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aug 06 2009

Sunscreen alert: One product you shouldn't buy

Summer's in full swing—and to survive those backyard barbecues and camping trips, you're probably slathering up with sunscreen and bug spray. But here's a quick tip: Don't use a product that combines the two.

Sure, it seems like a great time-saving idea, a product that has both sunscreen and DEET (or another bug repellant, like IR3535) in it. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding just this type of commodity.

Because DEET and sunscreen products have different instructions for proper (and safe) use, you risk overapplying DEET when using a combination product. For instance, you should reapply sunscreen every two hours, regardless of what you're up to (that's just good practice for avoiding sunburn). But DEET has a longer wear time, sometimes up to eight hours. So in protecting yourself from sunburn, you might be overexposing yourself to DEET.

The solution? Joseph Conlon, of the American Mosquito Control Association (an organization of mosquito-control professionals), says to apply your chosen sunscreen first, and then the DEET or bug-repellant product. That way, you can continue to put on sunscreen over the bug spray when you need to.

We're not promising you'll make it through the rest of summer sunburn- and bug bite- free—but that's all part of the fun, right?

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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