Picking the Right Sunscreen and Bug Spray

Not sure what type of sunscreen has the best protection or whether you should pick bug spray with or without DEET? With so many options it can get confusing. So we’ve pulled together some safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to make summer a breeze for you and your family!

Avoid Sunscreen/Insect Repellant Combos

While it seems like an easy win, combination products should actually be avoided. This is because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, but the inset repellant should not be reapplied that often.

When to use DEET

DEET is the active ingredient in many repellant products. According to the AAP, you should use insect repellants containing DEET when you want to prevent insect-related diseases that are transmitted through ticks and mosquitoes. DEET should NOT be used on children younger than 2 months old.

The current AAP and CDC recommendation for children older than 2 months of age is to use 10 – 30% DEET. Ten percent provides protection for two hours, while 30% protects for about five hours. Choose the lowest concentration that will provide the required length of protection.

How to Choose a Sunscreen

When picking a sunscreen, go for the broad-spectrum option. This means it protects against both UVB and UVA rays. For most people, SP of 15 or 30 will be fine. If possibly, the AAP recommends avoiding the sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone because of concerns about mild hormonal properties.

For babies younger than 6 months old, use sunscreen on small areas of the body and keep them out of direct sunlight. For babies 6 months and older, apply sunscreen to all areas of the body while being careful around the eyes.

For more summer safety tips, check out the AAP blog. If you have questions, our experts at Plymouth Primary Care & Clinic are always here to help. With special training in both family medicine and pediatrics, we’re here to help you live your healthiest life possible.