Bugs are annoying critters that seem to get everywhere. Summer months spent camping would be much more pleasant if you could just keep the bugs at bay. The problem is they bite and then leave you with itchy spots on your body. You know scratching does not help the situation, but you just cannot help it. If only there were a way to keep the bugs at bay.
It sometimes feels like all the products in the world turn out to be useless. The only thing that seems to keep the bugs away is smoke, but you cannot always have a campfire, and you do not want to risk your health with cigarettes. So, what are your options?
Well, some bug repellants are better than others. Here’s a look at the best options around right now.
Things to Look Out for When Buying Insect Repellant
Make sure you check the labels of any insect repellent you buy. You want to make sure the repellants have certain ingredients in them that will work. Avoid the gimmicks and marketing statements. Take the time to look at the list of ingredients and the strength of those ingredients in the product.
Here are a few things to look for when getting an insect repellant.
Always Look for the EPA Registration
There are so many products that say they keep the bugs at bay, but they do not work at all. In fact, there are more than 20,000 products in the world that do not do anything! There is a quick way to find out if they have any efficiency or benefit at all.
Look if they have had an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration. Anything applied to the skin should be registered with the EPA to make sure they are safe for you. You will find a registration number on the label. If you do not see this, stay well away. These products are not just likely fake and useless, but they can put your health at risk!
The EPA will make sure that all claims have been supported by scientific data. This means that they will help prevent bugs from biting your skin. Look out for the black-and-yellow label for even more confirmation. These are the best options on the market at the time.
It is not just sprayed that will have a registration. All types of bug repellant products, like nets, will also need to have a registration.
DEET Is Your Best Friend
There is a view that DEET should be avoided because it is synthetic. However, it is one of the best ingredients to help make bug and insect repellents useful, so you want to look out for it. There is a reason that it is in products for more than 60 years and not had complaints about not working!
Do not worry about the safety of the ingredients. Companies have tested and tested it to make sure it works and is safe. It is one of the most tested products for both effectiveness and safety. While there are some concerns and reports that it is unsafe, the actual reports are usually overblown.
One of the best things about DEET is that it is also safe for children. Babies from two months old can use it without damaging their health. It is the only ingredient that is safe for children of this age.
Look out for products that have at least 20% DEET in them preferably, but 15% is okay. Any less than this and it is not the greatest. Watch out for extremely high levels. They can be irritating to the skin. More DEET does not necessarily mean better. While around 20% is safe, anything more than 30% should be avoided. This is especially the case on young children.
Do not bother with products with less than 7% DEET. They have not shown any benefits for protection against insects.
The biggest issue with DEET is the damage it can do to some fabrics and surfaces. Spandex, leather, rubber, vinyl, and some paints have suffered damage, but nylon, cotton, and wool have proven to withstand the ingredient.
Look for Products with Picaridin
If you are not sold on DEET, look out for products with picaridin. Yes, this is another synthetic ingredient, but it has proven effectiveness for keeping the bugs at bay. DEET is best for ticks, but picaridin is good for mosquitoes and other similar critters.
Studies show that picaridin is good for long-term repellants. 20% picaridin can last for up to eight hours and keep the mosquitoes at bay. This is not something that DEET can offer. Another major benefit is the lack of damage to materials.
One of the downsides is the lack of research into the long-term benefits. While DEET has been used for more than 60 years, picaridin is relatively new. More studies are required, but so far, the ingredient looks good.
Natural Is Not Necessarily Safer or Effective
Want to opt for something natural? Well, while they can be viewed as safer, that is not necessarily the case. In fact, there are many people allergic to natural products. More and more people are showing allergies or irritations to some natural ingredients, including nuts and eucalyptus oil.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus is considered a good option for repelling insects. While it has proven to be effective, studies have not shown that it is safe. The studies also show that the ingredient is not exactly that effective against ticks. However, you can keep the pesky mosquitoes at bay. Studies show that children under three can suffer temporary eye injuries and that is without it accidentally being applied to the eyes. It can also cause rashes and other problems with the skin.
Some studies show the natural oil has some benefits. It can help you withstand mosquitoes for around seven hours. If you do not have children around and you have no allergies, this could certainly be an option to consider.
You may also look at bracelets or candles to help avoid the bugs. They do not work! Studies show no effectiveness from either, both against bugs and mosquitoes. The best option in studies is the spray-on repellants with the ingredients already mentioned.
If you want to keep the mosquitoes out of your garden, you will need to eliminate the stagnant water. The candles are not going to help if the water is there!
