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Old 15 Feb 2009
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Avon Skin So Soft (anti mosquito)

I've heard about Avon Skin So Soft being used by the British Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as an insect repellant and decided to take some (along with backup supplies of Deet and others) on a recent trip to India.

And... it works! It's extremely thin, so a little goes a long way. We took three bottles between two of us for two weeks and only used one and a half. Didn't get a single bite whilst protected. I feel much happier putting this on my skin than stuff like deet and of course it helps keep everything moisturised at the same time.

And it's also inexpensive. There's a two-for-one deal on the Avon webshop and to make the shipping charge of £3.50 worthwhile I ended up buying six bottles for a total of £18.50.

The only complaint is the spray bottle is poor quality so I will probably have a look in Superdrug for a better quality spray bottle which would withstand m'bike touring.

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Old 15 Feb 2009
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Brilliant - Ta!

(I was always uneasy about putting Deet on skin.)
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Old 15 Feb 2009
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Sounds perfect - presumably it's safe with sleeping bags and plastics?(whereas eg Deet might take the colour off them and leave it on you!)
http://bigben.to/ London to....? The big bike annual rally.
http://www.mongolbikers.com 125cc London -> Mongolia.
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Old 15 Feb 2009
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I bought some from the Green Welly stop on the A82 on my way up north last year and it worked really well against those bloody midges. I'd recommend it too. If it's good enough for the SAS...
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Old 15 Feb 2009
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I have used it for years and it works great.
It has sunblock in it also, I use SPF-30.
Most of the time we I am in a riding suit and put the cream on my face and neck.
Keep it away from you eyes, it stings.
When you stop and take off your gloves and helmet watch out the bug will be right on your hands and head.
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Old 16 Feb 2009
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Good to hear that Skin So Soft works for at least some folks. I found it pretty ineffectual--- a short-lived effect against mosquitoes, none at all against blackflies (which may go by other names elsewhere: this is how they're called in the North American northern woodlands, and they're way worse than mosquitoes in my book). Maybe there are individual differences....? Or maybe expectations differ? I tried the stuff long ago in Maine or Labrador or Alaska or someplace similar and swore it off forever. Maybe it works better against tropical species? I suppose maybe I owe it another chance.

Forever questioning, forever in a state of suspense,

(from Guanajuato, where there appear to be neither mosquitoes nor blackflies, nor midges nor even cockroaches)
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Old 20 Feb 2009
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Repellants compared

I found a nice comparative study about protective agents againts insect bites in an army-medical journal (for those who can read dutch: Nederlands Militair Geneeskundig Tijdschrift, July 2007, 132-139; it has a résumé in English). The most important topics are the following.
  • That stuff, Skin So Soft, is on the market also known as "
    Skin so Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535 Insect Repellent Moisturizing unblock Lotion". IR3535 is the active agent. According to the comparative study it is moderately protective against mosquitos and other biting insects. According to one of the mentioned researches it has only a quarter of the total protection time of DEET in lowest concentration. Although it has some advantages - it does not damage plastics - in the comparative study it was rejected for standard protective use by military personell.
  • DEET is still one of the best best protective repellant agents for long time. It is active against a wide range of arthropods (mosquitos, ticks and others) for a long time. The US army has improved DEET and they use as standard now EDTIAR (Extended Duration Topical Insect and Arthropod Repellent). It contains 35% of DEET in a slow releas polymer. However, all DEET products have some disadvantages of which skin irritation is the most nasty (at least for me; I can't use DEET).
  • Lucky for me and others there is a new agent (since 1998) which is called Picaridine and is commercially known as Icaridin in Autan products. Picaridine is as good as DEET, even better against Malaria mosquitos and ticks, and does not cause skin irritation and does not damage plastics. 19,2% of Picaridine was as protective as EDTIAR with 35% of DEET but caused less discomfort. It was tested on 150 Australian soldiers in Eastern Timor.
  • "Biological" repellants, like Citronella or Citridiol, have virtually no protective effect at all. Of all biological repellants "Bite Blocker", of which the active agents is soybean oil, was the best but inferior to DEET and Picaridine. Citronella does not protect against arthropods but seems to have some protective effect to leeches but DEET was more effective.
  • IR3535, DEET, Picaridine, citronella and Bite Blocker are repellants: they keep insects away. There are also killers, of which Permethrin is the most widely used one. It is an insecticide, it blocks the nerves of insects. It not only killes mosquitos and ticks but also louses and scabies. You can spray it on your clothes and your mosquito net. Don't be afraid, it's not as toxic as the name suggests. However better are clothes and nets that are impregnated with permethrin during production. It holds longer. There is now some resistance observed of insects against permethrin but it is stille widely usable.
  • Of course the combination of DEET or Picaridine together with Permethrin impregnated clothes is the absolute winner. In a field study in Alaska soldiers using permethrin impregnated uniforms together with 35% DEET had a protection of 99,9% during 8 hours (1 bite per hour). A control group of unprotected soldiers had 1188 bites per hour. Yes men, join the army!

