Does Skin So Soft Repel No-See-Ums?

Bill Swank
First Published: | Updated: February 27, 2024

Are you tired of no-see-ums ruining your warm evenings outdoors? You might have heard rumors about Skin So Soft by Avon being an effective deterrent, but is it valid?

You’d be forgiven for questioning how a beauty product could be helpful in the battle against these tiny biting flies. Interestingly enough, there’s more to these claims than you might initially think.

In this article, we’ll delve into whether Skin So Soft legitimately repels no-see-ums, backed by scientific studies, personal experiences, and the key ingredients responsible for this surprising function. Stick with us as we uncover the truth behind this beauty product’s unexpected secondary use.

  • Skin So Soft, a product by Avon, traditionally used as a skin moisturizer has anecdotally been found effective as a no-see-ums repellent. Its Bug Guard version contains Picaridin, a known insect repellent ingredient.
  • Despite being a cosmetic product, Skin So Soft has been scientifically tested and found to repel no-see-ums, offering a significant level of protection against these biting insects.
  • When compared to traditional repellants, Skin So Soft performs quite well though DEET-based products may provide slightly superior results. However, Picaridin, used in Skin So Soft, does not have the odor associated with DEET and does not damage plastics or synthetic fabrics.
  • Even though it’s generally considered safe for the skin, it is recommended to perform a skin patch test before using Skin So Soft, especially for those with sensitive skin.
  • A diversified approach, combining the use of Skin So Soft, proper clothing, and environmental care, remains the most effective strategy for dealing with no-see-ums. Also, the effectiveness of Skin So Soft may vary based on individual experiences and the specific environment.

Table of Contents

What Are No-See-Ums?

No-see-ums, scientifically known as Ceratopogonidae, are tiny biting flies, commonly referred to as biting midges. Their name comes from their small size, as they are almost invisible to the naked eye.

Where are No-See-Ums Commonly Found?

Swamps, marshes, wet forests, and coastal areas are the typical habitat of no-see-ums

No-see-ums are prevalent worldwide, but they usually thrive in warm, humid environments. Marshes, beaches, and areas close to bodies of water are common habitats. They are also known to be very active during the dawn and dusk hours.

When Do No-See-Ums Come Out?

No-see-ums typically come out during dawn and dusk hours.

They typically come out when the weather is warm. You may notice them more during the early morning and late evening, as these are the times they are most active.

What Problems Do No-See-Ums Cause to Humans?

No-see-um bites on human legs

No-see-ums might be inconspicuous, but their bites are far from unnoticeable. Similar to mosquitoes, they feast on human and animal blood, causing itchy, red welts on the skin. Some people may even have allergic reactions.

In certain parts of the world, no-see-ums can transmit diseases, making them of considerable public health concern. Therefore, their control and prevention are extremely critical.

What Is Skin So Soft?

Skin So Soft is a famed cosmetic product line often used for softening and smoothing the skin, along with providing a pleasant scent.

Who Manufactures Skin So Soft?

Skin So Soft is a product of Avon, a well-established global beauty brand known for its diverse and innovative product range.

What Are the Main Ingredients in Skin So Soft?

The table below provides an overview of the main ingredients in the two variants of Avon’s Skin So Soft: the Original and the Bug Guard. The Original variant is known for its skin-softening qualities, while the Bug Guard variant includes additional ingredients for repelling insects:

VariantKey IngredientsPurpose
Skin So Soft OriginalAloe, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin EMoisturizing, nourishing, provides a pleasant scent
Skin So Soft Bug GuardPicaridin, Vitamin E, AloeInsect repellent, moisturizing, skin protection

How Is Skin So Soft Typically Used?

Skin So Soft by Avon offers different methods of application depending on its variant, each designed to maximize the product’s benefits:

  1. Skin So Soft Original:
    • Application After Bathing: It is recommended to apply the oil after a shower or bath while the skin is still damp. This helps to lock in moisture and leaves the skin feeling soft and radiant.
    • Daily Moisturizing: The product can be used daily as a part of a regular skincare routine to maintain smooth and hydrated skin.
  2. Skin So Soft Bug Guard:
    • As an Insect Repellent: Apply evenly over exposed skin before going outdoors. It’s particularly useful during activities like hiking, camping, or any other outdoor events where insect exposure is high.
    • Sun Protection Variants: For variants with SPF, like the Bug Guard Plus Expedition, apply generously 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, immediately after towel drying, and at least every 2 hours. This ensures effective sun and insect protection.

