Pest Guides

What Is Picaridin Insect Repellent?

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Picaridin, also known as icaridin, is a synthetic compound developed to resemble the natural compound piperine, which is found in the group of plants used to produce black pepper. This compound, created by the German pharmaceutical company Bayer in the 1980s, serves as an effective insect repellent that can be applied directly to the skin or clothing.


Picaridin, also known as icaridin, is a synthetic compound developed as an insect repellent. It’s effective against a wide variety of insects including mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, sand flies, gnats, chiggers, and midges. It can provide up to 12 hours of protection and is safe for adults and children over one year of age. Unlike DEET, another common insect repellent, Picaridin is odorless, non-greasy, and doesn’t damage plastics or synthetics.

What Does Picaridin Repel?

Picaridin has proven to be effective against a wide variety of insects. It repels mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, sand flies, gnats, chiggers, and midges. Picaridin provides up to 12 hours of protection against mosquitoes and ticks when used as a spray, and up to 14 hours when used as a lotion. Additionally, it offers up to 8 hours of protection against biting flies, gnats, chiggers, and sand flies.

Benefits of Picaridin Over Other Repellents

Picaridin offers a range of benefits over other insect repellents, such as DEET. Some of the key advantages include:

  1. Comparable efficacy: Picaridin has been shown to be as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes and ticks. In some cases, it has been reported to provide superior protection against these insects.
  2. Odorless and non-greasy: Unlike DEET, Picaridin is odorless and non-greasy, which makes it more comfortable to use.
  3. No damage to plastics or synthetics: DEET can dissolve plastics and other synthetic materials, but Picaridin does not have this issue.
  4. Longer-lasting protection: Picaridin provides up to 12 hours of protection against various insects, while DEET’s protection may decline rapidly after just two hours.
  5. Safe for children: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend Picaridin as a safe and effective insect repellent for adults and children over one year of age.

Possible Side Effects of Picaridin

While Picaridin is generally safe to use, there are some potential side effects to be aware of. These include skin irritation, eye irritation, and mild stomach irritation if ingested. However, these side effects are rare and typically only occur when Picaridin is not used as directed.

Purchasing Picaridin Insect Repellent

Picaridin insect repellent can be purchased from various retailers, both online and in-store. Some popular options include Amazon, REI, Walmart, Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Sawyer’s official website. When choosing a product, consumers should look for a 20% Picaridin concentration, as it provides longer-lasting protection against mosquitoes and ticks.

Safe Usage of Picaridin-based Products

To use Picaridin-based products safely, follow these recommendations:

  1. Read the entire label and follow all instructions.
  2. Choose a product with a 20% Picaridin concentration for adults and a maximum of 20% for children.
  3. Reapply Picaridin-based products as needed, since they may not be as long-lasting as DEET-based products.
  4. Be aware that some people may experience skin irritation from Picaridin, although this is very uncommon. If irritation occurs, discontinue use.
  5. Avoid getting Picaridin in your eyes, as it may cause irritation.
  6. Use Picaridin-based products in combination with other protective measures, such as wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants, to enhance effectiveness.
  7. Choose EPA-registered insect repellents, as they have been evaluated and approved for human safety and effectiveness.

In conclusion, Picaridin is a promising alternative to traditional insect repellents like DEET. It offers effective protection against various insects without the drawbacks associated with DEET. As always, it’s essential to use these products as directed to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Picaridin is safe and effective for adults and children over one year of age.

How often should I reapply Picaridin-based products?

The duration of protection varies depending on the product and the type of insects you’re protecting against. However, for maximum protection, it’s recommended to reapply Picaridin-based products every few hours, especially if you are sweating or swimming.

Is Picaridin safe for pets?

While Picaridin is generally safe for humans, its safety for pets is not well-documented. It’s recommended to consult a veterinarian before using Picaridin-based products on pets.

Is Picaridin an environmentally friendly option?

Picaridin is a synthetic compound, but it’s considered to be more environmentally friendly than DEET as it has less impact on wildlife and water sources.

Can I use Picaridin while pregnant or breastfeeding?

The CDC states that Picaridin is safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding when used as directed. However, it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before using any new products during these times.

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