Which repellant should I use?

To protect against mosquitoes only, use one of the products with one of the following active ingredients: (Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection)

  • DEET
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin. Products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan [outside the US])
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD (Products containing OLE include Repel and Off! Botanicals)
  • IR3535 (Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart)

The CDC has more information on insect repellants such as safe use for children, when to reapply, and much more.

Precautions

The EPA recommends the following:

  • Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label). Do not apply repellents under your clothing.
  • Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
  • Do not apply to eyes or mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. When using repellent sprays, do not spray directly on your face spray on your hands first and then apply to your face.
  • Do not allow children to handle or spray the product. When using on children, apply to your own hands first and then put it on the child. Avoid applying repellent to children's hands because children frequently put their hands in their eyes and mouths.
  • Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing. Heavy application does not give you better or longer lasting protection.
  • After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or bathe. This is particularly important when repellents are used repeatedly in a day or on consecutive days.
  • If you (or your child) get a rash or other reaction from a repellent, stop using the repellent, wash the repellent off with mild soap and water, and call a local poison control center for further guidance. If you go to a doctor, it might be helpful to take the repellent with you.