When and Why to Use Natural Bug Repellent?
Spring and Summer are the time of year when lots of our little biting friends reemerge to snack on us. However, when you dive deeper into the world of bug repellent, you realize that there might actually be a lot more things to consider than you initially thought (but more about that later) so hopefully this can debunk some myths and help you make the right choice about which is the best natural bug spray for you.
The argument against using chemical bug spray
Ah yes, DEET, sound familiar? The chances are that you’ve heard of it and most likely have used a repellent that contains it. DEET (an acronym for N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) is a colorless liquid that was developed in the 1950’s by the U.S. Army and has been used by the general public as a bug repellent since then, too as it works by blinding mosquitos to human presence by stopping them smelling human sweat and breath. DEET, when used as directed, has been considered safe by the American Academy of Pediatricians and the U.S, Centers for Disease Control and Protection. However, this is where the waters get a little murky as ‘use-as-directed’ requires that DEET is washed off after coming indoors and that amongst other things, it must be kept away from your mouth and off children’s hands.
One report found that a concentration of 50% and above has been found to be linked to skin blisters, seizures, memory loss, joint stiffness, shortness of breath. Another 2008 French study also found that DEET may be linked to negatively affecting the nervous system and therefore can affect your motor skills. DEET is also known to break down slowly in soil and is commonly found in water as it doesn’t dissolve or mix well with water.
The other most common chemical found in bug repellent is Permethrin. Permethrin is a synthetic pesticide and is often used to bug-proof our clothing as well as in bug sprays. Permethrin is also linked to neurotoxicity which can result in seizures.
Things to consider about your bug repellent
So, after reading that, we’re sure you’re ready to change to a natural mosquito repellent right? Well, here is where we have to use the phrase ‘it depends’ as quite frankly it does very much depend on your requirements for using any bug spray. If you are going to be traveling in an area where there are insects that are known to carry disease such as Malaria, Yellow Fever or Zika, there is still a strong argument made by many U.S. medical professionals to only use DEET and chemical based bug repellents if you will be in an area of risk. The bottom line here is knowing the area you will be traveling to and if you will indeed be at risk from mosquito-borne or tick-borne illnesses.
Also don’t forget the golden rule when it comes to applying any bug repellent; proper application. This is key to both effectiveness and more importantly your safety. Follow the labels instructions about how much to apply as well as how regularly to reapply.
When and why we use natural bug repellent?
Not going into the jungle anytime soon? Us neither. Here is the bottom line, if all you want is to not get bitten at the beach or when you’re out in your backyard having a BBQ, then chances are, you can ditch the DEET and opt to use a natural bug spray instead. Natural essential oils such as Lemon eucalyptus, Lavender and Citronella when mixed in correct amounts, make natural mosquito repellent as effective at repelling insects as DEET due to the fact the essential oils work to mask the scent that insects are most attracted to in exactly the same way DEET does.
As natural insect repellent contains 100% natural ingredients, they are of course also better for you, your family and for our planet’s waterways and wildlife, too. You may just have to remember that natural bug repellent may need applying more frequently than chemical based repellents.
Which is the best natural bug repellent?
So what is the best natural mosquito repellent we hear you ask? Well, stand by as we bring you our three top picks:
This natural bug spray takes advantage of what nature already has on offer to give you the same protection without having to cover yourself or your family in all those manufactured pesticides. This vegan and chemical free bug spray harnesses the power of vinegar and essential oils including lemongrass, citronella and lemon eucalyptus to keep mosquitoes, flies, ticks, and other insects at bay. Now you and the whole family can feel comfortable knowing that you are fully protected when you go outdoors without all those harmful chemicals on your precious skin.
Ingredients: Water, vinegar, lemongrass essential oil, citronella, lemon eucalyptus essential oil, peppermint essential oil, and rosemary essential oil.
This natural bug repellent takes advantage of what nature already has on offer to give you the same protection without having to cover yourself or your family in all those manufactured pesticides. This fruity scented bug repellent harnesses the power of citronella, cedarwood and geranium essential oils to keep mosquitoes, flies, ticks, and other insects at bay. Now you and the whole family can feel comfortable knowing that you are fully protected when you go outdoors without all those harmful chemicals on your precious skin.
Ingredients: Citronella, cedarwood essential oil, basil essential oil, and sweet geranium essential oil.
Perfect for the whole family, this 100% natural and DEET-free natural mosquito repellent is safe for even the most sensitive skin. A little of this aromatic essential oil spray goes a long way so we suggest that you spray it in your hands first and then apply it to your skin.
Ingredients: Citronella Essential Oil, Lemongrass Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, Rosemary Essential Oil, Cedarwood Essential Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Witch Hazel, and Filtered Water.