Best Insect Repellent: Ultimate Guide

Insect repellent is a substance that, by their smell or nature, offer protection against insect bites. There are different types of repellents, some more effective than others, and also adapted for each age. 

Other repellents can also be found, such as electronic devices, which keep pests away from larger creatures, such as rodents and flyers, which can be disease carriers.

It is important to note that insect repellents prevent bites from biting insects (mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and flies) but not from stinging insects (bees, hornets, and wasps).  

Best Insect Repellent: Types

Chemical Repellent With DEET: 

DEET is the most popular component in insect repellents. It is considered the best defense against biting insects. Its protection ranges from two to five hours, depending on the concentration of the DEET ingredient in the product (two to three hours 10% concentration, five to six hours 25%; a concentration higher than 30% does not offer greater effectiveness or protection). 

Children should not use repellents containing more than 30% DEET. These insect repellents are also not recommended for children under two months of age.


Icaridin or Picaridin: 

KBR 3023 (Hydroxyethyl isobutyl piperidine carboxylate) has been shown to be as effective as DEET and without the irritation associated with the latter. Protection ranges from three to eight hours, depending on its concentration. It is not recommended for babies under two months of age.

Repellents With Essential Oils Of Plants (Citronella, Cedar, Eucalyptus, Soy):

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pointed out that these oils are as effective as DEET or icaridin in repellents containing eucalyptus, lemon, or soybean oils at 2%. However, the protection time is less than two hours, so they need to be replaced very frequently.

Chemical Insect Repellent With Permethrin:

Permethrin or Pyrethrin is a synthetic chemical used worldwide as an insecticide and acaricide, as well as an insect repellent. They should not be applied to the skin, only on clothes (and the product remains even after washing). Unlike icaridin and plant oils, it has been proven effective in killing ticks on contact.


IR3535 (Ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate):

Is a synthetic insect repellent active against mosquitoes, ticks, and biting flies. Studies have shown very variable protection depending on the concentration of the product and the species of mosquito against which it acts (from one to six hours). Against the common mosquito, its effectiveness is about six hours. The toxicity of this repellent is minimal.