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Old 23 Mar 2009
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hi me and my wife always use the skin so soft and we buy it online atSkin So Soft. Avon. Alternative insect and mosquito repellent.
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Old 25 Mar 2009
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Free delivery

Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
And it's also inexpensive. There's a two-for-one deal on the Avon webshop and to make the shipping charge of £3.50 worthwhile I ended up buying six bottles for a total of £18.50.

Visited the site today (March 25th) and they had a free delivery promotion going. Just got two bottles for £5.

Thanks for the tip.

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Old 25 Mar 2009
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I don't know how effective it is against mozzies, but against midges it makes a serious difference. They still land on me but they don't seem to bite. Will be that time of year again before long
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Old 27 Mar 2009
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It don't always work

I heard many good things about the Avon stuff although never tried it as always stick with Deet based products as found these to be very effective.

My poor Mum used it on holiday in Turkey last year and was eaten alive whilst we did not get bitten at all with our Lifesystems 50% Deet Insect Repellent. (The only issue with this is the metal containers is that they always seem to leak a little so keep mine in a bag normally and it does stink).

So would suggest you always take a backup with you just in case it may not work for you.

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Old 28 Mar 2009
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Without going into whether the product works or not, here is a good example of how marketing physcology works in relation to "offers"-

In the first post Tim took up a 2 for 1 offer. He bought 6 for a total of GBP18.50 (Sorry, Cyrilic keyboard with no pound sign)

Then 2 day ago Indoors quotes 6 bottles for 15.00 with free delivery. Not so sure about this - I have no other proof.

When I looked just now there was a discounted prce of 2.50 each plus, when you reach Checkout, a 3.50 delivery charge per order. So 6 items = 18.50

Now that seems a remarkably similar cost to the completely different offer that Tim saw.

Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Avon?
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Old 31 Mar 2009
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The day I visited the site, they were offering free delivery (postage and packing). So the bottles cost £2.50 each but I didn't have to pay the £3.50 postage charge. Perhaps I should have made it clearer that the offer seemed to be for one day only.


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Old 5 Apr 2009
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Originally Posted by martheijnens View Post
A control group of unprotected soldiers had 1188 bites per hour.

Found this at Zen Backpacking - Insect Repellents and Protection

In 2002, Fradin and Day did a comparison of 13 commercial topical bug repellents against Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and found the following:

Average Hours of RepellencyProduct
5.0 OFF! Deep Woods (23.8% DEET)
3.9Sawyer Controlled Release (20% DEET)
1.9OFF! Skintastic (6.65% DEET)
1.6Bite Blocker for Kids (2% Soybean oil)
1.5OFF! Skintastic for Kids (4.75% DEET)
0.4Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus (7.5% IR3535)
0.3Natrapel (10% Citronella)
0.3Herbal Armor (12% Citronella, 2.5% peppermint oil, cedar oil, 2%, 1% lemongrass oil, 0.05% geranium oil)
0.2Green Ban for People (10% Citronella, 2% peppermint oil)
0.2Buzz Away (5% Citronella)
0.2Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard (0.1% Citronella)
0.2Skin-So-Soft Bath Oil (Uncertain)
0.0Skin-So-Soft Moisturizing Suncare (0.05% Citronella)

In 2004, Barnard and Xue did a comparison of 12 commercial bug repellent against Aedes albopictus, Culex nigripalpus, and Ochlerotatus triseriatus mosquito species and found the following:

Average Hours of RepellencyProduct
7.6Repel (26% p-menthane-3,8-diol aka oil of lemon eucalyptus)
7.2Bite Blocker (2% soybean oil, glycerin, lecithin, vanillin, oils of coconut and geranium)7.2Autan (10% picaridin)
7.2Off! (15% DEET)
4.8Skinsations (7% DEET)
3.2IR3535 (7.5% aka Skin-So-Soft)
3.1MosquitoSafe (25% geraniol)
2.3Natrapel (10% citronella)
1.5Neem Aura (Aloe vera, extract of barberry, camomile, goldenseal, myrrh, neem, and thyme; oil of anise, cedarwood, citronella, coconut, lavender, lemongrass, neem, orange and rhodiumwood)
1.5SunSwat (oils of bay, cedarwood, citronella, goldenseal, juniper, lavender, lemon peel, patchouli, pennyroyal, tansy, tea tree, and vetivert)
1.5Bygone (oils of canola, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, and sweet birch)
0.9GonE (Aloe vera, camphor, menthol, oils of eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, sage, and soybean)

DEET and lemon eucalyptus did well in these studies. Perhapse the bugs in each of our parts of the world are a little differnt.
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Old 16 Aug 2009
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sarsons red malt vinegar..
used it for years ..
only a few drops mind..
reminds you of the local chippy..
try it and see..
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