What is DEET? What is the optimum level of DEET for insect repellents?
What is DEET?
DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) was developed by the US military for their troops during the 1940s and because of its effectiveness it has been in commercial use since 1957. Despite 40 years of testing more than 20,000 other compounds since its development, DEET remains the most-effective and broad-spectrum repellent with the highest level of protection from mosquitoes, ticks and other biting insects.
What is the optimum level of DEET for insect repellents?
Beyond a certain level, around 30%, DEET gradually ceases to lengthen the effectiveness of a repellent. At the same time, many people find the smell of high-level DEET products unpleasant.
However, 3M™ Ultrathon™ Insect Repellent utilises 3M Advanced Time Release Technology. This ensures that while the percentage level of the active ingredient remains in the range 25-34%, its unique composition allows DEET to be released over a longer period of time, so increasing its effectiveness.
Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion
Containing only 34% DEET, Ultrathon lotion provides up to 12 hours' protection against mosquitoes from one application
Ultrathon Insect Repellent Spray
Containing only 25% DEET, Ultrathon spray provides up to 8 hours' protection against mosquitoes from one application
For which areas should I choose a DEET repellent?
It's important to use a DEET based product for travel to areas with a risk of diseases such as malaria since this provides the best protection against being bitten. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) recommends repellent containing DEET as being "particularly effective".
To view a map of the risk areas for malaria please click here. (External Site, opens in a new window: CDC Malaria Map)
Where there is little or no risk of contracting life-threatening diseases through insect bites, such as travelling in the UK, while chemical based repellents aren't necessary a DEET based product remains the most effective measure in avoiding the irritation of being bitten.