Summer as the best time of the year has a lot of advantages. The first association is to the Sun, the beach and holidays. Simply to most of the people it is associated with pure joy and pleasure. However, there are the party breakers – the mosquitoes. Fortunately, the advancement of the pharmacy industry has already leaded to developing an array of products that do work as mosquito repellents.
Most of these products are based on DEET as their active component. The moment you thought that the problem is solved, the facts show however, that there are many adverse effects. They appear mainly from their key ingredient the diethyltoluamide (also known as DEET). Not only that these products smell badly, but they also have many downfalls regarding the health and wellbeing. Regardless of the fact that studies show that most of the people do not appear to be sensitive to these products, there are many indicators that show the opposite. This is due to the fact that they have used it less frequently and in accordance with the instructions. Nonetheless, as many other chemicals, it can cause skin rashes and irritation, headaches, burning lips even difficulty to focus. Moreover, there are some recent research that point out that long and very frequent exposure to this chemical can even cause mood and behavior changes as well as brain cell death in some extreme cases.
Taking all these facts into consideration, researchers have found several alternatives in order to keep mosquitoes away and keep people away from the health risks connected to the use of this chemical.
Synthesized Plant Oils
On the one hand the synthesized plant oils are considered to be effective replacement for DEET. They are known as botanicals or plant based repellents, but still they are produced in an artificial way, thus they also are chemicals. The fact is that if produced organically without addition to enhancers and chemicals, they are not considered to have an effect on mosquitoes. One of the most popular synthesized plant oil is the Lemon Eucalyptus Oil. It was developed in the year 2000, but does not represent an essential oil only. It is derived from the amino acid alanine. It is very effective, thus it can be used in concentration of 30 percent. It can be successful in repelling mosquitoes up to eight hours. Despite the fact that it is botanic, and represents a safer variant compared to DEET, there are some registered cases of skin rashes and irritation especially with people with sensitive skin.
Natural (Nonsynthesized) Plant Oils
On the other hand, there are natural nonsynthesized oils such as peppermint, lavender, cedar, soybean, lemongrass etc. These are considered to be even safer option in comparison with DEET or synthesized oils. According to the latest research, when used these oils do not cause severe adverse effects. Yet, the use of some of these oils, such as citronella (which is actually extracted from lemongrass leaves), can cause skin and eye irritation. Conversely, there is no precise information in relation to the duration or effectiveness as mosquito repellents.
The third place goes to the picaridin which again is another chemical which has been developed lately. It has been proven that picaridin based products eliminate some of the DEET products based downfalls such as odor and greasiness. It is also safe when in contact with plastic or synthetics. Anyway, the fact that this is relatively new product and there are not many research about its adverse effects. So far, it is considered to be less harmful on a short term. There are no records of long-term side effects regarding specific health conditions yet.
Geraniol, which is also known as lemonol, represents a plant oil which is extracted from lemongrass. It is also the main ingredient of palmarosa oil, rose oil and citronella oil. Moreover it can be found in some roots and fruits such as lemon, orange, blueberries, carrot, coriander even in nutmeg. This ingredient has very pleasant aroma and is therefore used in the cosmetology. Plus it is used in the nutritive industry as a flavor agent. Moreover it is used in the tobacco industry to enhance and improve the flavor of cigarettes. In addition to all these uses, geraniol is proven to be highly effective as a mosquito and other insects repellent.
Citronella oil is extracted from the flower with the same name. It characterizes with a pleasant aroma thus it is also used in the perfume and cosmetics industry. Also, it is used for production of candles and various odor sprays. It is in the same family with the lemongrass so having the characteristic string of citrus aroma as well as the high content of geraniol as a main ingredient, makes it an extremely potent mosquito repellent. It can be applied onto the skin, or just as air freshener. Its only downfall is that it cannot beat the DEET in terms of effectiveness.
Speaking of many alternatives and options in the fight with the mosquitoes, we must pay special attention to its majesty – the vitamin B1. It is also referred to as thiamine and represents a vitamin needed for normal body function. Foods that contain Vitamin B1 are brown rice, eggs, liver, oatmeal, kale and asparagus. This vitamin has special effect onto human’s immunity function and coping with stress. How does it repel mosquitoes is the question of interest in this article. Well, it has the ability to influence on the smell that your body emits. When you consume vitamin B1, the body gets a certain yeasty smell which can be felt only by insects. Therefore they are repelled and you are free to enjoy the summery evenings out.
Finally, regarding all these pieces of advice we recommend you to make your own mosquito repellent which is based on natural ingredients only:
- 20 drops of tea tree oil
- 20 drops of Lavender oil
- 1 tablespoon of Witch hazel
- 8 oz. distilled water
First fill an 7.5 oz. spray bottle halfway with distilled water. Then add the other ingredients and shake well.
Use it as much as you need!