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Best natural option for mosquitoes
If where you're going mainly only has mosquitoes and not other bugs like ticks or flies, we recommend oil of lemon eucalyptus because a comprehensive study proved that it's just as effective as DEET (see below) while being more natural and sustainable.
Lemon eucalyptus oil lasts for up to six hours which should be enough for most people but if you need something longer lasting keep reading.
If going somewhere with more than mosquitoes or need longer lasting protection
DEET is considered the gold standard of insect repellents. It's well studied, can last up to 12 hours, and repels most insects (mosquitoes, ticks, some flies).
So why not just recommend it over lemon eucalyptus oil? Well, DEET can melt plastic so you have to be careful not to touch anything like polyester based fabrics (and melting plastic is just kind of scary...). It can also irritate people with sensitive skin.
However, as long as you don't use DEET with a crazy high concentration (like 80%+) it's considered safe. This one is a 30% concentration with a timed release, a good balance that provides sustained protection for up to 12 hours.
If you hate applying things to your skin or want a multi-day solution
Permethrin is a spray you apply to your clothes, fabrics, and other outdoor gear that wards off mosquitoes and ticks. The main upside is not having to apply anything every time you go out, but there is a bit of an investment to spray everything you're going to bring.
It usually lasts for 6 weeks or 6 washings, so plenty of time for most trips. For complete 100% protection, you'll probably want to use some DEET or lemon eucalyptus too (but not as much).
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