How Are Insect Repellents Typically Formulated?

Insect repellents are special substances used to deter pests from landing or climbing on your body. They are customized to reduce bites from pesky insects that can transmit diseases like mosquitoes, ticks, and no-see-ums.

What Are the Common Ingredients Found in Insect Repellents?

Common ingredients used in most traditional insect repellents include:

IngredientEffectivenessPropertiesCommonly Used In
DEETHighVery effective but can damage plastics, has a strong odorTraditional insect repellents
PicaridinHighOdorless, does not damage materials, skin-friendlySkin So Soft Bug Guard, other repellents
Oil of Lemon EucalyptusModerateNatural, less effective than synthetic chemicals, pleasant smellNatural insect repellents
IR3535ModerateEffective, mild on skin, less odorousVarious skin-friendly insect repellents

How Do These Ingredients Repel Insects?

The ingredients of repellents acts as a protective bubble to keep no-see-ums away

These active ingredients work by masking the smell of humans or confusing bugs, making it hard for them to locate their targets. They primarily block or scramble the insect’s sensory input, enforcing a kind of ‘invisibility cloak’ that helps in preventing bites.

Does Skin So Soft Contain Common Insect Repellent Ingredients?

What Ingredients in Skin So Soft Might Act as Repellents?


Avon’s Skin So Soft Bug Guard contains Picaridin. It’s an engineered compound that mirrors the natural compound piperine, found in pepper plants. Picaridin is colorless and odorless and has proved to be effective against a range of insects including no-see-ums.

How Do These Ingredients Compare to Traditional Repellents?

Picaridin in Skin So Soft Bug Guard offers a similar level of protection as DEET-based products. While DEET has been the gold standard for insect repellant for many years, Picaridin is a more recent addition to the arsenal—and is often favored because it is odor-free and does not damage plastics or synthetic fabrics, unlike DEET.

Below is a comparison table of the key ingredients found in Skin So Soft and traditional repellents, which illustrates their properties and general acceptance based on effectiveness and user comfort:

IngredientFound inEffectivenessAdvantagesDisadvantages
DEETTraditional repellentsHighExtensive efficacy against insectsCan damage plastics, strong odor
PicaridinSkin So Soft Bug GuardHighOdorless, does not damage materialsSlightly more expensive than DEET
Oil of Lemon EucalyptusAlternative repellentsModerateNatural, pleasant smellLess effective than DEET and Picaridin

How Have People Used Skin So Soft as a Repellent?

Skin So Soft by Avon has a longstanding reputation for its unintended use as an insect repellent. While it was originally formulated for skin care, many users have reported effective repelling properties against various insects. Below is a table summarizing how people have traditionally used Skin So Soft as a repellent:

VariantInsects RepelledUser Experiences
Skin So Soft OriginalNo-see-ums, mosquitoes, ticksAnecdotally effective; widely used in outdoor settings
Skin So Soft Bug GuardNo-see-ums, mosquitoes, ticks, and other insectsSpecifically formulated for repelling; contains Picaridin which enhances repellent efficacy

What Anecdotal Evidence Exists Regarding the Use of Skin So Soft Against No-See-Ums?

Many users claim that the original Skin So Soft bath oil works surprisingly well against no-see-ums and mosquitoes, even though it does not contain traditional insect repelling ingredients. However, it’s important to note that these are anecdotal reports and personal experiences, which may not represent consistent results for all users.

What Other Insects Has Skin So Soft Been Claimed to Repel?

Apart from no-see-ums, many users have used Skin So Soft to repel:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Ticks
  • Even fleas on their pets

But remember: these are individual experiences, and results may vary.

What Does the Scientific Research Say?

Scientific research helps us move beyond anecdotes and understand how effective Skin So Soft truly is as a repellent.

Have There Been Any Controlled Studies on the Effectiveness of Skin So Soft Against No-See-Ums?

Quite a few studies have taken a closer look at Skin So Soft and its repelling abilities. For instance, a controlled trial comparing 95% DEET, Avon Skin So Soft, and a “special mixture” against mosquitoes found that Skin So Soft Bug Guard was effective against no-see-ums.

