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DEET vs. Picaridin

August 25, 2016

zika infected mosquito biting a man

The recent threat of Zika here in South Florida has all of us wondering what we can do for protection from those pesky mosquitoes.  One of the best ways to keep them away is through the use of insect repellent. But which type is the most effective at protecting you from mosquitoes?  Each insect repellent contains specific chemicals designed to keep mosquitoes away and the top-selling insect repellents today contain either DEET or Picaridin. So, which one is better?

At Nozzle Nolen, it is our job to know how to protect you from pests like mosquitoes, and we know that both DEET and Picaridin are effective and will provide protection from mosquitoes and the diseases that they may carry.  

Since the U.S. Army developed it in 1946, the synthetic chemical DEET has proven to be the best insect repellent on the market.  Used by about 30% of Americans each year, DEET’s popularity is widespread due to the fact that it doesn’t dissolve easily in water, it has a relative lack of adverse side effects, and it serves as a reliable, long-lasting protection against mosquitoes. The EPA has completed multiple assessments over the years (most recently in 1998) and has concluded that DEET presents no health concerns when used as directed.  Depending on the concentration within the repellent, DEET lasts between 1 to 6 hours.  The higher the concentration, the longer the protection lasts.  If you choose DEET, then we recommend finding a product with a concentration of about 30%.  There are a few drawbacks with DEET including its unique odor and greasy texture which some find to be displeasing.  Another negative attribute of DEET is its ability to dissolve some synthetic materials such as the plastics used in sunglasses.  It is known to have hazardous effects on vinyl, rayon, and spandex. But it definitely does not have effects on wool, nylon, or cotton.  All things considered, DEET is a safe and effective product.

On the other hand, Bayer developed the synthetic compound Picaridin in the 1980’s from a plant extract of the genus Piper, which is well known for being the genus that Black Pepper comes from.  Picaridin became a best seller in Europe and Asia after it’s debut in 1998 and was approved for sale in the United States in 2005.  Picaridin is relatively new to the market but there are no long-term side effects that we are aware of.  Furthermore, just like DEET, the EPA concluded that Picadirin does not present any health concerns when used as directed.  In addition, Picaridin provides a similar long-lasting complete protection against mosquito bites.  Unlike DEET, Picadirin is odorless, non-greasy and does not dissolve synthetic materials or plastics.  Plus, Picadirin is much less likely than DEET to cause skin irritation.  Ultimately the decision is up to you, but Nozzle Nolen recommends Picaridin to our friends, family, and loyal customers. 

If you decide to go with Picaridin, we here at Nozzle Nolen endorse the insect repellent Moskito Care.  If you are interested in purchasing Moskito Care or if you have any questions about Picaridin, please call one of our sales advisors at (800) 226-6536.


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