Outdoors: Sunscreen and Bug Spray

Posted on Aug 27, 2014 in Green Tip

Whenever I go outdoors, especially this time of year, I have two things with me: sunscreen and bug spray.

Sunscreen is important for healthy skin, and we need to lather up anytime we’re outside, not just at the pool. While the spray versions of sunscreen may be convenient, some evidence suggests you might not use as much of the spray as you do when you use lotion, making it less effective. You’ll need to spray a lot more on to get the appropriate coverage, meaning you’ll have to buy more to stay protected over the season than you would if you used lotion sunscreen. That’s more money spent and more waste generated. That said, you’re more likely to use what is convenient, so if spray bottles are worth the extra cost to you, just remember to recycle the bottles when they’re empty. Remove the tips and toss them in your recycling bin!

And finally, even though DEET has been deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency when used as directed, there are more natural alternatives to bug spray. A 2002 study of mosquito repellents found that the soy-based products were the most effective natural alternative to DEET, and they offered more than 90 minutes of protection. Oil of lemon eucalyptus, which comes from the lemon eucalyptus tree, is also recommended by the CDC as another alternative to DEET, but should not be used on kids under 3. Just keep in mind, most if not all of these products come in recyclable containers, so when the bottle or can is empty, recycle it!

You can also set up a fan on your patio. Mosquitoes have a hard time maneuvering in wind. And make sure you eliminate standing water in your yard as that is breeding grounds for mosquitoes!

Contributed by Brooke Lehenbauer