Protect yourself from insects with natural body repellents
Synthetic body repellents
The main synthetic products are : IR3535 or Aminopropionate , D.E.E.T or Diethyltoluamide , KBR 3023 or Picardine or Bayrepel®.
You'll find around a hundred products on the market under fifteen different brand names that use these active ingredients. However, repellents are subject to cosmetics legislation, and no human efficacy or safety tests are required.
The effectiveness and duration of action vary considerably depending on the concentration of the product. According to tests carried out on the Aedes mosquito on Reunion Island, repellents containing DEET concentrated at 25% are the most effective. More effective or not, it remains the most widely used body repellent in the world and the oldest.
DEET-based body repellents
Synthetic DEET-based repellents can be found in concentrations of 10-50% (a forthcoming approval would prohibit products >30%).
According to the manufacturers, 30% of DEET is absorbed through the skin. It would then accumulate in body fat over a long period and could cross the placenta. As a precaution, it is not recommended for babies under 6 months or pregnant women.
Natural body protection against insectsFor children under 12, whose skin is more permeable than ours and who can contaminate their eyes, nose and mouth, we recommend using preparations containing a maximum of 10% DEET.
According to some studies, the best efficacy was obtained with the preparation containing 23.8% DEET.
To sum up, using a DEET-based insect repellent :
1 - Would not present any potential danger to adults if used over a short period (just on holiday, for example).
2 - Using lower concentrations does not alter the degree of protection, but the duration of protection is shorter.
3 - For children and pregnant women, it should only be used as a last resort and if justified (travel to a malaria zone).
4 - When buying, ask your pharmacist for advice and avoid concentrations >30% for adults and >10% for children.
Natural body repellents
Natural body protection against insectsAccording to tests carried out on the Aedes mosquito on Réunion Island, it appears that essential oils and essences, including citronella, are not very effective (less than 30 minutes), especially in windy conditions. Impregnated bracelets and ultrasonic devices, as well as downloadable software, were ineffective. Combination products containing sun protection and/or several repellent agents are not recommended.
This confirms expert opinion, which indicates that the only active ingredient of natural origin recognised as effective in tropical environments, capable of competing with synthetic products, is eucalyptus citriodora extract (p-menthane-3,8-diol, also known as paramenthane-3,8-diol, PMD, or Menthoglycol).
This doesn't mean that natural repellents aren't effective, but if it's hot and you perspire a lot, these repellents will be quickly degraded and you'll need to reapply them more regularly.
Repellents based on essential oils mixed with vegetable oils, milk or lotion generally include citronella, geranium and possibly eucalyptus, lavender, etc.
- Depending on the concentration, temperature, perspiration, etc., this preparation will be effective from 10 minutes to a maximum of several hours.
- In general, unless there are contraindications, they can be used by the whole family, except for babies who, because of the thinness of their skin, need specific preparations.
- The concentrations used and the choice of essential oils should not normally pose any particular problems for pregnant women.
We have selected for you 100% natural products, composed exclusively of essential oils and vegetable oils.
Eucalyptus citriodora or Citriodiol-based repellents
In 2007, the Afssaps group of experts gave a favourable opinion on the use of Citriodiol (20-50%), but only from the age of 30 months. In January 2006, the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) in Montpellier recommended its use from the age of 3 months.
So why is citriodiol, whose active substance is derived from an extract of eucalyptus essential oil, recommended by Afssaps from 30 months and by the IRD from 3 months?
The Afssaps recommendation is not based on tests or trials but on the structural similarity of Citriodiol with terpenes, a biochemical family regularly found in essential oils and considered to be neurotoxic in young children. Terpene-based products could lower the epileptogenic threshold (convulsions) in children under 30 months.
Citriodiol (also known as p-menthane-3,8-diol or PMD) is found in small quantities in the essential oil extracted from the leaves of Eucalyptus citriodora.
This tree, which originated in Australia, is now grown in many warm regions around the world.
The refined oil, which contains around 64% PMD (a mixture of cis and trans isomers of p-menthane-3,8-diol), has been notified as a biocidal product in the EU (Biocidal Products Directive (BPD) 98/8/EC) under the trade name citriodiol (PMDRBO).
It is currently the only naturally-derived active ingredient that can be used as an insect repellent in the United States and Europe.
PMD can also be synthesised, but one study reportedly found that repellents containing synthetic PMD were not as effective as those containing naturally-occurring PMD. The study also found that natural PMD-based repellents were as effective as DEET (at the same concentrations).
Our natural products to protect you
We offer you 5 natural body protections whose active ingredient is PMD (eucalyptus citriodora) :
1 - Penntybio Skin Roller with a 10% concentration of Eucalyptus citriodora and Aloe Vera, it has a dual function: it repels biting insects and moisturises your skin. It's the ideal 2-in-1 product for a stress-free holiday.
2 - Penntybio Skin Spray, with a 25% concentration of Eucalyptus citriodora, contains no gas, synthetic products or alcohol, just vegetable oil.
3 - The Aries anti-mosquito or anti-tick Spray Lotion, 20% concentrate composed of aloe vera and jojoba oil which makes this lotion particularly soft for the skin and which, according to the manufacturer, can therefore be used on children from 6 months.
4 - Aries skin repellent balm, which combines lemon eucalyptus with moisturising and nourishing active ingredients such as sweet almond and shea butter.) Formulated as a small 50ml balm, it is suitable for even the most sensitive skin. It can be used from the age of 6 months, but is also suitable for pregnant women.
5 - Finally, this moisturising anti-mosquito lotion, which not only effectively protects your skin against mosquito bites, but also moisturises your skin thanks to the shea butter it contains.
And now 3 specific natural insect repellents based on geraniol to apply directly to your textiles :
1 - Penntybio Textile Insect Repellent repels mosquitoes, of course, but also other insects such as wasps, bees, ticks, flies, ants, etc.
2 - Aries textile mosquito repellent, concentrated with 2.94% geraniol. DEET-free. Ecocontrol product and CSE label
3 - Aries textile tick repellent, concentrated with 2.97% geraniol. DEET-free. Ecocontrol product and CSE label
A few facts about body repellents
- If necessary, sun protection must have penetrated the skin and a 20-minute delay is recommended before applying a body repellent.
- No repellent is 100% effective, as 40% of bites occur through clothing, so in tropical areas, in addition to body protection, you need to impregnate your clothing with our specific textile products or with a synthetic repellent such as permethrin.
- To remove body protection for the night, it is best to sleep under a mosquito net.
- Use a 50ml bottle of repellent for about 2 weeks.
- Body repellents last for a maximum of 6 to 8 hours in the field.
- The side effects of repellents, such as burns or skin irritation, seem to be fairly common. These reactions generally disappear within a few hours of stopping the application.
- Citronella essential oil is the most allergenic repellent. This oil is photosensitising.
- All repellents are toxic if swallowed.
- Avoid contact with the lips, eyes and eyelids. Do not spray the entire body. No more than 3 applications per day.
For more information, visit :
French Health Security Agency (www.afssaps.fr)
High Public Health Council (www.hcsp.fr)
National Health Watch Institute (www.invs.sante.fr)