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How Do I Choose the Best Insect Repellent Sunscreen?

By Christina Edwards
Updated Feb 22, 2024
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A compound known as DEET is considered to be the best insect repellent, but many experts do not advise reapplying this chemical to the skin more than every six hours. Since sunscreen should be reapplied every couple of hours, an insect repellent sunscreen with natural insect repellents may be the best choice for prolonged sun exposure. You should also consider a product with a high sun protection factor (SPF) that protects against the two main types of ultraviolet rays.

One of the first things to consider when choosing the best insect repellent sunscreen is what type of bug repellent it contains. Insect repellents that contain DEET are generally considered the most effective at preventing bug bites. This substance can be toxic in very high quantities. Many experts agree it can cause an adverse reaction when it is constantly reapplied to the skin in sunscreen.

Sunscreen should typically be reapplied to the skin every two hours, or sooner if the user was swimming or sweating heavily. Products containing DEET, on the other hand, should only be reapplied every three to eight hours. While you can use an insect repellent sunscreen that contains DEET, it may be best for short periods of time in the sun.

A number of DEET alternatives are available, but they are not always as effective as DEET. Many of them contain natural plant oils and extracts, and they are considered to be safe to reapply every hour or two. A DEET-free insect repellent sunscreen may be your best option if you will be out in the sun for more than an hour or two.

The SPF of an insect repellent sunscreen is also important. Most experts recommend sunscreens with an SPF of at least 15 to 30. A sunscreen's ability to block the harmful rays of the sun may be slightly compromised when combined with an insect repellent, though. An insect repellent sunscreen should typically have a much higher SPF.

The sun emits two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays. UVA rays account for the majority of the UV rays that reach the Earth's surface. Prolonged exposure to these can speed up the skin's aging process, resulting in things like wrinkles and age spots. They can also increase he risk of some types of cancer. UVB rays are the rays that cause a person's skin to burn, and they have also been linked to a number of types of skin cancer.

Some insect repellent sunscreens may only protect a person against UVA rays. For the best sun protection, experts recommend choosing a product that protects the skin against both UVA and UVB rays. These types of sunscreens are often labeled as broad spectrum sunscreens.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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