tropical trek mosquito protection

Applying a mosquito repellent: our tips on protecting yourself

Are you going away to the tropics or simply somewhere nearby and are you afraid of being devoured by mosquitoes? We explain how to use your mosquito repellent to avoid bites.

Natural or chemical, toxic or not, how to choose?

Today, the most effective solutions for fighting mosquitoes generally require the use of chemical products, which are reputed to be harmful and can cause skin reactions in some allergic people. Known and effective products include:

- Icaridin
- Lemon eucalyptus essential oil.

DEET and icaridin are both chemical products but their level of toxicity is very different. Lemon eucalyptus essential oil is a bio-based product that is effective against different species of mosquitoes and its effectiveness varies depending on the formulation.
Whichever active ingredient you choose, it’s highly recommended that you apply it in a well-ventilated area to avoid respiratory tract irritation that may result from inhaling the product.
DEET was developed by the US military to repel mosquitoes. It’s very effective and can be found in various doses in biocidal products (from 20% to 50%). It’s often the one that comes to mind when we think of mosquito repellents that can be toxic.
If you have an allergic condition, check the composition of the products to avoid skin reactions.

What are the criteria for choosing a product that will effectively repel mosquitoes?

We advise you to take into account the environment of the region you are visiting:

>> If mosquitoes or ticks are not very present and not very dangerous, a more natural solution can be used. Mosquito and tick repellent containing lemon eucalyptus essential oil is the right choice.

>> If you are going to a country where you know that mosquitoes are a danger (e.g. tiger mosquitoes), for your health and that of your family choose a product containing icaridin or DEET (unless medically contraindicated).

The most prudent thing to do is to ask your doctor or pharmacist for their recommendations for your destination country.
Finally, if your activity allows it, remember that a so-called "mechanical" solution (such as mosquito nets or net caps) will protect you effectively while keeping you safe from the risk of allergies. We recommend mosquito nets especially at night as you won't be waking up to reapply mosquito repellent!

How to use your anti-mosquito protection?

The way you apply your mosquito repellent affects its effectiveness. The amount of product used and its distribution will have an impact on the protection you receive.
1. Spray the product 15 cm from your skin all over the exposed areas except for mucous membranes (the bottles sometimes indicate a recommended number of sprays for each area of the body).
2. Spread the mosquito repellent evenly all over.
3. Wash your hands.
Most mosquito repellent sprays or creams have an effective range of about 5 cm around the application area. Therefore, it’s important to apply the product evenly to all skin exposed to bites.

Applying mosquito repellent, our tips for staying protected

What is the best technique for applying mosquito repellent to the face?

1. Apply the product on your hands first. This way you avoid getting the product in your eyes which is not advisable.
2. Spread it on your face avoiding the eye area and mucous membranes.
3. Wash your hands.

If necessary, you can complete your protection by wearing a hat with an integrated mosquito net. This is a very useful tool in the great outdoors to protect you effectively.

Should you apply mosquito repellent before or after sun cream?

What is the correct method?

Apply the sun cream first, then 20 to 30 minutes later the mosquito repellent.

Moreover, physical activity coupled with ambient humidity greatly increases sweating, which reduces how long your mosquito repellent protects you.

It’s best to consult the instructions for use of your mosquito repellent product to see how frequently you should apply it.

Applying mosquito repellent, our tips for staying protected

How often should I reapply the product to keep mosquitoes away?

The mosquito repellent’s effectiveness has a limited duration, just like your sun protection. It’s therefore important to reapply the product regularly. Most manufacturers state between 8 and 12 hours of protection. However, according to tests carried out by 60 million consumers, some mosquito repellents do not last as long as indicated on the bottle. Sweat, skin chemistry (which is unique to each individual), whether it is raining or not, all play a role in how long your mosquito repellent will protect you.
So how do you go about it? Read the instructions carefully, apply the amount recommended by the manufacturer and reapply as soon as the mosquitoes seem to return.

Do you have more questions about mosquito repellents?

Do ultrasound apps that claim to repel mosquitoes work? Are ultrasounds effective against mosquitoes?

No, unfortunately the downloadable apps (Google Play store or App store) on smartphones which often offer sound repellents are not really effective. You can try but do it before you go to a country where mosquitoes carry disease. These ultrasonic emissions at different frequencies are said to repel mosquitoes. Depending on the region of the world you are in, some even claim to identify which low frequency sounds are suitable for the huge variety of local mosquitoes. It’s important to note that none of this has been scientifically proven.

Instead, use appropriate clothing and a proven mosquito repellent.

Can I go to a country where mosquitoes are carriers of disease with a natural mosquito repellent?

It’s best to choose a product that has proven itself. And add physical protection (mosquito netting and long clothing). At the moment, most European countries are lucky enough not to have any epidemics of mosquito-borne diseases. It’s always a good idea to seek advice from a travel doctor to validate your choice of product.

How do mosquito repellents work?

To understand how mosquito repellents work, you have to ask yourself what attracts them. Contrary to what we often hear, they aren’t there because of the light, but because of our CO2 and lactic acid emissions. This is why they prefer certain people to others. But you should know that not all mosquitoes on earth are systematically attracted to the same people. And most importantly, they like everyone, they just have preferences. So if a person is never bitten in the company of another person, they will still be a target for mosquitoes when they’re alone. In short, repellents block the olfactory receptors of mosquitoes, leaving them confused and unable to identify their prey.

What is the best mosquito repellent for the home?

Long-lasting plugs or patches seem to be effective in repelling mosquitoes indoors. But if you're looking for a natural solution, consider wind. In very windy areas or when the wind picks up at your holiday destination, mosquitoes seem to disappear (outdoors at least). This is because the mosquito is a small, light flying insect, the gusts of wind carry it away (never far enough, but that's another matter). By using a fan, directed towards you, you reproduce the gust and the mosquito cannot come and bother you. Of course, you should stay in the wind produced by the fan as much as possible. Some are also equipped with an anti-mosquito system for maximum efficiency! This is an interesting option to avoid polluting the air inside your home.

You now have all the information you need to make the right choice in terms of protection and the right way to apply your mosquito repellent. Pay attention and be well equipped to avoid bites! If you should fall victim to these little bloodsuckers, we have something to soothe your itch ;)

How to use your insect repellent

The Forclaz editorial team

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