Sunscreens + Insect repellents = summer in Australia.
These summer essentials are safe and effective when used correctly, but
can cause problems when not used carefully.
Chemicals in insect repellents can be absorbed through the skin if
excessive amounts are used. This is a particular risk with products
containing high concentrations of DEET, especially when used on young
children. For this reason insect repellents should NOT be used on children
less than 6 months of age, and used sparingly between 6-12 months of age
only in areas with a high risk of contracting Malaria, Dengue fever or
other mosquito borne diseases. DEET can also affect sunscreens, reducing
the effective time of protection, so sunscreen may need to be used more
often when also using an insect repellent.
Sunscreens can cause local irritations, especially in the eyes if not used
Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- use separate products for sunscreen & insect repellents
- apply sunscreen first, then insect repellent
- check the reapplication time for each product, they may be
- sunscreens used with repellents containing DEET may need to be applied
- only use child or family friendly repellents on children
- sunscreens should be applied generously to all skin
- insect repellents should be applied lightly just to the uncovered skin.
- take care not to use lots of insect repellent too often especially on
- avoid use around the eyes or mouth
- do not apply to the lips, hands or fingers of young children
Store sunscreens and repellents safely out of reach of young children, and
stay safe in the outdoors this holidays.