The DermUtopia Guide to Skin Safe Insect Repellents

The DermUtopia Guide to Skin Safe Insect Repellents

It’s a beautiful time of year to be outdoors, but increased temperatures are driving an increase in tick and mosquito activity as well. The most sure-fire way to keep from being bit is to use a skin-safe insect repellent when you are out and about. If you are wondering which insect repellents are right for you and your family, check out this guide below!

DEET: Deet is the most well-known and most well-studied skin-safe insect repellent in the US. There are no long-term dangers to using DEET, and it is even safe for pregnant women and children, but some people’s skin can be irritated by it and they may get a rash if using a high-percentage DEET spray. Like all skincare products, it is important to read the label on your insect spray and pick a strength that is appropriate for your needs. Most people who are outside for only a few hours only need a 10-15% DEET insect spray, while hikers may need a longer-lasting product such as 40% DEET. The main drawback to DEET is the slightly greasy feeling it leaves on the skin, and the damage it can cause to plastic surfaces such as polyester fabric, sunglasses, and athletic shoes. Here is a good DEET spray for everyday use.

Picaridin: Picaridin is a skin-safe insect repellent derived from the Piper plant genus, which also includes peppercorns. Picaridin does not have an odor to it, and it has a light feeling on the skin that does not damage plastics. This newer repellent has been shown to be just as effective as the equivalent concentrations of DEET at repelling ticks and mosquitoes. Picaridin based repellents go up to 20% concentration, which provides sufficient protection for most outdoor activities. Here is a picaridin-based spray that Dr. Dintiman loves.

In conclusion, our top choices for skin safe insect repellents are picaridin- and DEET- based sprays. Using one of these before outdoor activities can help you and your family avoid itchy, bothersome insect bites this summer!

If you do need a consultation for insect bites or other itchy summer rashes, contact us at 703-229-2544 to schedule an appointment with our team or consult us through the DermUtopia App.