About Mosquito Repellent Lotions
Mosquitoes are one of the peskiest pests out there. The worst part is that they don’t just bite you and leave. They also have the potential of infecting you with malaria, dengue fever, and many other debilitating diseases. One mosquito can also keep on biting you, leaving itchy spots all over your skin.
That’s why mosquito repellent lotions are an absolute necessity. You see, they are easier to use and carry around than some other mosquito repellents. If you’re going on a camping trip with your family or on a hike with friends, you won’t have to worry about mosquito bites, even if the place is filled with them. Your mosquito repellent lotion will have you covered, literally.
However, before we get ahead of ourselves with the buying guide, let’s look at when to use mosquito repellent lotions and what types are out there.
When should I use a mosquito repellent lotion?
Mosquito repellent lotions are a thoughtful invention. They eliminate the need to constantly use sprays.
Lotions are great because sprays can be difficult to apply outdoors, especially if it’s windy. Some ingredients in insect repellents can cause eye irritation. Even though they don’t kill mosquitoes, repellents are a good way to keep everyone safe and secure when in a mosquito-infested area.
In the summertime, when the air is humid and the weather is warm, mosquitoes are in their prime. Since some sunscreens contain some form of bug repellent, you might be tempted to choose one of them as a two-in-one power combo. But a sunscreen with bug repellent may not do the job as well as a mosquito repellent lotion on its own and sunscreen must be applied more frequently than insect repellent should be, for safety reasons. While the main focus of the former isn’t repelling bugs, that is the main focus of the latter.
How safe are mosquito repellent lotions?
No matter how fantastic these lotions are and how much peace they offer, you probably want to know how often you can apply them. If you live in an area where mosquitoes abound and have been looking for ways to keep the pests away, mosquito repellent lotions might seem like the answer to all your prayers. You might feel tempted to go all out and use the lotion constantly.
You should know, though, that all mosquito repellent lotions (and everything else in the world) contain chemicals. Some contain synthetic chemicals while others contain plant-based, or natural, chemicals. If they repel mosquitoes, they could possibly affect you, especially if overused. DEET, for example, is a common synthetic ingredient in a lot of mosquito repellents. But even though it works like magic, DEET is known to cause skin irritation if applied too heavily or left on for too long. Citronella, an oil derived from grasses, may irritate your eyes. Both can be dangerous if ingested.
You also have to know what you’re allergic to. No matter how safe a repellent claims to be, you still have to check with your dermatologist. It’s a good idea to be doubly sure, especially if you’re allergy-prone. If you notice any reaction to the lotion, stop using it immediately. Just because a friend or neighbor uses a product doesn’t guarantee the same will be true for you because every type of skin is different.
In addition to the above, if you’re pregnant, consult your doctor before using new products. Anything your skin absorbs can reach your unborn child. DEET has been shown to be safe for use by pregnant women, but it’s always best to let your doctor recommend an insect repellent for you.
Mosquito Repellent Lotion Buying Guide
What are the active ingredients?
DEET received a bad reputation in the past. However, as it is regulated by the EPA, it has undergone multiple safety tests. At certain concentrations, it is safe for adults (including pregnant women) and children older than 2 months of age. It is also highly effective.
Be sure to choose a product containing between 25 and 30% DEET. A higher concentration has no greater benefits and may lead to irritation or worse side effects, including seizures.
Do not use a lotion that contains permethrin (you shouldn’t be able to find one anyway). It should only be applied to your clothing, not the skin. It is both an insecticide and repellent and can cause a burning sensation on skin contact.
Plant-based repellents can be made from picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, neem, eucalyptus, peppermint, and citronella. They have variable effectiveness and, just like synthetic chemicals, can have unpleasant side effects. Only picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are recognized as insect repellents by the EPA. As such, they are regulated and safety tested. Both citronella and neem can be skin and eye irritants. Keep in mind that the terms “natural” and “plant-based” do not mean “SAFE”. After all, ricin and arsenic, two well-known poisons, are both natural. Ricin is even plant-based: it comes from castor beans.
Do you have any allergies?
If you have any allergies, you may need to check with your doctor before you use any mosquito repellent lotion. No matter how safe it is on average, it’s not safe if you end up with an allergic reaction. Seek professional advice and find out what you need to avoid. Otherwise, you’ll get rid of one problem only to start battling another.
Are you pregnant?
Pregnancy means a lot of things are restricted. As mentioned, just check with your doctor before using any new products while you’re pregnant. EPA-regulated repellents are considered safe for pregnant women, but it’s always better to double check.
Are you breastfeeding?
Since your baby has to put their mouth on your skin to breastfeed, applying a mosquito repellent nearby is not a wise choice, though mosquito repellents should never be applied underneath clothing. While babies feed, they tend to touch their mother’s skin and may then end up putting their hands in their mouths. Even if you avoid applying the product to your breasts, they could ingest it from sucking their fingers. If you do use a lotion, make sure you wash your hands and breasts well before feeding and choose a product that is safe for both you and your child.
The buying guide doesn’t contain everything you need to know about mosquito repellent lotions, sadly. But it should go a long way in helping you pick out the mosquito repellent lotion that is best for you.