Besides DEET, the CDC lists:
- Picaridin (Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan (outside the United States))
- Lemon Eucalyptus oil (PMD)** (no examples given)
- IR3535 (Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition)
In particular, Picaridin seems to be a viable alternative:
Of the active ingredients registered with the EPA, CDC believes that two have demonstrated a higher degree of efficacy in the peer-reviewed, scientific literature (See Publications page.). Products containing these active ingredients typically provide longer-lasting protection than others:
- DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
- Picaridin (KBR 3023)
Oil of lemon eucalyptus [active ingredient: p-menthane 3,8-diol (PMD)], a plant- based repellent, is also registered with EPA. In two recent scientific publications, when oil of lemon eucalyptus was tested against mosquitoes found in the US it provided protection similar to repellents with low concentrations of DEET.
**: Caveat emptor:
“Pure” oil of lemon eucalyptus (essential oil) is not the same product; it has not undergone similar, validated testing for safety and efficacy, is not registered with EPA as an insect repellent, and is not covered by this recommendation.