For the first time in many years, there is something new approved in the repellent world: eucalyptus
However, there are some caveats–this stuff isn’t good for ticks, and doesn’t repel malarial mosquitoes. It also is only equivalent to a low dose of DEET, so will have to be applied more often.
For those who are convinced “natural” is better, at least there is now a choice. Quite honestly, knowing what I do about the toxicity of a lot of natural compounds, I’ll stick with the DEET. Particularly since a new strain of West Nile appears to be creating polio-like symptoms. Eek!
The other new thing available is picaridin, which apparently blocks “mammal odors” from being picked up by mosquitoes. It does seem to be legit, at least according to [J Drugs Dermatol. 2004 Jan-Feb;3(1):59-60.] It was tested and effective on at least one type of tick: Ixodes.
One caveat: to get comparable protection to DEET, you need a >19% lotion of picaridin. In the US, it is sold at 7% concentration. From the Journal article:
“9.3% picaridin formulation provided >95% protection for only 2 hours.”
Oh, and mom was right–it really will make you go blind! No word yet on the development of hairy palms…..