The Best Natural Insect Repellents
As soon as the warm air of Spring and Summer appears, so do those pesky bugs we all try to avoid: mosquitoes!
If, like me, you are a magnet for these little suckers, then an effective insect repellent is your best friend during the warmer seasons. No-one wants their summer skin tainted with itchy, scarring bites that linger for weeks after, but with so many repellents on the market, and most of them leaving you smelling like a chemical cocktail, surely there must be a natural alternative?
The Synthetic Option
The most common synthetic ingredient found in popular insect repellents is DEET, and this will be found in most big-brand over the counter sprays. DEET works by confusing the smell and taste signals of mosquitoes so humans smell less attractive to them, and therefore they are less likely to bite. Although highly effective, DEET has a strong, chemical odour and can even cause skin irritation on some users.
Not only does DEET smell bad, and can make your skin ironically itchier, it’s also not water resistant, and can be washed off easily by sweat and rain.
Natural repellents do alleviate these problems, but the main issue is that they don’t work as well. One of the main suggestions as to why natural products aren’t as effective is that they often contain a complex mix of compounds, some of which repel insects, but some of which may attract them, depending on the insect.
The most popular and commonly used natural insect repellent has to be Citronella Oil. Used in candles and sprays, the potent citrus scent is thought to disguise the tempting smell of humans for the mosquitos, but for some people, it isn’t all that effective.
Here are some other natural alternatives you should try:
Both lavender flowers AND lavender oil produce a fragrance that can repel mosquitoes. It also has antifungal and antiseptic qualities, which means as well as preventing bites, it can sooth any existing bitten skin, too!
Tea Tree Oil
This popular oil is well known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, but recent studies suggest it can act as a pretty impressive bug repellent, too! Working against mosquitoes, bush flies and midgies, this oil can work on more than just mozzies!
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
This alternative citrus smelling oil is another well-known bug repellent, and has been CDC approved as an effective mosquito spray. A recent study has shown that lemon eucalyptus oil can provide more than 95% protection against mosquitoes for 3 hours.
More than just a great porridge topper, cinnamon can also kill off mosquito eggs and act as a repellent against bites! Most notably from the Asian Tiger Mosquito. Mix ¼ teaspoon of oil with 4 ounces of water and spray onto skin or clothing.
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