3 Bed Bug Repellent Lotion Options – Don’t Let the Bugs Bite!

Bed bugs are one of the sneakiest and peskiest bugs of all. They attack at night when you’re peacefully asleep, suck on your blood, and leave itchy welts all over your body. These bloodsuckers don’t take pity on kids or sick adults. They will feed on your blood and hide once they are filled to the brim. So for this post, we reviewed some of the best bed bug repellent lotion options you can use together with some tips.

Sawyer Products Ultra
30% DEET Liposome
Base Lotion
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Avon Skin So Soft
Bug Repellent Lotion
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No-Bite-Me Cream
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How bed bugs behave

Bed bugs are night insects. They hide in your bed, furniture, and the tiny crevices of the room. At nighttime, they will get out of their hiding spots and target the nearest food source – you. Usually, these bugs will harbor on places where you sleep for easy access.

The human blood is necessary for female bed bugs so they can produce eggs.

Unlike ticks, bed bugs can’t jump nor fly. All their means of travel is crawling. Even though they are small, these critters are willing to go the distance to have their nightly meal.

Bed bugs use their sharp, piercing mouthparts to suck the blood your skin. After sucking the blood, they will inject their saliva into the skin, which causes the itchiness and allergic reaction. Still, bed bug bites aren’t felt at the time that they are feeding on you.

Here are some of the must-know facts about bed bug’s eating habits.

➡️A bed bug can suck blood up to three times its own weight. Also, a single feeding will take around 3 to 10 minutes.

➡️Most adult bed bugs can survive without feeding for 550 days

➡️Bed bugs are attracted to heat, carbon dioxide, and moisture – all of which are found on your body, especially when you sweat at night.

In this BBC video, Liz Bonnin and Dr. James Logan show us what a bed bug bite looks like up close:

Bed bugs vs. ticks

It’s quite tricky to identify bed bugs from ticks. Some people often interchange the two, which will lead to confusing control and repelling methods.

Hard ticks and bed bugs have similarities since they are both flat and wingless. Also, both feed on human blood.

The biggest difference between the two is that ticks don’t harbor on beds like bed bugs. They are commonly found outdoors on the grass and can bite at any time of the day. Also, ticks are carriers of communicable diseases, something that bed bugs don’t have – a consolation for those who are favorite targets of the night bloodsuckers.

Risks that bed bugs bring

A few bed bug bites won’t harm your health. However, if the bites are persistent and in large swaths, it could pose serious threats. Here are some of the possible scenarios:

➡️Allergic reactions

The redness and itchiness that a bed bug bite leaves is an allergic reaction to the insect’s saliva. If these bites are too severe in number and happen every night, the reaction will become much worse. In rare cases, severe bed bug bites may contribute to anemia, worse, anaphylaxis.

➡️Secondary infections

Bed bug bites can worsen present wounds and infections. For example, it can trigger impetigo, lymphangitis, and ecthyma. This effect may become worse for kids with lingering skin problems.


Recurring bed bugs bites can lead to trauma for the person affected. Soon enough, it will impact their mental health as their friends and family avoid their home. Some reports anxiety and even depression during the onslaught of the infestation.


Knowing that bed bugs are lurking in your bed is enough to give you sleepless nights. Insomnia will ensue due to the fear of being bitten. And if a person lacks sleep, it will affect their performance at school and work.

Do repellent lotions work?

Many manufacturers produce insect repellent products to answer the clamor for instant and convenient solutions for bed bugs. One of which is repellent lotions. These are lotions infused with active ingredients like DEET to repel the bugs from your skin.

Bed bug repellent lotions are applied like a typical body lotion before bedtime. The notion is that the bed bugs won’t bite due to the intoxicating layer of substance on your skin.

Sure, it works, but only to a specific extent. Just like the popular repellent lotion, OFF!, most bed bug lotions will only work for a few hours. After that, you’d have to re-apply. Also, some madly hungry bed bugs can still bite and suck blood on your skin. This leads us to the next point.

Lotions aren’t the sole answer

Repellent lotions are an excellent way to stop the bugs from directly harming your skin. But if you want to get rid of the pesky insect, you have to tap the help of professional exterminators.

If the infestation is manageable through DIY remedies, you can use encasements, bed bug sprays, dust, and more. This will reduce the population of the bugs and eradicate it after some time.

Using lotions alone won’t stop the bugs from wreaking havoc on your home. Worse, the insects are continuously reproducing while you rely solely on repellent lotions for temporary relief.

Of course, repellent lotions are staples during bug infestations. Still, it’s not the sole solution to the problem.

Bed bug lotion buying guide

If you’re looking for a bug repellent lotion, make sure that you look into the following aspects first:

➡️Active ingredients

Repellent lotions aren’t created equal, much so because each one contains different active ingredients. One of the most common is Picaridin, a synthetic substance used to repel ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects.

Although it’s excellent for mosquitoes and ticks, a study published in PubMed.gov indicated that Pircaridin and Permethrin have little repellency against bed bugs.

Meanwhile, the study found that repellent products with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) have higher repellency and can last for up to 14 days when applied on clothes and other surfaces.

Still, the repellency of DEET varies on its concentration. Your best bet is a product with at least 30% DEET. The odorless and colorless version of DEET products is also non-irritant.


