For years, insect repellents containing DEET have been a mainstay for outdoor enthusiasts. The products are effective, but some users of insect repellents containing DEET have suffered reactions to the chemical. Hikers, campers and other outdoor users have tried many products without DEET, but most are not anywhere near as effective as the old standby products. Some of those products are easily affected by sweat or lose their efficiency rapidly.
However, newer deet free insect repellent solutions are becoming available as the science and technology needed to formulate them improves. Industry leading companies like Sawyer (sawyer.com) are continually working on formulations that will provide long lasting protection from insects without causing reactions for users. In fact, they now offer a product that is DEET free and provides SPF30 sun protection. It is likely that additional products will be entering the market as the science improves further.
DEET has been used for years, and is very effective, so industry experts have had time to analyze the products under real use scenarios. While most people use the numerous products available containing DEET without any problem, some users report skin irritation after use. Users who use DEET products very often, sometimes even daily, have reported the development of central nervous system issues with prolonged use. While further studies still need to be made, there is little evidence to suggest occasional use is harmful to most people.
Interestingly, DEET is an effective solvent, so spraying it on plastic or synthetic materials may harm those items. The newer deet free insect repellent products mentioned earlier have not proven to be harmful to any fabrics, and there are no known concerns with applying the repellents to any clothing items. The products are also hypoallergenic, so individuals with sensitive skin should not experience difficulties with the products.
Of course any repellent needs reapplications over time. Many of the products containing DEET will last longer than some of the DEET free products, but anyone concerned about potential side effects should consider a DEET free product even if it does require more frequent application. Products containing sun protection should be considered where skin is exposed as a health precaution. Check out the website sawyer.com for more information.