Sensitive skin? This is the only insect repellent you should be using

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Sensitive skin? This is the only insect repellent you should be using

After a few sunny weekends we’re just starting to gear up and get our heads around the fact that summer is only a couple of months away. And with warmer weather comes longer days, balmy nights and lots of barbeques and beach sessions. But with all that joy, comes something not so fun – mosquitos. 

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For most of us, this just means dousing our bare legs and arms in the closest possible bug spray, often containing the effective ingredient DEET. 

However, for those with sensitive skin, applying an insect repellent can mean red, itchy and irritated skin.. (sounds a lot like being ravaged by mosquitos…). 

So, instead of trying to fight fire with fire this summer, Harvard Health has revealed the active ingredient ‘picaridin’ is the non-irritating, odourless and non-greasy alternative to bug sprays containing DEET. 

Speaking to Well + Good, dermatologist Blair Murphy-Rose reveals that while DEET may be viewed as the “gold standard” of repellents, picaridin is believed to be equally as effective, without the harsh side effects. “Picaridin is generally better tolerated than DEET as it is less likely to elicit irritant or allergic reactions,” says Dr Murphy-Rose. 

After the year we’ve all had, nothing, especially a few pesky mosquitos and some irritated skin will be keeping us from enjoying the fresh air this summer. 

Here are our recommended insect repellents containing Picaridin:

1. Off! Family Care Insect Repellent Pump, $4.69, available at Chemist Warehouse.


2. Tui Balms Bug Spray Extra Strength, $14.88, available at return2health



If you’re wanting an alternative that is totally chemical-free, we are loving these natural options:



1. BUG-grrr OFF Jungle Strength Natural Insect Repellent Spray, $8.99, available at Chemist Warehouse



2. Thursday Plantation Walkabout Insect Repellent Roll-On, $6.49, available at Chemist Warehouse




And if you’re an essential oil lover, lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus oils have all been known to hold their own mosquito-repelling benefits. 

bh recommends: In Essence Eucalyptus Pure Essential Oil, Natio 100% Pure Natural Essential Oil – Lavender, The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil 

Main image credit: Getty 

Have you ever had a bad reaction to insect repellent? Would you try a natural option?







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Comments 22

  1. I usually take Bushmans when I travel overseas (not that anyone has been doing that lately). It does contain Deet but it is effective. I’ve never had a reaction but prefer not to use it if I can avoid it. Don’t really like spraying it on my skin. I think Aeroguard now make something you can spray on your clothes instead of your skin.

  2. I´ve tried natural ones but find they are not as effective or long lasting as ones with DEET. Unfortunately mosquitoes bite me all the time and I get really bad swelling so I find it better for me to use DEET, especially on holidays.

  3. Some great alternatives. I still to the DEET as it does a good job and it does not irritate me. For flies I find spraying my clothes good enough (Ie top and sun cap) but when the bugs come out at night I go in…

  4. Great information on these products. Most of the members of our family have sensitive skin and its problematic with insect bites There’s some good suggestions for products to try

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