Other Repellent Products
Insect Repellent and Sunscreen
Some products combine insect repellent and sunscreen into one. These
combination products are not recommended because you usually need to reapply sunscreen more often than insect repellent. Frequently reapplying insect repellent is unnecessary and not recommended. If you are going outside in the sun, use separate sunscreen and repellent products.
Apply sunscreen first, then apply insect repellent on your skin and clothes. Reapply sunscreen as directed by the label instructions for the sunscreen product you are using.
For more information about repellents and sunscreen, view the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Yellow Book 2024.
Repellent Clip-on Products & Candles
Some insect repellent products are used to keep insects away from a certain area. Examples of these products include fans, clip-on fans, wristbands, coils, candles, and tabletop diffusers.
These are not the best products to prevent insect bites because they only repel insects from a small area around the product, not your whole body. If you are outdoors and active in areas with mosquitoes, ticks, or fleas, it is best to use repellent applied to skin and clothing for personal protection wherever you go.
Natural Insect Repellent Products
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registers only those active ingredients that have proven information about their safety to humans
and their ability to repel insects.
Products not registered by the EPA might be safe to use, but they are not known to effectively protect people from insect bites. Products and active ingredients not registered by the EPA, or exempt from EPA registration, cannot be recommended for use to protect against diseases transmitted by insects, including West Nile virus, Zika, and Lyme disease. Examples of ingredients in repellent products that are
not registered include essential oils like:
- Citronella oil
- Cedar oil
- Geranium oil
- Peppermint oil
- Soybean oil
While these ingredients might be considered "natural" and safe to use, they have not been evaluated for their ability to repel insects or protect against disease.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and CDC strongly suggest the use of
EPA-registered insect repellents because they are safe when used as directed
and known to effectively prevent insect bites. Using EPA-registered repllents can reduce the chances of getting a disease from mosquitoes, ticks, or fleas.
Permethrin is a chemical (called an "insecticide") that kills insects like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. Permethrin is most often used to treat clothing and gear before going out into areas with mosquitoes or ticks. Permethrin should never be applied directly to the skin to kill or repel insects.
For more information about permethrin, visit: