We are usually susceptible to mosquito bites due to a combination of smells, light, heat and humidity. If you’re a mosquito magnet, chances are you’re fed up with rough, itchy skin. Different mosquito species prefer bacteria and sweat. Others are attracted to carbon dioxide and certain hand odors.
No matter what species you encounter, you can protect yourself without having to use a chemical repellent. Chemicals can cause health and environmental problems. You can avoid using these products unless you are traveling to places where the risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika is high. If you’re going on activities like a hike, a walk in your yard, or a camping trip, natural repellents might be a better option. This is especially true for children who are more sensitive.
The 9 Most Effective Natural Mosquito Repellents
1. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Lemon eucalyptus oil has been used since the 1940s and is one of the most well-known natural repellents. A recent study showed that a blend of 32% lemon eucalyptus oil provided over 95% protection against mosquitoes for three hours.
do it yourself
You can make your own blend of 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil and 10 parts sunflower or witch hazel oil.
Crushed lavender flowers produce a scent and oil that may repel mosquitoes. In addition, lavender has analgesic, antifungal, and antiseptic properties. This means that not only does it prevent mosquito bites, but it can also calm and soothe the skin.
do it yourself
You can grow lavender in an outdoor garden or in indoor planters. Mash the flowers and apply the oil to sting-prone areas like ankles and arms. Also, drip some lavender oil on a clean cloth and rub it into the skin.
3. Cinnamon Oil
Cinnamon isn’t just a great addition to applesauce or oatmeal. According to a study conducted in Taiwan, cinnamon oil can kill mosquito eggs. It can also act as a repellent against adult mosquitoes, including the Asian tiger mosquito.
do it yourself
For a diluted 1% solution, mix 1/4 teaspoon (or 24 drops) of oil with 20ml of water. You can spray the liquid on your skin or clothing, around your home, and on upholstery or plants. Be careful when applying cinnamon oil as a concentrated dose can irritate your skin.
4. Thyme Oil
When it comes to repelling mosquitoes, thyme oil is one of the best repellents. In an animal study, 5% thyme oil applied to the skin of hairless mice offered 91% protection. You can also throw thyme leaves in a campfire. Research shows that burning thyme leaves provides 85% protection for 60-90 minutes.
do it yourself
For a homemade infusion, combine 4 drops of thyme oil with each teaspoon of a carrier oil, such as olive or jojoba oil. Mix 5 drops of thyme oil with 10 ml of water for a spray.
5. Catnip Oil
Nepeta parnassica, a member of the mint family related to catnip, can repel mosquitoes. One study found that the plant’s oil can effectively repel mosquitoes for two to three hours. Catnip is 10 times more effective than chemical repellents at repelling mosquitoes.
6 . lemongrass
Lemongrass is a widely used, natural and effective essential oil that is effective against mosquitoes. Made from a blend of herbs, it is used in many mosquito repellents. Outdoors, citronella candles can provide up to 50% more protection. Research shows that the formulation of lemongrass is important to its effectiveness. When properly formulated, the product is as effective as chemical repellents and can protect you for up to two hours. If the formula isn’t right, the citronella can evaporate quickly, leaving you exposed.
7. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, or Melaleuca oil, is a popular essential oil native to Australia. This oil is known for its antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. However, recent studies also suggest that tea tree oil may be an effective insect repellent. Repellents with tea tree oil are effective against mosquitoes, flies and mosquitoes.
Geraniol is a type of alcohol used as a fragrance or flavoring. It comes from vegetable oils like citronella, citronella and rose. As an ingredient in mosquito repellents, it has been known to work for two to four hours, depending on the species. Keep it away from your eyes and avoid using it if you have sensitive skin. Geraniol can cause eye and skin irritation.
9. Neem Oil
Although neem oil is promoted as a natural alternative, results have been mixed as to its effectiveness. A recent study on the effectiveness of neem oil found that it offered over 70% protection for three hours. Neem oil is not approved as a topical repellent because it can cause skin irritation.
Essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin. They are always diluted in a carrier oil such as almond oil. The recipe is usually 3-5 drops of essential oil to 1 part carrier oil.
An allergic reaction to the active ingredients in essential oils is also possible. Before using any new product, do a spot test on a small area of your skin and wait an hour or two to make sure there are no hives or burning sensations.
treat mosquito bites
Even with mosquito repellents, you can get painful and itchy mosquito bites. To treat mosquito bites at home, you can try rubbing apple cider vinegar on the bite site. Placing a slice of raw onion or freshly chopped garlic on the bite can also relieve and prevent infection. If you develop an infection or allergic reaction from a large number of mosquito bites, make note of your symptoms and contact your doctor. A high temperature, pus or bleeding at the bite site, or scabs that won’t go away can be signs of a problem.
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Choi, WS, Park, BS, Ku, SK, & Lee, SE (2002). Repellent activities of essential oils and monoterpenes against Culex pipiens pallens. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 18(4), 348-351
Frances, SP, Rigby, LM, & Chow, WK (2014, March). Comparative laboratory and field evaluation of repellent formulations containing DEET and lemon eucalyptus oil against mosquitoes in Queensland, Australia. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 30(1), 65-67
Gkinis G, Michaelakis A, Koliopoulos G, Ioannou E, Tzakou O, & Roussis V (2014). Evaluation of the repellent effects of Nepeta parnassica extract, essential oil and its main nepetalactone metabolite against mosquitoes. Journal of Parasitology Research, 113(3), 1127-1134
Greive, KA, Staton, JA, Miller, PF, Peters, BA, & Oppenheim, VMJ (2010, February 16). Development of Melaleuca oils as effective natural insect repellents for personal use. Southern Entomology, 49(1), 40-48
Maiia, MF, & Moore, SJ (2011, March 15). Herbal insect repellents: An overview of their efficacy development and testing. Malaria Journal, 10(1), p11
Peterson, CJ, & Coates, JR (2011, December 13). Catnip essential oil and its nepetalactone isomers as mosquito repellents. ACS Symposium Series, 1090, 59-65
Phasomkusolsil, S., & Soonwera, M. (2011, September). Efficacy of plant essential oils as insecticides against Aedes aegypti (Linn.), Culex quinquefasciatus (Say), and Anopheles dirus (Peyton and Harrison). The Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, 42(5), 1083-1092
* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.
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