Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Hello, and welcome to the Well-Being Guide! In today's text, we're going to talk about repellent, the most effective protection against mosquitoes and insects, indispensable in the routine of families in some regions of Brazil.

In this guide, we'll show you everything you need to know about repellent. The different formulas and application methods, the technologies, usage tips and, of course, the best models on the shelves, all so you can buy your ideal repellent.




First things first

  • Today repellents are divided between body repellents, applied to the skin, and electronic ones, which spread protection through the air.
  • Among body repellents, there are sprays, aerosols, creams and lotions.
  • There are also natural repellents, made from plants such as citronella and eucalyptus, which can be bought or made by yourself.

The Best Repellent: Our Picks

Buying Guide

If there is one word that can define repellent, that word is "care". There must be a double care with the skin, that is, so that it does not suffer from bites and bruises and reactions to the product itself, and a sustainable care, not to interfere with our already sensitive ecological balance, by protecting us from insects, and not attacking them.

But people need different care and protection, which is why there is a wide variety of repellents, with different defence methods and applications, as well as different formulas and effects. All of them, and more, you can find in the Buying Guide below.

Imagem mostra uma mulher espirrando repelente na perna no meio de uma trilha na floresta..

The repellent is a responsible protection with our body and with nature. (Source: mihtiander/ 123rf.com)

How does the repellent work?

Contrary to what the name induces us to think, repellent does not repel insects, at least not as happens with the equal poles of magnets. The substance, in fact, "confuses" the mosquitoes.

Attracted by the various odors naturally exhaled by the skin, the beetles have their "olfactory compass" completely disturbed by the protective cloud of repellent, which is launched into the air by the perspiration of our skin or by the evaporation/sublimation of the devices, and they give up going after anything that is in the middle of this cloud.

Advantages
  • Skin-friendly
  • Does not kill insects
  • Poison-free
Disadvantages
  • Does not inhibit the attraction of insects
  • Needs to be reapplied

Body or electronic repellent?

Regardless of formulas and components, there are two major groups of repellents, the "Body Repellents" and "Electronic" Repellents.

As we have already mentioned, the basic function of a repellent is to release a protective cloud into the air. Objectively speaking, the difference between the two types of repellent lies in how this cloud is created.

 Imagem mostra um repelente eletrônico de tomada sobre uma mesa de madeira, com diversas pastilhas ao seu redor.

The electronic repellent releases a large protective cloud by means of chemical reactions in the device. (Source: Oksana Mironovar/ 123rf.com)

In body repellent, the cloud is exhaled by the skin when absorbed after application. In the electronic repellent, the sublimation of the tablets and the evaporation of liquid solutions do the job.

Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. If the electronic repellent does not require application on the skin, its protection is limited to the range of the cloud launched; the body repellent takes the protection wherever you go, but limited to the place applied.

Body Electronic
Protection method Protective odor layer Protective odor layer
Practicality Low High
Portability High Low

How to use the repellent?

Although they have different formulas and compounds, all body repellents have temporary action, which can vary between their duration, usually between two, five and ten hours.

Thus, it is necessary to reapply the repellent at the end of this action time, as well as when your skin comes into contact with water. And there's no need to exaggerate on the amount, right? It matters more the covered area of your body than how much repellent is applied in each part of it.

Attention! Never rub the repellent in your eyes or mouth, and always wash your hands when you finish applying it

The electronic repellent, on the other hand, must be turned on at the same time in a place that comprises the area in which you want to be protected, and at least two metres away from your eyes, nose and mouth.

There must also be a place for the mosquitoes to escape, such as an open window or door, and the device must be on the opposite side so that the protective cloud does not dissipate.

Imagem mostra uma mulher, com apenas suas pernas no quadro, espirrando repelente em seus joelhos.

Sprinkle (or apply) and spread repellent all over your body, but do not overdo it. More protected parts, less amount on each of them! (Source: mosquito1/ Pixabay.com)

What are the differences between repellent for adults and for children?

As the body of an adult and a child are very different, it is natural that there is an ideal repellent for each. Still, the changes between one and the other are not drastic.

Repellents for children, for example, are hypoallergenic, usually with a pleasant smell and lower concentrations of active ingredients in the formulas, while the products for adults are usually odorless and with longer-lasting action, due to the higher concentration of repellent substances.

Natural or synthetic repellent?

Another basic variation of repellents is between natural and synthetic. These titles speak of the active principle in their formulas, i.e., the substance that actually repels mosquitoes.

The natural ones are made of plants, especially citronella and eucalyptus, and for this reason are safer as to the body's skin reaction. On the other hand, they have a less lasting action, from two hours down.

The synthetic ones are usually made based on one of these three substances, DEET, IR 3535 and Icaridin, which must have their concentrations controlled, but which act for a longer time after each application.

Imagem mostra um quatro frascos de óleos vegetais enfileirados sobre uma superfície e um fundo brancos.

Synthetic repellents are safer for our body, but less effective. (Source: evita-ochel/ Pixabay.com)

What is the price of repellent?

Since there is a wide variety of models, technologies and compositions, repellents also have a wide range of prices, from $ 10 to $ 200. Body repellents are obviously cheaper, and their price varies according to their formula, quantity and application method.

The electronic ones, in turn, also vary from their composition, but mainly by the area covered and the duration of each refill, either tablet or liquid.

Purchase Criteria: How to choose the best repellent

With so many compositions, active ingredients and indications, it can be difficult to choose the most suitable repellent for you. That's why we've put together our list of buying criteria, with elements of the repellent to be noted when buying.

Let's talk about each one of the items, so that you go to the shop well informed and decided!

Anvisa

It is essential that you only choose repellents approved by Anvisa.

It is undeniable that repellent presents a potential risk by combining substances that need precise dosages with contact with our skin and respiratory system.

Therefore, it is essential that you only choose repellents approved by the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), which guarantees your safety.

Duration of protection

An excellent "tie-breaker" criterion between models is the duration of their protection. A longer time of action of the repellent means not only greater effectiveness, but also greater practicality and cost-benefit.

This is because you need fewer applications in a day, in the case of body repellents, and fewer refill changes, in the case of electronic ones, which saves the product, your money and your time.

Imagem mostra duas pessoas deitadas em duas redes, uma em cima da outra, amarradas em árvores, ao pôr do sol.

Long-lasting protection also means greater comfort and peace of mind. (Source: Chris Thompson/ Unsplash.com)

Composition

The composition of the repellent dictates not only its effectiveness, but also the safety of those who use it. Firstly, the ideal is that it is based on one of these three active ingredients: DEET (diethyltoluamide), IR 3535 and Icaridin, in the case of synthetic models, or citronella and / or eucalyptus, for natural ones.

The concentration of these substances is also important, especially among the synthetics.

For effectiveness and, at the same time, safety, the DEET must be between 6% and 9% (children) and 10% and 15% (adults), IR 3535 between 20% and Icaridin between 20% and 25%.

Method of application (Body)

Another tie-breaker between body repellents is the method of application, usually eligible between sprays, aerosols, creams and lotions. There is no one best method, just the one that is right for you.

Spray, for example, is the most practical, while lotion is the most economical way. Oils and lotions are the most skin-friendly, and aerosols the hardest.

Coverage (Electronic)

For electronic repellents, the way to select among your favourite models is to look at their coverage, that is, the size of the area they protect when turned on.

The ideal is to be as large as possible without losing efficiency, but an area that covers the crucial points of the house, such as bed, sofa and dining table, for example, is already quite satisfactory.

(Photo highlighted: Elizaveta Galitckaia/ 123rf.com)

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