Are you clamoring for this whipped sunscreen?

Last week, while on a family vacation at a resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, Alexa Johnson picked up a can of something that looked like whipped cream, felt like whipped cream, and made the same sizzling sound as whipped cream. But it wasn’t whipped cream at all. It was sunscreen.

Her children, ages 9 and 6, immediately reached out and applied it generously to their arms and legs.

“It looked ridiculous,” said Ms. Johnson, a 37-year-old branding consultant who lives in Seattle. “We all laughed.”

That’s kind of the point. Marty Bell, a partner at Vacation, a Miami-based sunscreen company that launched Classic Whip sunscreen in August 2022, said the idea came from a brainstorming session that veered toward the topic of food.

“We couldn’t stop laughing at the idea of ​​a sunscreen with whipped cream,” he said. “There’s something incredibly nostalgic and playful about whipped cream,” he said, adding that the team was “determined to find a way to recreate that whole experience with sunscreen.”

Applying sunscreen can be a tricky task in the summer, especially for parents trying to keep their children in check, a group notorious for their objections to sun protection. Brands such as Supergoop, EVY Technology and Vacation have each produced a mousse product that aims to make sun (protection) fun.

Every summer a product like this appears moment on social media. Last August, Kim Kardashian anointed Classic Whip, which retails for $22 a bottle: “disturbed”; Videos mentioning the product continue to receive five million views per week on TikTok, according to Vacation. (In some of the more absurd videos, you can see people trying to eat it — something you absolutely shouldn’t do, Mr. Bell said.)

Holly Thaggard, the founder of Supergoop, which started selling mousse sunscreen in 2017, said it’s essential to make applying sunscreen something people want to do.

“We need more people to find that fun, playful spirit in an activity that saves the world from cancer,” she said.

Indeed, the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, a risk that can be reduced by wearing sunscreen.

“The mousse sunscreens are a new formula from the last three or four years, and they’ve gone a bit viral. The whipped variety in particular is getting a lot of hype,” says Dr. Sheilagh Maguiness, a pediatric dermatologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “Anything that’s new and gets people using sunscreen and getting excited about it is a win.”

She added that this is especially true for teens, who have been exposed to a lot of misinformation about sunscreen and skin cancer.

“I think this is great for them,” said Dr. Maguiness.

With spray-on sunscreens, “you don’t know exactly how much is going to get on your skin,” said Dr. Maguiness. But many people rub mousse in completely. The downside, however, is that it can be difficult to know how much to use. “The mousse is not as thick as cream or lotion, so it can be difficult to determine how much to apply to get that protection.” She said to consult the bottle for advice.

Supergoop’s Ms Thaggard said she came up with the idea for a sunscreen after watching her children at a party. “I was sitting there watching these kids slather themselves in shaving cream, and I thought it was the most fun thing ever,” she said. “I kept thinking, ‘If only this could be sunscreen, no one would ever get sunburned.'”

Many of the popular mousse sunscreens, including Vacation’s and Supergoop’s, are chemical sunscreens and not mineral sunscreens, the former of which can raise environmental red flags, said Dr. Maguiness. “Chemical sunscreens come with their own baggage these days, as some of them are not considered reef safe.”

Douglas Jessmer, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the most important thing an environmentally conscious consumer can do is check the ingredients in a chemical sunscreen to determine if it is harmful to marine life. A list of those ingredients can be found on the National Ocean Service website.

Jennifer Brady, 36, a publicist living in Brooklyn, felt very popular on the beach in East Hampton, NY, last weekend when she tried her whipped sunscreen for the first time: “People came up to me and said, ‘What is this? Can I try?’”

She said the experience made her think about how far sun protection has come.

“In the early 2000s, people were addicted to their tanning beds,” she said. “Now we have this product that not only protects me from sunburn, but it looks cool and draws attention.”

In summary, Ms Brady said: “It has a vibe.”

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