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DEET free insect repellents

Insect repellents safe for the whole family

, by AussiePharmaDirect, 7 min reading time

When it comes to protecting your family from pesky insect bites, it's important to choose insect repellents that are safe and effective. However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to know which products are best for your family's needs. Discover what they are in this article!

If the high-pitched squeal of a mozzie hovering in your vicinity sends shivers down your spine, you may be tempted to reach for an insect repellent loaded with DEET, but do you know that there are more natural alternatives out there that are safer for use as an insect repellent for home? 

Choosing natural insect repellent over synthetic ones is important for many reasons, especially for families with small children. The chemicals found in synthetic repellents can be harmful to human health, and these adverse effects will be more severe in children whose bodies are still developing.

So, what’s the problem with DEET?

In essence, heavy exposure to DEET and other insecticides can cause memory loss, headaches, muscle and joint pain, shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue. Worryingly, the symptoms may not be evident until months or even years after exposure.

Children in particular, are much more susceptible to subtle brain changes caused by exposure to chemicals because their skin more readily absorbs them and their still-developing nervous systems are sensitive to chemicals in the environment, especially any that are slathered on them by unsuspecting parents.

Picaridin vs DEET: What’s the difference?

These are the two common ingredients found in commercially produced insect repellents. While both are effective at repelling insects, they have different chemical makeups and effects.

DEET has been used for 70 years, and it works by confusing the insects’ sense of smell, making it difficult for them to locate their targets. Picaridin, also known as icaridin, is a synthetic chemical that was developed in the 1990s as an alternative to DEET. It works by blocking the insects’ ability to sense the carbon dioxide we exhale, which is one of the ways that mosquitoes and other insects locate their targets.

Compared to DEET which is known to have negative effects on humans with extended use, picaridin repellent is less likely to cause skin irritations or any other serious negative effects on adults and babies alike. It is also less harmful to the environment and wildlife, as it does not persist in the environment as long as DEET does.

In terms of effectiveness, both DEET and picaridin insect repellents are effective in repelling insects but unlike DEET, picaridin may need to be applied more often on the skin to maintain its effectiveness against insects as it does not last long as its counterpart.

What insect repellent is safe for pregnancy?

Insect repellents that contain active ingredients like DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 are generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. For expecting mothers, it is always good to use insect repellents especially if you love spending most of your time outdoors as mosquito-borne diseases are much more important to prevent, such as the Zika virus. While the Zika virus is not prevalent in Australia, if you’re travelling overseas to areas where this virus is more common, it is best to keep yourself protected by packing on essentials like repellents.

Insect repellent for babies

Naturally, as parents you would want to avoid mosquito bites on your baby. Generally speaking, insect repellents are not recommended to apply on infants under 3 months old, especially those of chemical-based repellents. However, they still need to be protected against mosquitoes and their cronies when you’re bringing your child for a walk in the park or when you’re travelling to tropical areas. If need be, you could always rub or spray insect repellents on the clothes instead of the skin. Once they’re over 3 months old, you could consider going for natural insect repellent to be applied to their skin.

In this case, the Good Riddance Sensitive insect repellent is a suitable option because of its low irritant profile. In fact, it’s so safe it’s the only insect repellent in Australia that has been approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) as safe for babies over three months, for use in pregnancy, and for anyone with sensitive skin or eczema.

Travel-safe insect repellent options

Whether travelling domestically or overseas, it’s always a good idea to pack some insect repellent as you don’t want your holiday to be spoilt by biting insects that can lead to itchy, sleepless nights and cranky children. And your best option for a travel companion would be Good Riddance insect repellents!

Mosquitoes are notorious for the spread of diseases like Dengue Fever, malaria, Ross River Fever and Japanese Encephalitis particularly if you are travelling to a tropical or subtropical developing country, or tropical parts of Australia. This is why the Good Riddance Tropical insect repellent range is more suited for your tropic adventures to keep mosquitoes, midges and sandflies at bay.

Free of DEET, picaridin, phthalate and paraben, the plant-based formula contains a blend of essential oil actives that lend the cream an enticing citrus aroma with a woody undertone and the scent of Australian natives.

While the Tropical range sounds like it is your one-for-all solution to repel bugs, there is also another great option for those with sensitive skin! The Good Riddance Sensitive insect repellent range is the one for you if you’re prone to skin irritations because it is specially formulated to be gentle and non-irritating.


Please note that any information provided in this text is for general knowledge purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice or instruction on the use of insect repellents. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, individual circumstances may vary, and it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified expert before using any insect repellent or taking any other medical action. The use of insect repellents should be done in accordance with the product's instructions, and any adverse reactions or side effects should be reported to a medical professional immediately.


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