Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Double-duty Sunscreen and Bug Repellant from SmartShield

Right now I'm sweating my way across Honduras, battling sand flies in Roatan and determined mosquitoes in Pico Bonito National Park. All the while, the intense tropical sun is set on "full blast."

In other words, a great time to try out these SmartShield towelettes, which are designed to protect you with both sunscreen and natural bug repellant.

I have one main criteria when reviewing products like this. Do they do what they promise? In this case, I didn't get any bugbites and I don't have any bright red splotches of sunburn, so they towelettes passed the test. I slathered on once before walking around various beaches on Roatan and before an hour-long hike through the tropical forest in the interior.

I'm not sure I would trust the stuff on my arms and legs to last all day though. The bug replellant is DEET-free, which means cedar bark extract and lemongrass. Smells nice, but not known to protect for hours on end. The sunscreen is SPF 30 is is not all natural, with lots of chemical names only a lab technician would recognize. (And it is not for kids under 6.) But it's oil-free and has aloe vera and three vitamins in it.

This is a handy item to take along anywhere you need to protect yourself from both the sun and insects, especially in the tropics. The SmartShield "no bugs no burn" towelettes retail for $14 for a pack of 18, but the individually wrapped ones are about a buck apiece. More economical is the combo spray, which is $8 for 2 ounces (TSA friendly size). See more about them at http://www.smartshield.com/.

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