In my experience, getting a man to cover up with sunscreen is no different than a child. You can either wrangle them into a headlock and forcibly smear it all over or...trick them. I succeeded in the latter on a day trip to the lake last weekend. Just before getting out of the car, I handed a bottle of Doctor T's Supergoop! SPF 30 Bug Away Spray to my boyfriend, who willingly squirted the innocuous emulsion all over his arms, legs, and hands. After hours under the sun in a virtual bug metropolis, we returned to the car both burn- and bite-free.

Let's face it- nobody likes the smell of sunscreen. Nor does any sane person enjoy getting eaten alive by insects. Supergoop! is a brilliant combination of the two most fundamental means of defense during the summer. While most sunscreens and bug sprays leave you gagging with chemical asphyxiation, Supergoop! has a natural fragrance with a hint of lemongrass. Its clear liquid consistency takes one second to spray on and rub in. And with a name like Supergoop! what fun-loving man or dirt-loving child could resist?

What impressed me most about Supergoop! is a nearly organic, surprisingly pure formula that doesn't fall into common chemical-rigged cosmetic traps. Having won the American Academy of Dermatology's "Gold Triangle Award for Excellence in Sun Safety," the brand is just as committed to eco-conservation as it is to sun protection. The Bug-Away Spray contains no parabens, artificial colors, or unnecessary chemical additives, thus averting the endangerment of our marine friends.

It also proudly boasts "No DEET" on the bottle, a surprising omission in a bug spray. We have all grown up with insect repellents like Off!, which feature DEET as their central active chemical ingredient to ward off mosquitoes and Lyme disease-carrying ticks. But repeated and frequent use of products with DEET has resulted in frightening consequences, including psychological disorders, neurological symptoms (dizziness, drowsiness, headache), skin irritation or rash, seizure, developmental effects, and death due to both ingestion and dermal exposure (Click here for DEET-related case studies). Considering this circumstantial evidence and the fact that DEET can be absorbed through the skin, I would unquestionably prefer an alternative.

While the Centers for Disease Control recommends oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane 3,8 diol) as a natural repellent, other essential oils, including basil, catnip, geranium, citronella, eucalyptus, cedar, and lemongrass, can be just as effective as low levels of DEET. Supergoop! gets its bug-away power from the last two: cedar bark and lemongrass oil. Just as Supergoop!'s instructions indicate ("Reapply often after swimming, towel drying, or perspiration"), bug protection from essential oils doesn't last as long as DEET. Considering Supergoop!'s harmless ingredients, there should be no reason to be bugged (sorry) about keeping the bottle handy for repeated sprays throughout the day.

With its combination of padimate O, avobenzone, and a trifecta of octi-agents, Supergoop! protects skin from both UVA and UVB rays, and its advanced SP3 technology prevents the ingredients from breaking down as quickly when exposed to sunlight. If you've never heard of padimate O, that's probably because it is a contentious sunscreen ingredient, rarely used by manufacturers for fear of public backlash. You see, padimate O is a derivative of paraminobenzoic acid (aka PABA), and is thus widely associated with its carcinogenic cousin. But despite the concerns over padimate O, there have been no studies definitively linking this PABA ester to cancer. Moreoever, it is approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. and is currently the most potent UVB absorber.

The rest of Supergoop! steers clear of controversy. From vitamins A, C, and E to organic aloe vera and lavender oil, Supergoop! is packed with antioxidants to fight signs of aging and moisturizers to soothe sensitive skin. The formula's alcohol base is cooling and refreshing. While the liquid emulsion doesn't exactly hydrate the skin, it also doesn't dry it out. In fact, you can hardly see, smell, or feel evidence of anything at all on your skin after applying Supergoop!.

I am unfortunately far too familiar with how easily a bad burn or a body covered in itchy bites can ruin summer fun. Apart from its marginal limitations (not being water-proof and requiring multiple applications), Supergoop! is a fantastic find. I cannot think of a more likable (and indispensable) companion to bring to a late afternoon barbecue, park outing, camping trip, round of golf, sporting event, or any other outdoor land activity. My Supergoop! will be one popular fellow this Fourth of July.


Actives: Avobenzone - 2.0%, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Bark Oil - 0.4%, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Oil - 0.2%, Octinoxate - 7.5%, Octisalate - 5.0%, Octocrylene - 1.4%, Padimate O - 8.0%

Inactives: SD Alcohol 40-A, Cyclomethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dipropylene Glycol, Dibenzoate, Acrylates Copolymer, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether Benzoate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil