* Prices may differ from that shown
I am an experienced traveller to Florida and I am very well aware of the need for care in the strong hot sunshine particularly through the summer months. I use sunscreens where necessary but more often than not I stay out of direct sunlight during the fiercest hours. I am also aware of the need for another preventative spray to be used when the sun is going down and when out and about at night.
Biting insects come in all shapes or forms. The most well known of course is the mosquito but you will soon become aware of the tick, chigger and 'no-see-um'(a tiny midge or gnat). I am sensitive to any of these bites that initially produce very itchy blotchy red lumps and which over the course of several days turn into hard and painful blisters. It is unlikely that apart from the itching irritation that you will end up with anything more serious from an insect bit. Malaria is almost unknown in the State but there are outbreaks of West Nile Fever every year which can occasionally prove fatal.
Over the years I have tried many of the insecticides found which can be found on the houseware shelves of the supermarket or general store (other Cutter products; Backwoods OFF). So often these have left either an oily slick or a coating that felt like shellac on the skin. They may have caused staining to skin or clothing and usually the smell kept the rest of the family at arms length!
Cutter produce a variety of insect repellents. Skinsations is housed in a plastic bottle containing 6 fluid ounces (177ml). It is a pump action non pressurised aerosol. I used it twice a day - before going out to the parks in the morning and again on venturing out in the evening. The spray action works as easily with the bottle held upside down making it simple to reach every part. My regime was to apply Skinsations to all exposed skin (neck, arms, legs) and then the collar and cuffs of my shirt, short bottoms and socks. The spray dries almost on contact leaving skin feeling smooth and clean. There was no sensation of grease, film or irritation. It has an unobtrusive fragrance with hints of citrus and roses.
The active ingredient is DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) which is the safest and commonest used insect repellent. DEET disrupts the ability of biting insects to detect carbon dioxide (from breath and skin). Mosquitoes and other biting insects are not killed. They just cannot locate us. Skinsations also contains Aloe extract and Vitamin E as skin moisturisers.
Our Florida vacation this year has provided us with an ideal opportunity to test out the efficacy of this product. I can confirm that used twice a day according to the instructions on the bottle, we achieved a 100% bite free rate while using Cutter Skinsations. Over the same time period 67% of the non users were bitten.
SCIENTIFIC AND STATISTICAL DISCLAIMER
OK! OK! as with any cosmetic or pharmaceutical advertisement you really need to read the small print to make any sense out of the statistics. Here are the facts behind our "test group". We are a party of three and spent three days in Florida prior to buying the Cutter. During that time both my daughter and I received three bites each. After purchase I was the one to use the Cutter and I have not been bitten again. My daughter has had a further five bites (from one evening in the theme park watching fireworks after an afternoon thunderstorm). She is allergic to DEET and came out in a very fiery rash after using one of these products several years ago. My wife has never been bothered by bites in the past and therefore sees no reason to use this product.
Our results were arrived at this way. One user - no one bitten: 100% success. Three non-users (this included me prior to the start of the trial!) - two people bitten: 67%.
We were able to check the forecast mosquito activity around the Orlando area on line at the Weather Channel. During this two week period the risk fluctuated between moderate and high (with 'very high' spikes on three evenings). Although metropolitan areas are regularly sprayed, the danger times in the theme parks are in the evenings (standing for periods waiting for parades or fireworks) especially when it has rained earlier in the day.
Although I am not a great believer in the regurgitation of the packaging in reviews, there are a number of statements on the rear of the bottle which make interesting reading (if you can translate the tiny turquoise print). Firstly I was quite surprised that the usually almost paranoid American obsession for labelling every last possible constituent in foodstuffs comes up on this bottle merely as Active Ingredients DEET - 7%; Other ingredients 93%. The American National Institute of Health Household Products database (http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/index.htm) notes that it contains 50% ethanol. The label does mention Aloe and Vitamin E (to moisturise the skin) but there is no indication of amount.
Also consider the following:
Directions for use: It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labelling.
Container disposal: If partly filled, call your local solid waste disposal agency for disposal instructions. Never place unused product down any indoor or outdoor drain.
Precautionary statements: Hazards to Humans and Domestic Animals: Warning: Causes substantial but temporary eye injury. Harmful if swallowed. Wash hands before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco or using the toilet.
An insect repellent is a mandatory component of my travel bag anywhere that I may have to share with biting insects. In many respects it can be as important to maintain an irritation free vacation as a properly applied sunscreen.
I have been delighted with Cutter Skinsations in use. It is easy to apply, dries quickly, smells pleasant, leaves no obvious trace, moisturises the skin and does not stain or damage clothing. A small test spray (on the forearm) is advised before first use to exclude a possible allergy.
It is safe to use on a child's skin although it is recommended that an adult apply it and keep the spray off hands and fingers.
I brought home a supply with me which has done admirably duty fending of those pesky biters in the wilds of Scotland and Northumberland this autumn.
We bought ours at Publix: 6fl oz. $3.49
Effective protection against mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, gnats, no-see-ums, chiggers, and fleas.