Mosquitos are the worlds most dangerous animal with a reported 700,000 deaths each year. Although it is not the insect which kills you rather it is the infection it carries – with Malaria counting for 400,000 of these deaths.
For the majority of the time the main thing we have to worry about in the developed world is the itching caused by these adaptable insects. It can take over your thoughts and make everyday life very uncomfortable.
Mosquito Repellent Active Ingredients
The main point to consider when selecting a mosquito spray is what its active ingredient is. There are only a few worth using and they are:
- DEET – Created by the US army in 1946 – this active ingredient is the gold standard in mosquito repellent – it has stood the test of time and is used in the harshest enviroments. Some people had raised issues of how safe the product was for use with humans- but these concerns have all been quashed by multiple government and scientific studies. The liquid is sprayed onto your skin and works by deterring the mosquitos – not by killing them.
- Icaridin also known as Picaridin is also a mosquito repellent, which was created to rival DEET by BAYER in early 2001. The product is approved by the World Health Organisation. The main difference between DEET and Icaridin/Picaridin is that the latter is completely odourless, non greasy and does not dissolve plastics. See the below article compaing the two: https://www.outdoors.org/articles/amc-outdoors/picaridin-vs-deet-which-is-the-best-insect-repellent
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus– Also known as PMD -this would be the most naturally sourced mosquito repellent of the three. The oil is taken from the eucalyptus trees leaves and is chemically synthesized (this means it is mixed with other ingredients which react together to form the final liquid) which are usually vanilla, witch hazel and rubbing alcohol. This results in a proven, effective mosquito repellent- be aware there are many natural repellents which do not work well so be sure to check the active ingredient.
Beware of wrist bands and bracelets which claim to work effectively – it has been shown in trials that a mosquito will bite as close as 5 cm/ 2″ to a repellent bracelet. Also read the application instructions carefully – DEET products usually require the applied product to have their skin bare and not covered with clothing during use.
Best Mosquito Repellent
I have made a short list of the top proven mosquito repellents below.
Non greasy, odourless, sweat proof
Controlled release formula -up to 11 hours
Airline friendly 3oz bottle
Effective against mosquitos, ticks, and fleas
Sawyer Products are one of the leading, most respected brands when it comes to providing long lasting protection from mosquitos. They have taken the active ingredient DEET and created a non greasy product – which was one of the sticking points DEET had – it was sometimes unpleasant for some wearers as it could have a greasy feel on your skin. The majority of the population was fine but if you had sensitive skin it may have been an issue. This product gets round that to give you great long lasting protection and easy to wear.
Lotion is effective for up to 14 hours
Safe to use on the whole family
Wont damage clothing
Consumer Reports – listed safe and effective February 2016
Another great product from Sawyer. This is the more modern active ingredient Picaridin created by BAYER in 1998. This product can be used by pregnant mothers and children and has a pleasant, low odour citrus aroma. This is about as good as you are going to get in terms of an effective safe mosquito repellent which is easy to wear.
3. REPEL Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent, Pump Spray, 4-Ounce
This is a more naturally sourced mosquito repellent, which has many positive reviews, and has a really fresh smell. It gives a solid 6 hours of protection per application – which is more than enough unless you are seriously fit and like to keep going for longer!
If i had to choose one of the above i think it would be the second one with Picaridin- it seems to give the best protection and is very safe for all the family – although it is synthetic.
If i had the luxury of picking two – i think i would buy the second (Picaridin) and the third (oil of lemon eucalyptus). Then, i would use the one made from oil of lemon eucalyptus to see how it faired for me – if it worked well i would keep on using it and if it didn’t i would have the “big guns” to fall back on (Picaridin) as the last thing you want is any mosquito bites.
I hope you found this article informative and helpful – leave me comments below if there is anything else you like to read more about…thanks.