It’s that time of the year again! It’s nice and warm out, outdoor activities are in full swing, but so are the bugs! Bugs like… Those nasty mosquitos. They make you itch, and scratch and they leave those horrendous bumps.
I’ve always bought the go-to brands like OFF Deep Woods. But the smell made me sick, the chemicals in toxic bug sprays are terrible for your skin and the smell lingers FOREVER.
Why are toxic bug repellents like OFF so bad for you?
- DEET is one of the most widely used chemicals as a mosquito repellent. While the use of DEET in lower concentrations is considered safe, when used in concentrations greater than 50 percent, DEET can produce skin irritation. Eye irritation is also common. DEET can also penetrate the skin and can, in rare instances, affect the central nervous system. In some individuals, slurred speech, confusion and seizures have occurred. These symptoms are most commonly associated with long-term, excessive exposure or improper use. Whoa! That’s super scary… especially if you are using it regularly.
- “Permethrin” is another repellent intended for treating clothing and other items, such as tents, sleeping bags and other gear made of fabric. Permethrin can cause eye irritation. While “pyrethroid” chemicals directly affect the nervous system of insects, it’s unknown how these chemicals will affect humans, so care should be taken and you should follow the directions carefully. The Environmental Protection Agency has also classified “permethrin” as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” if ingested. Hmmm…
- “P-menthane-3,8-diol” may have some associated health hazards. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that long-term skin exposure produces microscopic kidney lesions as well as skin redness and swelling. Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency states that one study found “p-menthane-3,8-diol”may cause genetic damage. So if you plan on being outside every day, the toxic choice isn’t the best choice.. nor is it the only choice!
- California Department of Pesticide Regulation Report 2007-6 indicates that there was a possible increase in liver tumors and liver necrosis in rat and mice in toxicity studies. That’s a lot!!!
So how can you stop buying your typical toxic bug repellent?
Well, the good news is that you can make your own at home! The key is essential oils. And lots of them!
- 2 cups of WitchHazel
- 20 drops of Citronella essential oil
- 15 drops of Lemongrass
- 8 drops of Lavender essential oil
- 5 drops Peppermint oil
Dilute with some distilled water. (Distilled is specific) Do not spray directly on faces. Instead, spray in your hands and then rub onto your face, avoiding your eyes and mouth.
The best protection against mosquito-borne illness is avoidance. If you can, remain indoors during their peak hours (dawn and dusk).
This spray is not waterproof/sweat-proof, so you will need to apply again hourly to ensure continued protection. Citronella is what is commonly used to repel mosquitos as well as peppermint. Once this mix has soaked into your skin, those mosquitos will HATE the smell and won’t even go near you, let alone bite you!
This summer, make the right choice! If you don’t want to make your own, there are other natural- in store options you can find! Here are some favorites:
- This one is DEET free: Repel without Deet
- Without DEET: Herbal Amor
- And this one that’s pretty interesting: Picaridin
Keep mosquitos away, the right way this summer!