Mosquitos, as well as other insects and bugs, can be really annoying and, aside from their potential to bite you and leave itchy bumps on your skin, they’re a nuisance to have around. Are you wondering whether your sunscreen is responsible? Read on to find out.
Does sunscreen attract or repel bugs?
As mentioned, there are a variety of factors that can contribute towards either attracting or repelling bugs, and some of these things can be completely out of your hands, but others may be things you can change, and protect yourself from. One thing you may be wondering is whether your sunscreen is the culprit, and this is a very good question, and one which many people don’t know the answer to. But, after reading this, you’ll be an expert in the field of all things related to sunscreen and bug bites!
One of the biggest attractions for mosquitoes and biting bugs is scent, especially one which is sweet or strong, as it is similar to the smell of food, and all animals are programmed to jump at any opportunity or possibility of this when they get the chance. It’s unlucky that, especially nowadays, scents and perfumed sunscreens are becoming increasing popular, and this can make you a very popular destination for bugs and their bites.
Unless you’ve purchased a sunscreen specifically to repel bugs or mosquitoes, and it contains certain ingredients for this purpose, your product will not repel them. An unscented sunscreen will simply have no difference, and it stand completely neutral in this position.
What else may attract bugs?
Although your sunscreen may be responsible for attracting some of those pesky biting bugs and insects, it may not be the only things, and it may not even be the culprit at all. In fact, there are many different things which are known, and scientifically proven, to attract bugs, and some of these may be much more likely than your sunscreen, so it’s a good idea to check yourself if you’re suffering from bites, and perhaps reconsider some things. Of course, as you’re about to see, not all of these things can be helped, but there are things from this list you can avoid, and you’ll find out some ways to repel bugs later on.
Here are some other common factors which may attract bugs to you, and therefore cause your bug bite-related issues:
- Your blood type: one of the most commonly heard of things to attract mosquitoes is your blood type, and you may even know this already. Mosquitoes are after your blood anyway, so it’s easy to see why they’re fussy over blood types, and favour certain ones over others, which unfortunately, is out of your hands.
- Body heat and sweat: considering the fact that mosquitoes and other insects enjoy the heat, and thrive in damp, humid conditions, it should come as no surprise that they are attracted to body heat and sweat, so the more there is of this, the more likely it is that you’ll get bitten.
- Pregnancy: although scientists aren’t yet exactly sure why, many studies have shown that mosquitoes are actually more attracted to, and therefore more inclined to bite, women who are pregnant. Of course, you can really do much about this, but it may solve some of your confusion.
- Drinking alcohol: a recent factor found to influence insects in who they choose to bite is alcohol consumption and, in particular, beer. No-one is quite certain why yet, but it most likely has something to do with its strength once it’s in the bloodstream.
- The colours of your clothes: one thing you have probably never thought to cause you to become a mosquito-magnet is the colour of your clothes, but it is! Lots of bugs like these are very visual, and dark, strong colours, such as black, green and red, can be very enticing for these frustrating little bugs.
- Perfumes and other strong smells: we have already touched on this topic a little when talking about sunscreens, but mosquitoes and other insidious bugs can be attracted to strong smells and perfumes, and their interest and can lead to lots of bites on you.
- Carbon dioxide levels: in case you weren’t already aware, when we breathe, we mainly take in oxygen, and we release carbon dioxide into the environment, which is something mosquitoes and insects take a particular interest in. the more you breathe, the more carbon dioxide you release, and the bigger you are, the more you’ll breathe, so this could show a correlation. Being with a larger group of people compared to a smaller one can have the same effect, too.
How can you protect yourself from getting bitten when wearing sunscreen?
So, sunscreen can be the cause of your bug bites, but so can a few other factors, some of which you can control, while others you can’t. however, you’ll probably be delighted to discover that there are, in fact, ways that you can prevent getting bitten, and repel any pesky bugs and mosquitoes that come your way. All it takes is a few slight alterations or decisions, and you can live your life but better – completely bite-free!
Of course, we said earlier that the first thing to do if you are getting bitten is remove any of the factors listed above if possible, or at least take them into account, and you may find that even just this can stop the attraction of bugs. While this can be easy and effective, it’s not always the best solution, as some of the things listed above are impossible to control or reverse, so you may need something a little more potent.
If you suffer from bug bites often, or you travel to countries where this is a concern quite regularly, you’ve probably used bug repellent before, and this is a tried-and-true method of repelling and preventing any bug, and their bites along with them. There are a variety of forms which bug repellents can come in, but the most common include sprays, aerosols, gels and roll-ons. You can apply these in the day and evening to ensure you’re always protected.
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- Deet free (for protection that lasts more than 2 hours, choose a DEET-based repellent)
- Plant-based formula (active ingredient chemically synthesized from pine oil extract)
- Safe for use on the whole family, long-lasting insect and tick repellent lotion deters a wide variety of pests — up to 14 hours against mosquitoes and ticks and up to 8 hours against flies, gnats, and chiggers
- Fragrance-free topical insect repellent with 20% Picaridin — more effective at repelling biting flies than DEET; repels disease-spreading ticks (Lyme, tick-borne encephalitis) and mosquitoes (West Nile, Dengue, and Zika viruses), chiggers, and more
If you’re still stuck, you can always try out some home remedies for deterring bugs or, if you’re at home or staying at your accommodation, you can always try some defences to eliminate bugs from the area altogether. Firstly, if you get bitten whilst you’re asleep, try to make sure you have your windows and doors closed in the evenings, or if they’re open, insert a mesh or netting lining to let the air in, without the added bugs. You can also try burning a certain scent to keep the bugs away – the most popular option is burning a citronella candle, as it doesn’t smell too bad, and it is incredible powerful for this purpose.
As annoying or frustrating as it may be, some sunscreens will unfortunately, be attractive to bugs, and result in you arriving home from your night out with lots of itchy bites all over your skin. However, this isn’t the only cause for your bug bites, and there are also ways to prevent them, so you don’t need to dread going out every night when you’re on your vacation!