The best mosquito repellent
A test of mosquitoes is like a dip in the world of chemistry. We see the same mosquito repellent in the same packaging year after year, and believe that the products contain the same as before. This is not necessarily the case. Although wrapping and scent resembles, the mosquito repellent may contain other active substances, and you should be particularly interested and have a magnifying glass at hand to guide reading the table of contents. Here are some info about the different active substances:
DEET (N, N-Dietyl-Meat-Toluamide): The most widely used mosquito repellent until now. Developed by the US Department of Agriculture for the United States Defense in 1946. Also works well against other biting insects and ticks. DEET is a yellowish oil with characteristic odor. A little water-soluble. It is not finally established how DEET works. Most likely explanation is that when it comes to the skin, a vapor is emitted by the insects as repellent or that the steam causes the mosquito to fail to smell you. Attempts show that mosquitoes with 20% DEET are expected to keep the mosquito away for 3-6 hours.
DEET does not damage cotton, wool and nylon clothing, but can damage other synthetic fabrics and colored leather. Can solve certain types of plastic, f. example. fishing strings, spectacles and vinyl in car seats. Solves nail polish. Also damages contact lenses, but if you get it in your eye, the direct irritation will be what you notice. In Norway, up to 20% DEET is allowed in the mosquito nets. Do not use in children under three years. The Environmental Directorate identifies DEET as dangerous by swallowing and irritating to eyes and skin.
Foreign studies of DEET used in the prescribed manner showed no detectable health effects. DEET is slightly poisonous for birds, freshwater fish and water insects. The DEET uptake in the body is said to increase up to six times if it is applied with sunscreen!
Picaridine (also called Icaridine and Saltidine): Picaridine (Hydroxyethyl isobutyl) is a relatively new synthetic softener from German Bayer. It has many of the properties a perfect mosquito repellent should have: odorless, non oil / greasy on the skin, does not irritate the skin and does not destroy plastic or laundry. Is not water-soluble and therefore can withstand sweating and bathing well. European trials have shown that preparations with 20% Picaridin have kept the mosquitoes away for 8-10 hours, while other experiments conclude with a 4-5 hour effect. Picaridine is considered as effective as DEET.
In 2000, WHO submitted that Picaridin should be the preferred mosquito repellent on the basis of efficacy, safety and cosmetic properties. Attempts show that less than 6% of the substance is absorbed by the body. What is absorbed is excreted through the urine during about. 24 hours. The only chin on Picaridin is that it is new and that any long-term effects have not yet been proven.
Picaridin is not toxic to insects, but it is believed that the drug emits a vapor like mosquito, other biting insects and ticks perceive as repellent. It is moderately toxic to fish. A major study of acute, subchronic and chronic effects of Picaridin used in the prescribed manner showed no detectable health effects, even in children.
Citridiol (p-Mentan-3,8-diol or menthol glycol): The name of oil from the Australian sitroneucalypus tree. Smells like menthol, have a cooling effect and are the only natural preparation that is officially approved as a mosquito detergent in the United States / Europe. Citridiol decomposes rapidly in nature, whereas DEET remains in the ecosystem for a long time. Preparations with 40% Citridiol are found to be equally effective against mosquitoes as agents with 7-15% DEET.
Another advantage is that Citridiol in test proves effective for 4-7 hours against aggressive mosquitoes and for more than 12 hours against less aggressive mosquito species. This is longer than both DEET and Picaridin. Citridiol is effective against mosquitoes, biting flies and knots, not against ticks. Is a bit sticky and smells slightly sweet. Should not be used in children under three years of age.
Geraniol: Geraniol is a natural plant oil. It probably works because it masks our smell so mosquitoes and other insects do not find us. Olives with Geraniol are approved as a food additive in food, and the substance breaks down quickly into the body. Several studies have shown that Geraniol may slow down the development of certain types of cancer. In some cases, Geraniol may cause skin irritation. Therefore, it should not be used on young children. Is slightly toxic to fish.
Ethyl Butylacetylaminoproplonate: Leading experts consider this drug to be clearly less effective than mosquitoes and insecticides than, for example, DEET and Picaridin, but the conclusion is that it is “better than nothing”.