Monday, August 16, 2010
DEET is the most common ingredients in insect repellent, but the stuff is toxic! DEET was developed by the United States Army, following its experience of jungle warfare during World War II. It's good for killing insects but is bad for your skin and health. Canada has banned the sale of products containing more than 30% DEET!
So what is the best all natural insect repellent? Here is a list of the top 5 essential oils are excellent for keeping bugs, ants, mosquitoes and ticks away.
1) Citronella - Citronella oil, which is derived from some varieties of the lemongrass family, can be used as a safe, non-toxic insect repellent. Citronella oil can be applied directly to skin in diluted form, or it can be burnt in candles and lamps to repel insects over a greater area.
2) Neem oil - Neem oil has an extensive history of human use in India and surrounding regions for a variety of therapeutic purposes. It repels or kills mosquitoes, their larvae and a plethora of other insects including those in agriculture. It can also be used as an antiseptic.
3) Lemongrass - Good for repelling mosquitoes. With its pleasing aroma and overall effectiveness, lemongrass oil has become one of the most popular of all natural insect repellents. Lemongrass oil, which is closely related to citronella, repels a greater variety of pests than most natural "one-scented" oil mixtures.
4) Lavender oil - repels mosquitoes very well. Apply a few dabs to pressure points like inner elbows, wrists, back of knees and sides of neck.
5) Celery Extract - A Thai study compared 15 mosquito repellents with a topical extract from celery. The researchers found that the extract did not irritate the skin or cause a burning sensation. It was found to be active against a wide range of mosquito species comparable to a 25% DEET formula. Now that's amazing effectiveness!!
These essential oils can be found in most health food stores or online. You can easily make your own repellent by mixing about 10 drops of essential oil with your usual lotion, or a little bit of aloe vera gel.
Be sure to use a 10/90 ratio as a little bit of essential oil goes a long long way!
Here's a great recipe:
Make Your Own Natural Insect Repellent
Combine the following essential oils to make a natural insect repellent:
1/2 ounce citronella oil
1/4 ounce lavender oil
1/8 ounce pennyroyal oil
1/8 ounce tea tree oil
1/8 ounce jojoba oil
Do not use this blend undiluted on your skin. Follow these instructions for diluting:
To make an insect repellent oil that can be used on your body, add 16 ounces of jojoba or almond oil to the base oil mixture and blend thoroughly. For an insect repellent spray, add 16 ounces of vodka to the base oil mixture, pour into a spray bottle, and shake before using.