DEET vs Picaridin – new mosquito repellent
August 10th, 2010
Picaridin is a new but effective repellent, that some persons find more pleasant to use than DEET. It does not eat your plastic for a start!
‘DEET’ is the gold standard effective mosquito repellent to apply on your skin. Repellents work by blocking the receptors on the mosquitoes antennae, so the mosquitoes cannot find you – a bit like wearing Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. 30% DEET gives protection for 4 hours. Higher concentrations protect for longer, but sadly more is not always better; above 50% DEET, the duration of protection plateaus. ‘Sticky’ products with higher DEET (e.g. Bushman 80%) may be useful in conditions where persons are sweating profusely e.g. Kokoda track. DEET has been on the market for 45 years and side effects do not occur if used according to the directions.
DEET products on the skin have been found to be more effective than coils, citronella candles, sonic repellers, UV light lures, and ‘mozzie plants’. E.g. Citronella protects for less than 20 minutes and wristbands average 12- 18 seconds (swapping to a fresh wrist band every 12 seconds is likely to somewhat hinder ones enjoyment of the destination).
The downside of DEET is that, if it leaks, it can damage plastics, synthetic fabrics, leather and painted or varnished materials. This is a bit of a problem for travellers as we tend to carry things like eye glasses, cameras, phones etc, and its not easy to get to shops to replace our precious toys – even if we had spare money to buy them, and trusted the guarantee etc. DEET has no effect on cotton, wool or nylon or skin.
Picaridin is nearly odorless (mild citrus scent when first applied) and your cameras, phones and other toys will rest easy in your pockets as it is safe for plastics and synthetic materials. The Australian product OFF! Skintastic has 92.8g/L picaridin provides protection for about 3 hours. Higher concentrations will generally protect for longer.
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