skin glowing and hair shining versus the ones that could potentially do damage? We’ve researched the products that come off as an easy fix — but may not be as effective as you thought.

Toothpaste as an acne cure

Growing up you were probably taught that a dab of toothpaste could calm down a red pimple overnight. According to New York City dermatologist¬†Rachel Nazarian, the logic is sound — but it may not clear everything up.

“Thought to be helpful because of its antibacterial nature, toothpaste is essentially a super concentrated cleanser,” she said. “Yes, it kills bacteria on the skin, but all those extra additives and foaming agents also destroy the delicate skin barrier.” This means you may develop red, discolored patches where the zit used to be.

Rather than take a risk on toothpaste, pick up salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide creams to treat pesky zits. Nazarian recommended Neosporin which offers “the same benefits [as toothpaste], without the added irritation.”

Sun-In for hair highlights

Plenty of blondes preach the cheap, easy method: use Sun-In during a beach day rather than spending time and money for salon-style highlights. And while a bit of spray and salt water might seem like the natural method, it isn’t actually a safe way to lighten your hair.

“That kind of product causes a chemical reaction with your hair … you have to remember that it will still be there and could cause damage later in the game,” celebrity colorist Aura Friedman told Teen Vogue.

Same goes for squeezing lemon into your conditioner. “Lemon juice does lighten hair, but it can also be dangerous. It’s so acidic it can burn your hair,” Friedman said. Although it’s expensive, your best bet for hair color is probably consulting a professional stylist.

Spray-on sunscreen — it’s bad for you and the environment

Woman applying sunscreen

Woman applying sunscreen | Fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

Sunscreen is FDA-approved for your skin, but it doesn’t mean it’s great for your health overall. When the FDA investigated the potentially harmful effects of inhaling your sunscreen, it found that breathing in the aerosol from spray-on bottles could seriously damage your lungs.

“These high-alcohol formulas could irritate the lungs, and their ingredients could be absorbed into the bloodstream,” a senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group explained.

And while there’s no denying that spraying on your sunscreen is the easiest way to apply, it doesn’t give you as much sun protection as a lotion. Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler told The Daily Mail that “sprays do not have consistent coverage” and can leave you more susceptible to UV damage and sunburn.

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