In another study titled ‘Repellency of two DEET formulations and Avon Skin-So-Soft against biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in Honduras‘, it was shown that while DEET had superior performance, Skin So Soft offered a decent protection rate of 71.4% by trapping biting midges.

What Are the Findings of These Studies?

The essential takeaway from these studies is that Skin So Soft can repel no-see-ums, with the product offering double protection by acting both as a repellant and a trapping agent for these insects.

How Does Skin So Soft Compare to Other Repellents in Scientific Testing?

When compared to other repellents in scientific testing, Skin So Soft performed quite well. Even though DEET-based products are generally slightly more effective, Skin So Soft offers a comparable level of protection against no-see-ums.

Are There Any Safety Concerns or Side Effects Using Skin So Soft as a Repellent?

Are There Any Known Risks or Side Effects of Using Skin So Soft as a Repellent?

Using products outside their original intended purpose, such as using Skin So Soft as an insect repellent, raises questions about safety and potential side effects. Below is a table that outlines known concerns and precautions associated with using Skin So Soft in this alternative manner:

Skin SensitivityPotential for irritation, especially in sensitive individualsPerform a skin patch test before widespread use
Misuse of ProductUsing the product contrary to label instructionsFollow label instructions, avoid sensitive areas
Inhalation RisksInhalation of spray mist could cause respiratory irritationApply in well-ventilated areas, avoid inhaling

How Does the Use of Skin So Soft for Repelling No-See-Ums Align With Its Intended Purpose?

Considering Skin So Soft is primarily marketed as a cosmetic product, it may seem puzzling to use it as an insect repellent. However, the Bug Guard variant has been specifically developed with insect-repelling properties, making it suitable for this dual purpose.

What Precautions Should Be Taken if Using Skin So Soft as a Repellent?

When using Skin So Soft as an insect repellent, it is crucial to adhere to safety precautions to avoid potential harm. Proper application and awareness of the product’s limitations can enhance its effectiveness while ensuring user safety. Here are the essential precautions to consider:

  1. Follow Label Instructions: Always use the product as directed on the packaging to ensure optimal results and safety.
  2. Avoid Sensitive Areas: Do not apply the product near eyes, mouth, or open wounds to prevent irritation.
  3. Use in Well-Ventilated Areas: When applying spray forms of the repellent, do so in open areas to avoid inhaling the product.
  4. Skin Test: Especially for those with sensitive skin, perform a patch test before widespread use to check for any adverse reactions.
  5. Consult a Professional: If irritation or discomfort occurs after application, stop using the product immediately and seek advice from a healthcare professional.
  6. Keep Out of Reach of Children: Ensure that the product is stored safely away from children to avoid accidental ingestion or misuse.
  7. Check for Allergies: Be aware of any personal allergies to ingredients in Skin So Soft, as some natural and chemical components might trigger reactions.

The optimal method to apply Skin So Soft primarily depends on the product version you’re using. For instance, the Bug Guard version is typically applied like any other insect repellent.

How Is Skin So Soft Applied as a Repellent for No-See-Ums?

When using Skin So Soft as a repellent for no-see-ums, it’s important to follow the correct application methods to ensure both safety and effectiveness. The table below outlines how both the Original and Bug Guard variants should be applied:

VariantApplication StepsSpecial Precautions
Skin So Soft Original1. Shake well before use.
2. Apply evenly to skin, not directly to face. Use hands to apply to the face.
3. Avoid sensitive areas and skin with wounds or irritations.
Avoid eyes and mouth. Perform a skin test if you have sensitive skin.
Skin So Soft Bug Guard1. Shake well before use.
2. Spray or apply evenly over all exposed skin. Use hands for facial application.
3. Reapply as necessary, especially after swimming or excessive sweating.
Avoid eyes and mouth. Suitable for a more frequent application when in insect-dense areas.

Are There Specific Areas That Should Receive More Attention During Application?

Pay more attention to exposed parts of your body like arms, legs, neck, and face. However, be sure to avoid contact with eyes or mouth.

What Alternatives Exist to Skin So Soft for No-See-Ums Repellent?

Though Skin So Soft works effectively as a no-see-um repellent, other alternatives exist, both in product and natural remedy form.

