Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains the pros and cons of DEET bug spraySummer is here and along with longer days and warmer temperatures, we’re also starting to experience more bugs. Bug sprays and insect repellants are recommended to help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus, malaria and dengue fever, but bug sprays and insect repellants can also cause irritation to your skin.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains that although DEET is effective, it may sometimes cause slight skin irritation.

One of the most effective ingredients in bug spray is DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). While this powerful ingredient expertly repels insects, DEET can sometimes cause slight irritation to the skin. Persons who apply bug sprays containing DEET to their skin may occasionally experience hives, redness or irritation.

“Although DEET isn’t perfect, it’s the best we have for now,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger says other forms of bug spray may not be as effective as DEET.

Other forms of bug spray contain pyrethrins. These pesticides are made from the chrysanthemum flower and are considered to be nontoxic. However, these bug sprays do not protect the skin like an insect repellent that contains DEET.

“I truly dislike the ones that claim to protect and don’t have DEET,” said Dr. Joel Schlessinger. “Those sprays can lead to serious issues if ticks and Lyme disease are present in the area.”

Dr. Joel Schlessinger uses DEET, clothing and netted hats to protect himself.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends protecting yourself with clothing and netted hats when you are in a mosquito-infested area. If you require bug spray, be sure to use a spray containing high levels of DEET and remove it from your skin to avoid long-term exposure.

To treat any irritation, inflammation or itchy bug bites, use a topical treatment like FixMySkin Healing Balms with 1% Hydrocortisone. This handy balm heals and soothes inflamed skin.

How do you protect yourself from bug bites? Tell us in the comments.

Posted Friday, June 13th, 2014 at 6:35 pm
Filed Under Category: Dermatology, Skin Care
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