A summertime staple is an effective and inexpensive insect repellent for many people. Unfortunately, with all the increased time outdoors, the chance of getting bitten by bugs skyrockets.
It’s essential to fund good insect repellent. Bug bites aren’t just irritating; they can potentially spread diseases from Zika to the West Nile virus. Therefore, we must check out the highlights of the best products, considering various factors, including the concentration of active ingredients, duration of effectiveness, cost, and more.
Best Mosquito Repellents
Check out the top choices for the best bug sprays and check their prices.
Aerosol cans take up room, but they make it effortless to be sure you’re shielding every last bit of exposed skin. This product has 25% DEET, and the powder-dry formula never feels gummy or greasy. In addition, it offers up to eight hours of protection from mosquitoes and ticks, driving it great for any outdoor sports—hiking, fishing, hunting, or camping.
When you’re out on the pathways, you’ll require a multipurpose repellent that attacks both mosquitos and ticks. Not only is it excellent for warding off a medley of bugs, but its water-based formulation doesn’t fade as fast as alcohol-based formulations do. Plus, its small size won’t take up practical real estate in a hiker’s backpack, and its suitable spray nozzle is ideal for on-the-go application.
These travel-friendly wipes feature 30% DEET and promise up to 10 hours of insect protection, providing a mess-free application. However, repellent needs to reappear repeatedly when swimming or getting incredibly sweaty. Some “sporty” products suggest formulations of up to almost 100% DEET—and are more than anyone would need.
Perfect for those prone to skin irritation, this odorless mosquito-repelling lotion ensures maximum protection without causing redness. In addition, this lotion’s time-controlled release of 20% DEET and other active ingredients provides up to 11 hours of coverage—perfect for a long, long hike. Not to mention it’s sweat-resistant and family-friendly.
This product delivers up to 12 hours of protection against mosquitoes and ticks and 8 hours against gnats, flies, and chiggers. The same long-lasting formula is also obtainable in a travel-friendly 4-ounce spray bottle—which is critical. You don’t want to gamble arriving at a mosquito-infested destination and not being able to find any repellent on the stands.
Mosquito repellent is infamous for its intense odor. This recipe from Natrapel vows eight hours of protection and delivers a light floral scent to provide a more pleasant-smelling experience. Like other picaridin formulations, it’s secure to spray on clothing as well. However, it’s not advised to apply repellent under clothing. There’s no advantage to that. Instead, focus on areas of skin that are exposed.
This spray supplies up to six hours of protection formulated without DEET. That’s likely all the protection you require for spending an afternoon in a backyard location. On the other hand, someone hiking would probably desire to reapply every four to six hours.
Keep your little ones defended against mosquitos with this baby-safe DEET-free formula, which uses a blend of bug-repelling ingredients and essential oils like citronella, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, and geranium. Recommended for ages six months and up, it’s packed in a travel-friendly spray bottle that won’t get lost in your baby bag.
How Does Bug Spray Work?
Bug bites aren’t just prickly and irritating—they could also pose grave health concerns. Significantly, mosquitoes can disperse Zika, malaria, and West Nile virus, while ticks can transfer Lyme disease, among other conditions.
Insect repellent keeps disease-spreading critters away to prevent bug bites. These products operate by meddling with the bug’s senses—such as smell and taste—which they depend on to discover a human host.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends only using insect repellents registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which believes insect repellents contain active ingredients and provide reasonable, long-lasting protection against disease-carrying insects.
What Is DEET In Bug Spray?
DEET: Not all repellents are created equal. Generally, products with higher concentrations of active ingredients provide a longer duration of protection. In contrast, products with less than 10% of the active ingredient request limited protection of one to two hours. The CDC also suggests using DEET products with at least 20% concentration, although it suggests DEET’s effectiveness plateaus roughly 50% concentration.
DEET is a chemical created by the U.S. Army in 1946 that has a standard functional ingredient in numerous insect repellents, and it’s understood for being highly effective. Yet, despite hundreds of products possessing DEET registered with the EPA, consumers have health anxieties about the active ingredient. However, when used ideally, DEET is typically not considered harmful.
Health Risks Associated With Mosquito Repellents?
While some insect repellents can keep a chemical-like odor—potentially causing people wary of their safety—remember that these products prevent bug bites that could carry infectious conditions. So as prolonged as you opt for EPA-registered insect repellents, you can believe your bug spray is safe, even for pregnant or breastfeeding women. In addition, good bug spray should be practical and free of elements that can induce skin irritation or health risks.
Avoid ingredients like parabens, alcohol, phthalates, and artificial fragrance. Instead, ingredients including lemongrass, eucalyptus/citriodiol, and citronella are more natural bug repellents that are secure to use. Symptoms of an allergic reaction, or dermatitis, are redness, irritation, itchiness, and small bumps. In rare cases, bug spray could cause problem breathing and dizziness—so be mindful where and how much you sprinkle, and try not to inhale it.