The active ingredients Icaridin and Deet are counted among the repellents. They repel mosquitoes and ticks reliably and are therefore used in numerous mosquito repellent products. Both substances are reliable, with more experience for Deet. However, the drug also has more side effects than Icaridin, in some cases it may even be harmful to health. Read here what you have to consider when using Deet and Icaridin and which product is more recommendable in comparison.
Action against mosquitoes
Products containing Icaridin or Deet (diethyltoluamide) provide safe mosquito repellent. The protective effect of sprays is based on the fact that their odor deters them from insects, especially mosquitoes. After applying to the skin forms a protective scent coat, which drives away the insects. The remedies are effective against insects such as the common biting fly, mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, Culex and Simulium, the Anopheles mosquito and the common wood buck (tick).
The protective effect against mosquitoes lasts for about eight hours, depending on the concentration of the active ingredients, against ticks about four hours. How long the protection is exactly guaranteed depends not only on the concentration but also on the amount of spray used and the type of insect. Likewise, factors such as humidity, temperature, wind and sweat play a role.
Side effects of Icaridin
You should not use products containing icaridin if you are hypersensitive to the active substance. This manifests itself, for example, in that it comes after application to itching and redness and skin flaking. In general, however, skin irritation rarely occurs in icaridin, since the active substance is considered to be well tolerated.
When using, however, be careful not to apply the product on open wounds or near mucous membranes. Contact with the eyes or diseased skin should also be avoided. Also, be careful not to inhale the spray when using.
Side effects of Deet
In certain cases Deet may cause skin irritation such as redness and burning. However, these side effects usually only occur with frequent use. As the active substance also irritates the eyes and the mucous membranes, it should not come into contact with them like Icaridin.
In addition, there may also be sensory disturbances such as tingling or numbness during use. This is because Deet can penetrate through the skin into the bloodstream and have unwanted side effects on the nervous system. In severe cases, the drug may cause seizures and brain damage. Be sure to talk to a doctor before using Deet if you are also using products that facilitate the penetration of active ingredients into the skin.
At a very high concentration of Deet (over 30 percent) severe skin irritation may occur as a result of the application. Among other things, it may cause blistering, ulceration or necrosis.
Since Deet attacks plastics and leather, it should not come into contact with items such as sunglasses, plastic bottles, leather shoes or bags, etc.
Mosquito repellent in pregnancy
During pregnancy you should only use products containing icarinidine after consulting a doctor. Although there is probably no risk to be expected when using it during pregnancy, there is currently not enough experience.
During breast-feeding, Icaridin should not be used immediately before breastfeeding. In addition, the skin of the breasts should not be treated with the drug.
There is not enough information available for Deet, so this drug should not be used during pregnancy and lactation. If Deet is used in children, the drug should not be applied regularly or over a large area.
Icaridin or Deet?
Both Deet and Icaridin products provide reliable protection against mosquito bites. Agents with Deet have the advantage that their protective effect has been studied for longer and more accurately. In malarial areas, the use of Deet is often recommended because the drug is considered safe against both daytime and nighttime mosquitoes.
Icaridin is better tolerated than Deet and can therefore be considered as the drug of choice in malaria-free areas. The active ingredient is also intended for use in malaria areas. Talk to your doctor about which drug is better. Those who react sensitively can test mosquito repellent products that contain a combination of icaridin and dexpanthenol and are thus particularly gentle on the skin.
Proper use of repellents: 5 tips
No matter which mosquito repellent you choose, for the right protection, it is important that you use the remedy properly:
- Use the product early and comprehensively on all skin areas to be protected. For very thin clothing, you should also apply the product under clothing.
- The protective effect is reduced by high humidity or sweat. Therefore, reuse the repellent at regular intervals.
- If you use sunscreen together with the repellent, you should always use the repellent last. Note that sunscreen can be reduced by use.
- Do not apply this product to open wounds, diseased or irritated skin or mucous membranes.
- For children under the age of two, do not use repellents.
Remember, no repellent offers 100 percent protection from insect bites. Protect yourself therefore in areas where mosquitoes dangerous diseases such as malaria can be transmitted by appropriate clothing or mosquito nets.