If you ask people what the worst things about summer are, chances are bugs are probably one of the top answers. Insects are important to the environment but can be a nuisance and even harmful to humans. This is where insect repellents come in to save the day. There are a variety of insect repellents on the market but not all of them are safe to use on our skin. Some may actually do more harm than good by irritating the skin enough to require medical attention.
Safe Insect Repellents
So which insect repellents are safe and effective? There are a lot of unsafe products out there that claim to keep insects away but are actually unsafe for your skin and health. Here are three chemicals commonly present in insect repellents that are not only effective in keeping bugs away but are also safe when used in the right concentrate levels and as directed.
- Deet is a popular chemical in insect repellents that is responsible for keeping bugs away. There is a misconception that the higher deet concentration an insect repellent has, the better it is for you. This is wrong! You should never get an insect repellent with more than a 30% deet concentration. Too much deet can cause skin irritation, rashes, and in some cases, seizures. It’s best to stick with a skin repellent that has a 15-20% deet concentration for maximum benefit and the least amount of side effects.
- Another popular chemical in insect repellents is Picaridin. This chemical is not effective in low doses so stick with a 20% concentration. However, it can irritate the eyes and skin so use only as much as you need and wash it off immediately when you get indoors.
- Another effective insect repellent ingredient is oil of lemon eucalyptus. A concentration of 30% can effectively keep the bugs away safely. Make sure it doesn’t get in the eyes and don’t use it on children under 3 years of age.
Safety Tips When Using Insect Repellents
Here are a few tips to follow when applying insect repellents to your skin.
- Never apply insect repellents on broken skin, cuts, wounds, or any area of skin that is irritated.
- Don’t overdo it – use only enough repellent to cover exposed skin and avoid spraying clothing.
- As soon as you get home, wash all skin thoroughly to ensure all of the repellent is removed.
- Don’t spray insect repellent indoors, in a tent or in other enclosed spaces.
- When it comes time to applying insect repellent on children or to your face, spray the repellent on your hands before applying it – never spray children’s skin or your face directly.
The Children’s Skin Center deals with a plethora of skin issues including irritation and rashes due to unsafe insect repellents. If you or your child have a skin problem, call the Children’s Skin Center today. They are a full-service dermatological practice serving both children and adults. Call (305) 669-6555 to make an appointment today or you can request a consultation online.