Sunscreen woes with Orangeboy

It's the time of year again when the nice weather means sunscreen becomes a daily necessity for fair skin in the South. For years I have been putting daily sunscreen on my little pink kids. Frankly, I get a little tired of it. I've tried every type of sunscreen known to man and discount drug store in an attempt to find the best product with the best value (i.e. the cheapest that works). Spray-on sunscreens go on quickly and easily; but not on the face. Even if you spray it on hands and put it on face, there is alcohol or something "that BURNS!" No matter how carefully I avoid the eyes, they yell, "It burns!" The sunscreen spray is also hard to get off the wall.
So we try the lotion, the cream, the colored stuff, the absorbing sport lotion... and they all burn, or smell funny, or feel yucky, or make someone feel hot. Actually, sunscreen with spf 15 or less is pretty comfortable, but doesn't provide enough protection, of course.
Well, too bad, they are just going to have to suck it up and get used to the unscented, for sensitive skin, fast absorbing, non-running, non-burning spf 40, broad-spectrum, two-dollars-an-ounce stuff anyway! And then if I could just teach Orangeboy how to put sunscreen on himself, I would be in business - or I would have five extra minutes of free time each day. But no. That extra five minutes is a dream that will not be realized in the near future.
Orangeboy just refuses to put the lotion on his palms and slather it on properly. He tries to apply sunscreen by dabbing it on with his fingertips. He would end up being pink and pinkER polka-dotted if I left it to him. He also seems to have an aversion to actually touching his face. His own face. With his own hands. So he looks like he is reluctantly dabbing on expensive parfum. So I show him, once again, how to effectively put on sunscreen, and explain why it's important to get full coverage, and then put it on for him once again.

When we purchased a fresh stock of sunscreen for this season, I asked Orangeboy if he would rather try spray-on sunscreen or lotion. He chose spray-on. I have used spray-on with him many times; especially during swimming weather when we have to cover more skin with sunscreen. I have explained, demonstrated, guided, and applied. So I let him try again this weekend to apply sunscreen by himself. He was outside, already turning pink when I sent him back inside to get on some sunscreen and a hat. I followed him in a couple of minutes later, and Orangeboy was standing in the bathroom muttering,
"Owww, ohh, owww, oh."
I peek in and he's just standing there with his eyes scrunched shut and tears streaming down his face, and a bottle of spray-on sunscreen sitting there on the counter. I knew instantly that he had sprayed himself in the face. As I tried to help him wipe the stuff out of his eyes, I gently reminded him that one is not supposed to spray sunscreen directly into ones face by saying,
(I know, I know, this is why I cringe when someone comes up to me and tells me what a wonderful mother and good, sweet person I am.)

So I guess I'll have to draw some diagrams and make up some social stories about applying stuff to our bodies if I want those extra five minutes.


  1. Ugh, poor OrangeBoy!

    I wonder whether he'd do better about applying his own sunscreen if he didn't have to use his hands. Maybe he could use a washcloth or something similar to apply it to his body?

  2. I totally resent the sunscreen too, even though I scream and wail every time it rains. The smell, the cost, the time, the squirming, the complaining (theirs and mine). No one's happy about it.


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