• Dharma Nemani

Bug repellent (and the deets on DEET)


Most of us are bidding summer weather sweet goodbye and preparing for cooler fall temps. But for the rest of us in year-round warm climates, the bug life is real (special shoutout to my Singapore / Houston folks!)


Or, if you’re planning a trip somewhere warm and tropical, hope you find these notes useful.

Sparring you all the research and supporting links, let me break it down before anything else: - First slather SPF thoroughly and allow a couple of mins to dry - Then spray bug repellent - Avoid a combined SPF-bug repellent product

The EWG, my most trusted resource for consumer safety reporting, recommends these three bug repellent ingredients and percentage concentration for kids: - DEET: max 10% - Picaridin: max 20% - IR3535: max 20% (wtf, how is this random series of numbers an ingredient?)

So for some reason, I always thought DEET was a huge no-no for kids. But research indicates that at the right concentration, DEET is fair game for kids older than 6 months and offers the best protection against insect bites.

Here’s a quick list of great products that meet all the standards: - Cutter Family 7% DEET spray ($3.50!) - Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin spray ($8.50) - If you prefer something more natural, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus ($5) spray is vetted. But only for kids 3 and up. Dicey but key detail: Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is apparently not the same as Lemon Eucalyptus oil (which is a pure essential oil).

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