Apply Sunscreen First
If you are going to be out in the sun, you want to apply the sunscreen first and give it a minute or two to soak into the skin. Then you can apply the bug spray. If you see that later you need some more sunblock, you can then reapply your sunblock. You don’t need to apply more repellent unless you feel that the bugs are beginning to get very interested.
Furthermore, neither we nor the CDC recommends the use of products that combine a repellent with a sunblock. This is because sunscreen should be applied and reapplied regularly and this could mean applying too much bug spray. Because of the ingredients inside bug repellent, this is not always a good thing.
Put It On Smoothly and Evenly—but Not Too Much
Mosquitoes and ticks can be aggressive in their attacks and none more so than the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, notorious for spreading the Zika virus. They can also latch on and attack a small area of unprotected skin the size of a dime so make sure you leave every inch covered well. You will want to make sure you are covered all over especially on any places of exposed skin.
Begin by shaking the container well and apply light short bursts from 4 to 8 inches away, as per the instructions on the usage panel. For lotions, you will need to apply exactly as directed as well. This typically involves a thin layer over all exposed areas of the skin. But, don’t place too much. When using insect repellent the lightest amount that is effective is the best.
Also, be sure to apply in a well-ventilated area and away from open flames.
Don’t Spray Under Your Clothes
Even though long pants and bright colors can be somewhat effective at avoiding biting insects, it is best to spray the repellent above clothes as opposed to below. Just make sure the ingredients will not harm the fabrics or the printing. You can always try this out on a small corner to make sure the materials are not harmed.
Use Your Hands to apply Repellent on Sensitive areas
Never spray the product onto your face. Instead, apply liberally to your hands and then transmit the repellent onto the face, eyes, ears, etc. Be very careful applying this around your nose and eyes. If you are bald keep repellent away from the tender scalp.
Don’t Forget Ankles and Knees
Mosquitos have an inclination to attack certain spots before others and these often include the ankles, feet, and knees. Because ticks typically latch on as you are passing by, a knee is a prime target for many biting insects.
Take Extra Care With Kids
According to recommendations from the CDC, you should never apply repellent to a child younger than 2 months. Even for older kids, you will never want to spray repellent directly onto unprotected skin. For children, it is always best to go with a natural bug repellent.
Much like addressing sensitive areas of your own body, it is best to apply a little to the hands and then transmit this to the parts of the skin that need protection. As always avoid getting anything into the eyes, mouth, or nose.