Insects-borne diseases constitute a public health concern. Since there is no vaccine or curative treatment for many of these diseases, individual protection is the main approach to prevent them. Nowadays, the search for replacing synthetic molecules for insect repellents from natural sources, such as essential oils, is increasing. However, most of them present low efficiency compared to synthetic repellents. Therefore, decreasing skin permeation of synthetic repellents or yet, increasing effectiveness of natural repellents are challenges that must be overcome during the development of novel insect repellent formulations. In this context, polymer-based formulations allow entrapping active ingredients and provide release control. Encapsulation into polymeric micro/nanocapsules, cyclodextrins, polymeric micelles or hydrogels constitutes an approach to modify physicochemical properties of encapsulated molecules. Such techniques, applied in topical formulations, fabrics modification for personal protection, or food packaging have proved to be more effective in increasing repellency time and also in reducing drug dermal absorption, improving safety profiles of these products. In this work, the main synthetic and natural insect repellents are described as well as their polymeric carrier systems and their potential applications.
Keywords: Drug Release Control, DEET, Insects Repellents, Microencapsulation, Polymers, Skin Permeation.