You asked for it: Newest products to fight the sun and bugs

What are the latest trends when it comes to fighting off harm rays to biting bugs?

Two new products are hot on the market right now and both of them have been used Europe for years.

So what are they? First let's battle the sun.

According to the Journal of Drugs and Deratology, There's a new over the counter sunscreen on the market, and it includes an active ingredient that's new to the U.S.

The FDA has approved Anthelios SX, made by L'Oreal, to prevent sunburn and protect against ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays. The new product has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15.

Anthelios SX contains a mix of three active ingredients, one of which is ecamsule. Ecamsule has not been marketed in the U.S., but it's been marketed in Europe and Canada as Mexoryl SX since 1993.

Mexoryl SX is "particularly effective against short UVA waves" and doesn't degrade when exposed to the sun for long periods of time, unlike other UVA filters, says a L'Oreal news release.

The new sunscreen's two other active ingredients are avobenzone and octocrylene. Those ingredients are "generally recognized as safe and effective," says an FDA news release.

In 28 studies of Anthelios SX that included more than 2,500 patients, side effects were rare and mild. The most common side effects in patients were acne, dermatitis, dry skin, eczema, abnormal redness, itching, skin discomfort, and sunburn, according to the FDA.

"Sunscreens are an important part of total sun protection strategy as consumers arm themselves against the harmful sun rays," says Steven Galson, MD, MPH, in an FDA news release. Galson directs the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Clothes can also protect you from the sun harmful rays.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, you can now buy specially treated protective clothing.

Companies like Coolibar, Solumbra and Lands' End

What about the bugs?

Picaridin is a new insect repellent that is comparable in effect and less irritating than diethyl toluamide (deet). Its activity and effects are reviewed in this article.



Picaridin, a piperidine derivate, is a new insect repellent. Its chemical formula is C12H23NO3 (Figure 1). Its International Union of Practical and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) name is (RS)-sec-butyl 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)piperidine-1-carboxylate. The name "picaridin" is approved by the World Health Organization, but there is no International Organization for Standardization common name for this substance. Picaridin's other names include KBR3023. Bayrepel. Hepidanin, and Autan Repel (1). It is effective against a range of insects (2) (Table 1).


Picaridin is available in Europe and Australia, and will soon be sold in North America. It is sold in Australia in spray and lotion forms with 92.8 gm/L picaridin as the active ingredient. A formulation with 192 grams/liter is termed Autan Repel Army 20.

As stated above, picaridin is not yet available in the United States. It was registered as a "reduced-risk" chemical by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2000-2001 (3). Bayer Corporation has received full, unconditional registration for KBR 3023 with the active ingredient picaridin (4). Products that contain KBR that are currently planned to be sold in the United States include a 5% cream, a 5% non-aerosol pump spray, and a 10% aerosol spray (5). They will be sold by S.G. Johnson and Sons and will join 200 different formulations of insect repellants (most including deet) that are sold in the United States (6).

Picaridin's activity is similar in effect to long-acting Extended U.S. Army Extended Duration Topical Insect and Arthropod Repellent (EDTIAR), which contains diethyltoluamide (deet) 35% (1). EDTIAR is sold in United States as Ultrathon (3M), and deet in its various formulations is the standard insect repellent used in the United States. Picaridin appears to be less irritating than deet (2); deet has limitations because its high potential to irritate eyes and mucous membranes makes application to the face difficult.

One field trial study compared three repellents including picaridin and deet, at night: 9.3% picaridin, 19.2% picaridin, and 35% deet in a gel (Australian Defense Force [ADF]); and during the day: 19.2% picaridin, 20% deet in a controlled release formulation (Sawyer Controlled Release deet), and EDTIAR, against rainforest mosquitoes in northern Queensland. Australia. In nighttime tests. 19.2% picaridin provided >94.7% protection for at least 9 hours, and ADF deet provided >95% protection for 7 hours. The 9.3% picaridin formulation provided >95% protection for only 2 hours, and provided 60% protection at 9 hours. In daytime tests. Sawyer 20% deet provided >95% protection for 6 hours, and both 19.2% picaridin and EDTIAR provided >95% protection for 8 hours. In both nighttime and daytime tests, 19.2% picaridin provided similar to deet (7).

Another Australian study found that picaridin is better tolerated than deet. In early 2001. 150 soldiers deployed to East Timor were asked to compare the ADF 35% deet gel formulation with 19.2% picaridin applied as a non-pressurized pump action spray. The soldiers were asked to use each formulation for one week, applying it twice a day. At the end of two weeks, they were asked to complete a questionnaire. Significantly more soldiers reported mild discomfort and irritation with the use of ADF deet compared with 19.2% picaridin (8).

In conclusion, picaridin is a promising new insecticide. Its effect is similar to deet, yet it appears to be less irritating than deet. As such it will be a valuable addition to the medical armamentarium in the prevention of insect bites.

Table 1 Insects against which picaridin is effective: Aedes aegypti Musca domestica Ixodes ricinus Biting midges Aedes taeniorhynchus Stomoxys calcitrans Ixodes scapularis (damini) Culicoides spp. Aedes albopictus Simulium venustum Ripicephalus sanguineus Culex quinquefasciatus Tabanidae Culex pipiens fatigans Anopheles stephensi Anopheles sinensis Anopheles dirus