Products containing DEET, Picaridin, Permethrin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and electronic traps are generally recommended for repelling no-see-ums. Here is a detailed table and recommended brands for each category to help you choose based on your specific needs:

Repellent TypeActive IngredientRecommended
Effectiveness Against No-See-UmsAdditional Info
Topical RepellentDEET
Repel 100 Max (100% DEET for maximum protection)
Very HighApply directly to skin and clothing; available in various concentrations.
Topical RepellentPicaridin
Sawyer Picaridin (pleasant odor)

Cutter Advanced Picaridin Insect Repellent
HighLess oily and odorless compared to DEET; safe for skin and fabrics.
Natural RepellentOil of Lemon Eucalyptus
Repel Lemon Eucalyptus

Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent
ModerateNatural option; requires more frequent application.
Permethrin SprayPermethrin
Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent Permethrin
Very HighApplied to clothing, not skin; remains effective through several washes.
HighAttracts and traps no-see-ums; may vary in effectiveness depending on the specific design and placement.

How Do They Compare in Terms of Effectiveness, Safety, and Price?

When choosing a repellent for no-see-ums, it’s useful to compare different products side-by-side to understand their effectiveness, safety, and cost. Below is a comprehensive table that outlines various repellent types, detailing their specific characteristics to aid in making an informed decision:

Repellent TypeEffectivenessSafety ConsiderationsPriceAdditional Info
DEET (Topical)Very HighCan damage plastics and synthetics; safe when used as directedEconomicalAvailable in various concentrations; apply to skin and clothing
Picaridin (Topical)HighOdorless, does not damage materials; safe for skin and fabricsSlightly more expensive than DEETAvailable in various brands like Sawyer and Cutter
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (Natural)ModerateNatural, generally safe for skin; less effective in high-infestation areasComparable to synthetic repellentsRequires more frequent reapplication
Permethrin (Spray)Very HighApplied to clothing, not skin; remains effective through several washesCompetitively pricedIdeal for clothing protection
Electronic TrapsHighNon-invasive and chemical-free; safe around children and petsMore expensive initiallyEffectiveness can vary by design and placement

Is There Effective Natural Remedies for No-See-Ums?

Natural remedies offer a gentler alternative to chemical repellents for deterring no-see-ums, though they may not always match the potency and duration of protection provided by synthetic options. Here are some commonly used natural solutions, along with insights into their effectiveness and application:

  1. Eucalyptus Oil:
    • Effectiveness: Moderately effective; provides a natural barrier against no-see-ums.
    • Application: Can be applied directly to the skin or used in diffusers to create a protective area.
  2. Lavender Oil:
    • Effectiveness: Offers mild repellent properties; also helps soothe existing insect bites.
    • Application: Apply diluted lavender oil on exposed skin or use in aromatic sprays for a calming scent that deters insects.
  3. Tea Tree Oil:
    • Effectiveness: Known for its strong antimicrobial properties; moderately effective as an insect repellent.
    • Application: Mix with a carrier oil and apply to the skin, or add to lotions for added protection.
  4. Citronella:
    • Effectiveness: Widely recognized for its repellent qualities; effectiveness varies but generally good for short periods.
    • Application: Use citronella candles outdoors or apply citronella oil-based skin products.
  5. Peppermint Oil:
    • Effectiveness: Strong scent that effectively repels many types of insects, including no-see-ums.
    • Application: Apply a diluted solution directly to the skin or use in environmental sprays.

However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of these natural solutions is often less potent and shorter-lived than synthesized repellents.

What Might Be the Future Research Needs or Potential Innovations in No-See-Ums Repellents?

Continuous research is crucial for discovering more effective, safe, and economical ways to combat no-see-ums. Potential pathways can include looking at plant-based repellents or nanoparticle-based technologies, which could offer longer-lasting protection.


Avon’s Skin So Soft Bug Guard makes for a viable alternative to traditional insect repellents when warding off the pesky no-see-ums. Not only has it been found to provide protection, but it also doubles as a hydrating skin product, serving two purposes at once. However, as with all products, individual experiences can vary, so it’s always wise to test it out in your environment to measure its efficacy. Remember, a diversified approach, embracing personal protection, proper clothing, and attention to the environment, is ultimately the most effective strategy in the battle against no-see-ums.

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