Buy Based on Ingredients and Concentration
You cannot just look at the ingredient list on any product. You will also need to look at the concentration levels. At the same time, you need to consider the full list of ingredients before you just look at the concentration levels.
For example, 20% concentration of DEET or picaridin is considered the best, but that does not mean a 15% solution of one of them is not going to work. Look at what the other ingredients are. There may be 5% of the other ingredient, helping to give you good protection. The solutions with slightly less than 20% can be effective, but you may not get the same length of protection.
Do opt for an insect repellant separate to your sunscreen. You will need to reapply your sunscreen regularly, but this will mean adding too much of the chemicals to repel the bugs. By keeping them separate you help to protect your overall health.
Looking at Your Best Product Options
So, now you know what to look out for, it is time to look at the best insect repellents on the market. There are just so ma7ytny to choose between. We have helped you narrow down the list based on effectiveness, ingredients, and price.
Get Picaridin Through Sawyer Fisherman’s Insect Repellent
For a mere $6, you can get a mosquito protection for up to 14 hours, according to the bottle’s marketing. However, the bottle also says that it repels ticks, yet uses picaridin. We have already noted that the synthetic ingredient is not the best for keeping ticks at bay, but is good for mosquitoes.
Sawyer Fisherman’s formulas are good for eight-hour protection. It has 20% picaridin. It comes as a lotion, which can help you feel like you are getting some coverage. At the same time, it is one of the cheapest and most effective options on the market.
The bottle is small, which will make transportation easy. You do not need to worry about packing a lot for your camping trip, it is possible to store some at home for the garden, and you can store in the car if you need to.
Stock up on Repel Lemon Eucalyptus
While this natural product is not safe for children under three, oil of lemon eucalyptus has shown some positive results in tests. That is why Repel’s spray is one that is worth trying out. It has 6-7 hours of effectiveness and is easily affordable at just $5.
The spray is completely DEET-free, which is great for those who just do not want synthetic materials. There is a beautiful scent of the lemon, and it comes in a small bottle that is easy to transport around. You do not need to rub this product into your skin. Just spray on your skin, and you will protect yourself from the bugs. Just watch out for spraying in the eyes!
Repel Scented Family for DEET
If you do want a DEET product, Repel Scented Family is the one to choose. The can is slightly bigger, and it looks like a deodorant can, but it is good for full-family protection. While it is one of the most expensive products on the market, it offers protection against both mosquitoes and ticks.
The solution is only 15% DEET, but studies have shown that it can be beneficial. In fact, sometimes 15% can be safer, as the concentration is not as reactive on the skin. Some stronger concentrations have shown some rashes in people.
Natrapel for 8-Hour Protection
Want whole-day protection without spending a fortune? Natrapel is the spray that you want to turn to. This uses 20% picaridin that gives you insect protection for up to eight hours. It is considered one of the best products in the whole world because it is so effective.
It is easily affordable for all. The downside is possibly the size of the can. This is not the smallest of products, but worth it for effectiveness.
Off! Deepwoods for Highly Effective Protection
The most expensive on the list, at $12, is Off! Deepwoods insect repellant. Like many of the others, this uses a DEET-based treatment that helps to keep the mosquitoes away. It is also good for other similar bugs. The DEET also means that it is excellent for keeping ticks and many other bugs at bay. When you want to go on a camping trip, you will want to use this one for family-wide protection.
It is another aerosol can, which can make application easy. Just watch out if you are wearing some materials.
You Can Still End Up with Some Bites
It is worth noting that no product is 100% effective. Unfortunately, bugs mutate, and they can build protection against some of the formulas. However, it is all about the number of times you are bitten.
You should not find that you are bitten more than once in a 5 to 10-minute period. This can seem like a lot, but it certainly beats the alternative of multiple bites in the space of a minute.
The length of time you have had the repellant on will affect how good they are. As the products wear off, you can see more insects getting through the barrier. Reapplication every 6-8 hours is completely normal for all insect repellants.
Stock Up on the Best Insect Repellant
To find the best insect repellant for you, you will first need to decide on the main ingredient. Are you happy with DEET or would you like something natural? There is no wrong or right answer, but you will need to think about who the repellant is for. You may be surprised to learn that the synthetic options can be much safer for children!
Once you have the base ingredient you prefer, look out for the concentration. When it comes to DEET, 15 to 30% is best, while picaridin is best with 20% concentration. These will give you the long-lasting protection against the critters that cause a problem while hiking and camping.