Most standard mosquito repellents are based on insecticides called DEET-N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide
This substance is one of the only insecticides used directly on the skin. It is an active chemical found in concentrations ranging from 4% to 100% in the mosquito repellents on the market. The material was developed in the 1940s by the US Army to repel mosquitoes in the jungles and in the 1950s was put into general use.
DEET penetrates the skin and about 8% of it reaches the blood and the fetus in pregnant women.
At low concentrations it is effective for a few hours, at concentrations of about 100% its effectiveness increases up to 12 hours. (2)
Studies on the toxicity of the substance have not found harsh reactions in laboratory animals and in people other than skin irritations at various levels and sometimes urinary and liver problems in laboratory animals. At the same time, DEET appears to be associated with dozens of cases of paralysis and death – at the very low frequency. Therefore, and in light of the exceptional use of insecticide directly on the skin and clothing, the EPA has defined a number of important rules when using DEET, including (1(:
1. Prohibition of registration of products containing DEET as safe for children. No correlation was found between the concentration of the substance and its safety for children, so the EPA does not believe that DEET in low concentration is safer for children.
2. It is mandatory to list usage warnings on all products containing DEET
3. Do not use it on injured / irritated skin.
4. Use the minimum possible material.
5. Do not use material under clothes.
6. When entering the house wash the treated skin with soap and water.
7. Wash clothing treated with material before reuse
8. The use of this substance can cause skin reactions in rare cases.
In contrast to DEET, there are natural preparations based on the use of oils and mosquito repellent essential oils. Lavender’s Blitush cream contain several essential oils that have been found to be highly effective for insect repellents including:
•Thyme Essential oil – substances produced from the Thyme essential oil have been found to effectively repel mosquitoes in people. Some have even shown more effective rejection than DEET and for a longer period of time. (3)
•Lavender, rosemary, thyme and eucalyptus essential oils have also been found to be very effective in other studies (4).
•Essential oil of geraniums and fennel has also been found to be effective in mosquito repellents in other studies (5)
•Essential oil of lemon grass is also known for its ability to reject insects.
•Clove oil is also effective in the rejection of disease-transmitting insects (6).
In most studies, the oils were found to be good for rejection but sometimes at a lesser level, or for a shorter period of time than the active ingredient in the standard mosquito repellent DEET.
All that is written on the site is based on the opinion of the writers and their best experience and is not a substitute for a medical opinion.
1. The US Department of Environmental Protection
3.Park BS. Et.al.Monoterpenes from thyme (Thymus vulgaris) as potential mosquito repellents. J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2005 Mar; 21 (1): 80-3
4.Choi WS, et.al., Repellent activities of essential oils and monoterpenes against Culex pipiens pallens. J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2002 Dec; 18 (4): 348-51
5.Kim SI, et. Al. Repellency of aerosol and cream products containing fennel oil to mosquitoes under laboratory and field conditions. Pest Manag Sci. 2004 Nov; 60 (11): 1125-30
6.Eamsobhana P, Laboratory evaluation of aromatic essential oils from thirteen plant species as candidate repellents against Leptotrombidium chiggers (Acari: Trombiculidae), the vector of scrub typhus. Exp Appl Acarol. 2009 Mar; 47 (3): 257-62. Epub 2008 Nov 14