Numerous studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, research universities, and a variety of other academic and public health institutions have demonstrated that mosquito repellent products containing N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide prevent mosquito bites more effectively and for a longer period of time than all other repellent compounds. The above named repellent compound has become commonly known as DEET, and this ingredient is what most people look for when shopping for mosquito repellents. However, in recent years mosquito repellent products containing a compound known as picaridin have become popular in the US, and experts with the EPA state that picaridin and DEET both provide reliable protection from mosquito bites. At the moment, picaridin and DEET are the two primary mosquito repellent compounds that public health experts recommend for protection against mosquito bites, but many people are curious to know which one of the two is truly the best.

DEET was first developed by the US Army back in 1946, and it provides reliable protection from mosquito bites for a period of six hours, but products containing smaller concentrations may not last quite as long. Each year, 30 percent of Americans use mosquito repellent products containing DEET, and the EPA has determined that such products are safe for use. However, some consumers have noted that DEET repellents feel greasy when applied to skin, and they often have an unpleasant odor. While harmless to humans, studies have found that DEET dissolves certain plastics and synthetic materials, which damage eyewear. Picaridin was first developed during the 1980s, and it’s a synthetic compound that is similar to a plant extract from the piper family. Mosquito repellent products containing picaridin were approved for use in the US by the EPA in 2005, and like DEET, experts have determined that picaridin is safe for use. It is also worth noting that picaridin is preferred by many for being free of odors and for not feeling greasy when applied to the skin. Also, picaridin does not dissolve plastics or synthetic materials, and it may provide longer lasting protection than DEET-based repellent products.

Have you noticed a difference between mosquito repellent products containing DEET and products containing picaridin?