Sunscreen and Bug Repellent – what’s the deal?

Bug Repellent Sunscreen - What is the Deal

You’re busy, so I’m going to cut right to the chase. Combination sunscreen bug repellent is convenient – but is it safe?

Most experts agree that combination products can be problematic. Bug repellent and sunscreen in particular, because both rely on a precise application to be effective. Generally, they advise you to stay away from this conbo.

But have these people ever tried to put two coats of protection on a squirming toddler?? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Badger believes there is a better way. And as you probably know, we make a sunscreen bug repellent combo. Read on for more information.

Problematic Products

When experts advise avoiding combination bug repellent sunscreen, they are generally talking about DEET. Studies have shown that combining sunscreen with DEET “caused the skin to absorb the insect repellent more than three times faster than when used alone.” In some studies, sunscreens lose efficacy when combined with DEET – sometimes as much as a 30% reduction in SPF.

And the most common reason is simply the application instructions. You must reapply sunscreens every two hours. DEET-based insect repellents should not be reapplied more frequently than every four to six hours. The EWG cautions that applying bug repellent sunscreen every two hours could overexpose you to the repellent.

Badger Bug Repellent SunscreenHealthy Alternative

Badger takes safety very seriously. We create products that we use on ourselves, our children, and our loved ones. So we set out to make a safe alternative to DEET-based bug repellent sunscreen.

We started with our safe and effective mineral sunscreen formula, which is intended to stay on the outermost layer of your skin. This is different than chemical* sunscreen ingredients (like oxybenzone) which absorbs into the skin while protecting you. This helps to alleviate some of the concern around over-absorption of DEET.

Then, instead of DEET, we added our effective essential oil blend, which has been diluted into a safe concentration for application on the skin. So you can reapply the sunscreen as directed, without concern of overexposure.

Lastly, we had the whole thing tested. We tested the finished product, bug repellent and all, for UVB protection (SPF 34) and water resistance (40 minutes), UVA protection (381 nm), and bug repellent efficacy (4 hours). Et voilà! SPF 34 Anti-Bug Sunscreen. A safe combination product for the whole family.

Bottom Line

If you are still uncomfortable using a combination bug repellent sunscreen, then be sure to apply sunscreen first and bug repellent second. And in the case of mineral sunscreens, take care to leave the layer of zinc oxide on the skin intact while applying a bug repellent. Spray bug repellent over the zinc oxide and do not rub it in.

And do not ever mix anything with mineral sunscreen that might dilute the concentration of minerals. Physical barrier sunscreens rely on a concentration of minerals dispersed evenly within the cream or lotion. Upsetting this balance could leave you with less protection than you expect.

Here’s to a burn-free and bite-free summer!

*Yes, we know that technically zinc oxide is a chemical, too.

Still have concerns? Post below and our team of experts will respond!

Jentri Jollimore has been with Badger's marketing department since 2008, and active in the natural products industry for more than 10 years. When she's not handling PR and Social Media for Badger, she enjoys playing guitar, composing songs, and writing scores for short films. Jentri's Favorite Badger products: Damascus Rose Face Oil, Beard Oil, Seabuckthorn Beauty Balm, and Badger Balm.

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