The scent of the lotion depends on your preference. Others come in a citrusy odor while you can find some with almost no smell. Since some insects are irritated on strong orange-y smell, it may add a repellent effect if you opt for one with this scent.

➡️Allergic reactions

Always check the ingredients of the bed bug repellent lotion first before buying. As much as it will repel the bugs, it may also cause unintended irritation for those with sensitive skin.

Some users of repellent lotions reported sensitivity to DEET, while others don’t experience any negative effects. It all varies from person to person. If ever you experience any irritation while using the repellent lotion, discontinue use and seek the opinion of a dermatologist.


Repellent lotions will have a lasting effect of a few hours. For a peaceful slumber, look for one with the longest coverage and repellency. If you’re using one with a shorter duration, say four hours, you may need to re-apply in the middle of the night.

Also, look for a bed bug repellent lotion that you can use on your face and body for total coverage. You wouldn’t want your face to be the target of the pest, right?

➡️Other insects it repels

Aside from bed bugs, most of these repellent lotions also work for other insect pests like ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, and more. It’s hitting one insect with one stone, making the product an all-around protection.


A bed bug repellent lotion is modestly priced so it’s easy on the pocket and you can have multiple bottles lying around.


If you’re purchasing a bed bug repellent lotion for the whole family, make sure that the formula is safe for kids. Take note that even if the repellent lotion is fit for kids, you’re not supposed to apply it on babies that are under a year old or so.

Tips to repel bed bugs

To make sure that the bed bugs won’t touch your skin again, you should pair your repellent lotion with the following tips:

➡️Combined other repellent methods

Like we said earlier, repellent lotions are just one of the solutions to ward off bed bugs. Aside from sending them away, it’s more effective if you will trap and try to make a dent in their population. You can use encasement, traps at the foot of your bed, and other attractants that will divert the bugs from your skin.

➡️Wash your sheets regularly

It’s imperative to wash your sheets frequently, both for repellent and hygiene purposes. It’s best to spray permethrin on the sheets before washing it. This way, you’ll get to kill the bugs before putting the fabric into the washing machine.

➡️Ask the help of professionals

Bed bugs won’t go away on its own. If you don’t employ extermination efforts, the pest will reproduce and escalate its threat to your home. You should ask the help of a professional exterminator to eradicate the bed bugs on your home.

TOP 3 Bed Bug Repellent Lotion Options

OUR TOP PICK: Sawyer Products Ultra 30% DEET Liposome Base Lotion
bed bug repellent lotion

Product Name: Sawyer Products Ultra 30% DEET Liposome Base Lotion

Product Description: Packed with 30% DEET, this liposome-based repellent lotion is guaranteed to keep bugs, ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects off your skin. It’s odorless, non-greasy, and sweat-proof for your comfort. The best thing about the Sawyer Products repellent lotion is it has a controlled release formula that will give you protection for up to 11 hours. Don’t worry since this is non-staining, even if you’re going to apply lavishly on the skin.

Offer price: $$$

Availability: InStock

  • Repellent effect
  • Gentleness on the skin
  • Coverage


Also, this bottle is airline friendly with its 3-ounce size. Most of all, it’s compatible with almost any sunscreen, ensuring that you’re protected even if you’re applying other products.

If you have bed bugs at home or staying in a hotel, this lotion will keep your skin bite-free.


✔️30% DEET

✔️Odorless and non-greasy

✔️Lasts up to 11 hours for every application


❌Leaves a little odor on clothes (not a biggie)


Avon Skin So Soft Bug Repellent Lotion

bed bug repellent lotion

If you want a bug repellent lotion that doubles as a sunscreen, the Avon Skin So Soft Bug Repellent Lotion is a great option. It has Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, and Octisalate as active ingredients. All of this help repel bugs while shielding your skin from the harm of UV rays.

You can use this is as a sunscreen during the day and a bed bug lotion at night. It has SPF 30 and guaranteed to be PABA-free.

One thing that we like the most about this Avon bug repellent lotion is it can be used on the face. It also works well under makeup – definitely the bed bug repellent lotion.

Overall, this lotion is non-greasy and perfect for family use. Still, if you have a child under six months, it’s best to consult a doctor before applying this lotion.


✔️Doubles as a sunscreen
✔️Perfect for family use
✔️Works on the face

❌Greasy at first

SallyeAnder No-Bite-Me Cream

Our third recommendation is SallyeAnder No-Bite-Me Cream. It’s made from natural ingredients like cedar essential oil, lemongrass essential oil, mint oil, thyme oil, and more essential oils that bed bugs hate. Aside from driving the pests away, this will also nourish your skin.

This is a handmade product free of DEET and can be used on infants. As an all-natural lotion/cream, No-Bite-Me is gentle on the skin but with unwavering protection against biting insects.

It’s just a little smelly (not foul), but it does the job. Although it has a creamy consistency, it’s far from greasy. Even kids will find it comfortable on the skin. You can also pair this with the No-Bite-Me soap for added repellent effect.


✔️Made from all-natural oils
✔️Can be used on infants

❌A bit smelly

Final words

A bed bug repellent lotion will help keep the bites at bay. Still, you should pair it with eradication efforts to kiss the insects goodbye finally.

What do you think of your suggestions here? Do you have anything to add? Let us know below!