Little known fact: While the EPA says that using DEET is “safe” as long as you follow their long list of warnings, it should never be used with sunscreen. Recent studies using animal and human skin cells suggest the mixture might increase DEET absorption but also might make sunscreen not protect against UV rays as well. About 20 versions of sunscreen-bug repellent combinations are sold, but because the Food and Drug Administration regulates sunscreen and the Environmental Protection Agency regulates insect repellant, guidance for using these combo products is in limbo since they don’t really belong to either agency. Complicating the issue, Canadian researchers recently tested human skin cells and found questions beyond the all-in-one products: Spraying on DEET and then rubbing on sunscreen actually increased DEET absorption the most.
Be aware that when you’re sitting at the outdoor bar after a day on the beach that the sunscreen is still on your body. No-see-ums wake up when the sun goes down and are most active at dawn and dusk.
So what’s your choice going to be to avoid becoming the main course for these biting bugs? DEET the all natural bug spray No No-See-Um?