Does Skin So Soft Repel No-See-Ums?

Bill Swank
Last 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?

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?

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-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 main ingredients of Skin So Soft products vary depending on their specific formulation, but commonly include aloe, Vitamin E, and skincare oils such as jojoba and argan. Notably, the Bug Guard version contains Picaridin, which is a known insect repellent.

How Is Skin So Soft Typically Used?

With its origins as a bath oil, Skin So Soft is typically used to keep skin hydrated and radiant. It’s often applied after bathing while the skin is still damp to lock in moisture. However, the Bug Guard variant is used differently, acting more as an insect repellent than a skincare product.

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 DEET (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide), Picaridin, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Each of these components has been approved by environmental and health authorities due to their effectiveness in repelling various types of insects.

How Do These Ingredients Repel Insects?

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.

How Have People Used Skin So Soft as a Repellent?

Traditionally used as a skin moisturizer, Skin So Soft has anecdotally been used as an insect repellent for decades, although Avon has never officially promoted it for this use.

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, and even fleas on their pets. 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?

Whenever a product is used in ways outside its original purpose, it’s essential to consider potential risks. Although Skin So Soft is generally known to be safe for the skin, it’s still beneficial to perform a skin patch test, especially if you have sensitive skin.

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?

It’s always necessary to follow the instructions on the product label and avoid any misuse. Keep the product away from your eyes, mouth, and any open wounds. If irritation occurs, discontinue use promptly and consult a healthcare professional.

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?

Shake the product well before use. Apply it evenly over your skin, avoiding your eyes and mouth. For application on your face, squirt the solution on your hands first and then rub it onto your face. Avoid applying it to areas with wounds or irritated skin.

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 or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus are generally recommended for repelling no-see-ums. Besides, permethrin-based products can be used on clothing for further protection.

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

DEET is often viewed as the most potent insect repellent on the market, but it has a strong odor and can damage plastics or synthetic fabrics. On the other side, Picaridin-based products like Skin So Soft offer a similar level of protection without these issues.

In terms of price, DEET-based products tend to be more economical compared to Picaridin-based ones, though the differential varies based on the brand and product size.

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

Some people prefer using natural remedies such as essential oils (e.g., eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree) to deter no-see-ums. 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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