Five Golden Rules for DEET Protection

Five Golden Rules for DEET Protection

The MOST effective insect repellent is DEET. DEET is effective at preventing bites from mosquitoes, ticks, flies and gnats! This makes DEET an essential W.O.M.D (Weapon of Mass Defence) against potential diseases you could catch from these insects when you travel.

Only apply DEET on exposed skin.
There’s no need to spray under your clothes.

Virginia Chachati, Travel Health Pharmacist, 2020

Here are 5 facts you should know to get the most protection out of your DEET:

PIN this post to your TRAVEL HEALTH Pinterest board!

1. Apply DEET on top of suncream

Suncream protects your skin from getting damaged by UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Layer on the suncream first as it needs to be absorbed by your skin to be effective. 30 minutes after applying you suncream, you can apply DEET on top to act as an insect repellent. You can tell if youy have put on enough DEET because your skin will be shiny.

2. Low percentage DEET = Apply more often

DEET has to be re-applied just like suncreams! The percentage DEET in a product can range from as little as 7% to 100%! The lower the percentage the more often you have to apply. I like to think of every 10% attributing to about 1 hour of protection. For example, 100% DEET will protect you for up to 10 hours, whereas a 10% DEET product will provide about 1 or 2 hours of protection.

DEET shouldn’t be applied on broken skin or sprayed directly onto the face.
If you get it in your eyes then wash it out immediately with those saline pods in your first aid kit
or any bottle of clean water.


3. Sweat or Rain = Re-Apply more often

DEET has to sit on the outer layer of your skin to protect you from bites. If you sweat, or get drenched in the rain, the DEET will be washed away! Wipe away your sweat and apply the DEET on to dry skin to restore protection.

4. Use at least 50% DEET

50% DEET is the minimum your should be using when on holiday. Remember, you want to make sure you apply enough and it provides long-lasting protection. A higher percentage DEET conecntration will protect you for longer and will cover you if you forget to re-apply.

5. You CAN use DEET on children and pregnant women.

DEET can be applied on children and pregnant women’s skin. It’s better to protect these vulnerable people from getting bitten by mosquitoes or ticks to prevent them catching diseases like malaria which could be fatal.

Always pack more DEET than you think you will need!
Take into account the activities you will be doing on holiday.
Check how humid or wet the weather will be before you go!


Posted by

I am a UK GPhC registered Pharmacist in London