Dissing DEET Part Two: Keep your sunblock separate.


Peanut butter and jelly, Fred and Ginger, tea and sympathy – okay, some things go really well together. Bug repellent and sun block? Not so smart. We know it sounds convenient and maybe more comfortable when you’re fighting the summer stickies; but really – don’t do it.


For critically different reasons, the CDC and the Sisters both say keep ’em separate. In essence, the CDC’s advice against combination products is actually advice against DEET, and here’s why.




The CDC is opposed to combination products because they are recommending the use of bug repellent products containing DEET. They know that DEET is dangerous so they want it applied rarely (once or max twice a day) and sparingly (e.g. never on the face) – the complete opposite of sunblock which calls for heavy application and frequent reapplication and for sure, it needs to go on your face.


The CDC and other reputable scientists are very concerned that when using a DEET-based combination product the DEET interacts with the sunblock formulation, making the DEET even more toxic at the same time that it reduces the effectiveness of the sunblock! See what we mean about it sounds great; but it really isn’t.


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We designed our bug repellent to be highly effective without the inclusion of DEET. We opted instead for a botanical formulation powered by catnip oil – scientifically tested and proven 10X more effective than DEET. Our products are wildly effective, clean and safe for everyone; but we still say – keep sunblock and bug repellent separate. For very different reasons.






Sunblock needs to be applied only to skin that will be exposed to sunlight. Not so bug with repellent. We all know from experience that bugs bite through clothing – so full coverage means not just exposed skin – it means ALL skin. Don’t make me tell you the sad story of our neighbor who forgot to apply bug repellent to his bum and then ventured into an outhouse … oh yeah, I am not telling you that story. Wipe the image from your mind while you’re at it.


Lifestings worn under clothing offers optimum protection. We recommend applying lifestings lotion everywhere following your shower; then layering on the water-based spray at the critical “points of entry” like collars, cuffs and ankles when you are outdoors.


Full coverage application is one of the many ways in which we differ from and outshine DEET products. That’s right. Per the CDC, never put DEET on under clothing. What’s up with that? Trying to minimize exposure to toxins is what’s up.


Lifestings is the only layer-on bug repellent in the industry; because we take bug bite prevention seriously. Lifestings spray makes layering and quick touch-up extra easy. So, when you’ve been gardening and sweating for hours or when evening light brings out even more mosquitos – some of them carrying diseases – reapply generously. Lotion in the morning. Spray for the rest of the day.




To perform effectively, bug repellent needs to sit on top of the skin – while sunblock needs to penetrate the skin to provide protection. Combining them might sound really convenient; but, they are products at cross purposes if you try to cut corners with combining.


SUNBLOCK TIP: We prefer old school zinc formula sunblocks over the newer nano technologies. But whatever your preference – get covered, use plenty, and keep reapplying. Any skin that’s exposed needs sunblock and plenty of it.


So remember: fish and chips, cake and coffee, spaghetti and meatballs – great. But bug repellent and your sunblock together – not your best bet.
Slather safely and separately and say yes to the joys of summer!


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Mary Duggan

About the author: Mary Duggan is Co-Founder and President of the Duggan Sisters – creators of lifestings® DEET-free bug repellent and lifestinks® – the natural deodorant that actually works. 

Spend a few minutes exploring duggansisters.com and experience the sisters’ spirited approach to wellness; discover their award-winning natural products; and read their stories of victory against the odds. Connect with the Duggan Sisters today!

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