ZoLi Top Bug Sprays 2019

July 11, 2019

Buzzzz buzzzz... nope, it's not your phone. It's those pesky summer bugs looking for something sweet to eat! During the summer season, we put ourselves in situations where we are very likely to be bitten by insects. Whether it's camping, a picnic day, or even a trip to the lake, we expose ourselves to mosquitos, ticks and more. Not only are these bites an annoyance, they can also have serious health impacts.

BUT never to fear! There are plenty of insect repellents on the market that dramatically reduce the risk of being bitten and spending your summer fun-tivities itching. Even better news is that there are a wide variety of safe AND effective options! 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a bug spray:

  • Look for repellents with one of the following ingredients: 
    • Picaridin - This repellent has a very low inhalation toxicity and is not known to irritate skin. Its efficacy performs like DEET and repels a wide range of pests, but does not have the same usage history of DEET. It does not have the same neurotoxicity concerns as DEET, so this is considered a safer alternative. It is also long lasting. (At 20% it is effective for 8 to 14 hours, and at 10% for 5 to 12 hours.)  
    • DEET (up to 30%) - DEET has had a gained quite a negative reputation over the years but its safety profile is better than most people assume.  DEET has a long history of use and according to Environmental Working Group (EWG), has minimal safety concerns, and remains a viable option for people in areas affected by disease-carrying pests. There have been few reported cases of toxicity and a 2003 report from National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has concluded that evidence does not support increased risks in young children.  As bug-borne illnesses rise, people need repellents that work well when it counts.  The key is to look for products with less than 30% and even lower for younger children (under 12 years of age).  For areas with high risk of Lyme, the Canadian government recommends products containing 20 to 50% DEET for adults and 20 to 30% for children.
    • IR3535 (20%) - This repellant has similar protection against mosquitoes and ticks as DEET and Picaridin.  It has been used in Europe for over 20 years, and European authorities have not received any reports of health problems related to its use.  IR3535 can be irritating to the eyes, so if using repellents with this ingredient avoid the eye area.
    • For natural options, look for products with Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus as the active ingredient. Some testing has shown that repellents with Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus can protect up to 2 hours against mosquitoes and ticks.  
    • 100% botanical options such as citronella, peppermint, or lemongrass oils will repel bugs, but only for a very short amount of time.  These solutions are good to use if you do not live in high-risk areas for bug-born diseases.
    • Avoid all-in-one products that have a combination of sunscreen + repellent.  For sunscreen to be effective, you need to reapply every few hours and if you are constantly reapplying the sunscreen + repellent product, then you are exposing yourself to more chemicals than needed.  

      Now that you know what to look for on your own, we’ll share our top bug repellent picks for 2019! 

      Our Top 5 Bug Repellent Picks:

      1. Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent - 20% Picaridin

      Sawyer's insect repellent blend uses Picaridin against mosquitoes and ticks, and lasts 12 hours! This formula also protects against biting flies, gnats, chiggers and sand flies. It’s also non-greasy and has a light citrus scent to keep your nose and your skin happy. 

      Sawyer Sun Screen

      2. Avon Skin So Soft Bug Repellent Towelettes 

      This option also relies on Picaridin to keep away pesky bugs including mosquitoes, deer ticks, gnats, no-seeums, sand flies and biting midges. It is a great option for parents who prefer a strong, but DEET-free option that doesn't feel oily! And since this repellent is in the form of a wipe, it is easy to pack on-the-go for unexpected bites.

      Avon Sunscreen

      3. OFF! Deep Woods

      Chances are, you have seen this item on shelves at your local market, and there is a good reason why! This formula primarily uses DEET (at a safe level of 25%) to keep bugs and the diseases they carry away. It is a very light formula and is long lasting so you can forget about reapplying every hour.

      OFF bug repellent

      4. REPEL Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

      For the all-natural consumer, we love REPEL's all natural repellent option. This blend uses lemon eucalyptus oil to keep mosquitos away and keep you from a chemical smell that comes with some sprays. (And it lasts 6 hours!)

      REPEL bug repellent

      5. Cutter Backwoods

      Cutter is another DEET-based repellent that effectively repels mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, biting flies, no-see-ums, gnats and fleas... while also being sweat-proof! This is a great option for backpacking or lake trips where you will be more active than usual.

      Cutter bug repellent


      Do you have any favorites for camping or even every day use? Let us know in the comments below!

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