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FAQ Insect Repellent


 Sawyer Topical Repellent FAQs
Q. Can I use Sawyer Controlled Release Insect Repellent Lotion with 20% DEET on my child?

A. Yes, this product may be used on children in accordance with the product's directions for use. The CDC states: "No definitive studies have been published about what concentration of DEET is safe for children. No serious illness has been reported from use of DEET according the manufacturer's recommendations. DEET formulations as high as 50% are recommended for both adults and children >2 months of age. Lower concentrations are not as long lasting, offering short-term protection only and necessitating more frequent reapplication." (www.cdc.gov)

We recommend Sawyer Controlled Release Insect Repellent Lotion for children. Based on a dermal absorption study accepted by the EPA, Sawyer Controlled Release Insect Repellent is the ONLY currently registered formula proven to reduce DEET absorption. Our EXCLUSIVE Low DEET Absorption formula is proven to reduce DEET by 67% per application! (Read full Reduced Dermal Absorption Test (PDF).) Controlled Release Insect Repellent is odorless, greaseless and compatible with sunscreens.

Note: If flies, gnats, or no-see-ums are a pest, read the following question.


Q. Does DEET protect against flies?

A.Some yes, but mostly no. If flies are going to be an issue we recommend using the Sawyer Fisherman's Formula which is a 20% Picaridin Spray formula. Picaridin is much more effective against flies than DEET, especially at 20% which is higher than other Picaridin formulas available on the market.


Q. Why was I told to "get at least 30% DEET" for malaria mosquitoes?

 A. The reason you were told to "get something with at least 30% DEET" is because under older guidelines this was true. Simply put, the higher the percentage of DEET in a given formula, the longer and more effective the protection from insects. Until the introduction of Sawyer Controlled Release Insect Repellent, we would have recommended Sawyer Maxi-DEET® 100% DEET Insect Repellent for the skin. People often confuse concentration with dosage. Lower "dosages" of 100% DEET or DEET mixed in a Controlled Release lotion or even a standard lotion work better than alcohol-based sprays.

As an added measure, you may still consider 100% DEET for times of extreme bug density. However, the real question is not how much DEET you start out with, but how much of the active ingredient, DEET, is available at any given time (even hours later) to repel those nasty mosquitoes.

Skin repellent with Slow Release Technology--Sawyer Controlled Release 20% DEET Insect Repellentuses sub-micron encapsulation to entrap the DEET. An effective and long lasting insect repellent for use on the skin is a slow release technology that keeps the repellent on the surface of the skin much longer than other formulas. This provides for slower absorption and extended effectiveness against biting insects. The Sawyer Controlled Release Insect Repellent formula provides this type of technology in a formula that is both effective and very comfortable to use.


Q. Should I use a lotion or spray repellent?

A. Because of the way they slow down the evaporation of the DEET, lotions always last considerably longer than sprays of comparable DEET concentrations. Sprays have the advantage of being able to be applied to clothing. Sprays remain effective much longer on clothing than on skin. Since repellents work as a 3" barrier, clothing applications can often protect 6" of exposed skin and significantly reduce your usage on skin. Our recommendation: DEET lotion on skin and Permethrin sprayon clothing.


Q. Will DEET ruin my clothes or equipment?

 A.Quite possibly. DEET should not damage cotton, wool, or nylon. Do not apply to or near acetate, rayon, spandex or other synthetics, furniture, plastic, watch crystals, leather and painted or varnished surfaces including automobiles.

Be sure to read the labels and if in doubt try a sample on an obscure surface area and check it after 24 hours of exposure to DEET.


Q. Can I wear a repellent with a sunscreen?

A. Yes but with some effects. Repellents are designed to create a vapor barrier above the skin. Good sunscreens are designed to work below the skin. Wearing both usually compromises both functions especially when sprays are used. A Controlled Release Insect Repellent lotionis the most compatible topical repellent for a sunscreen.

Our recommendation is that if you need both types of protection, first apply Stay-Put® by Sawyer a bonding base sunscreen. After 10 minutes, apply Sawyer Controlled Release Insect Repellent Lotionor a composite repellent lotion. The bonded sunscreen is less susceptible to the solvents contained in the repellent, including sprays if you use them. The Sawyer Controlled Release Insect Repellent Lotion or a composite repellent in lotion form is more compatible with the sunscreen than a spray and requires less reapplication for maximum protection of both needs.

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