|Natural Insect Repellent—Safe for You, Safe for the Planet|
|Friday, 15 May 2015 00:00 | Written by Tonya Kay | Article|
I refuse to spray DEET or other insecticides or insect repellents on my precious skin. Or stand next to you while you're spraying it. People, what are you thinking? The labels have warnings, but we all should already know: DEET is a neurotoxin that "may cause" mental confusion, mood disturbances, seizures, loss of muscular control, paralysis and death by asphyxiation—which is why it's used as a pesticide. If you are trying to eat and grow organically, then why would you spray pesticides directly on your skin? Or next to someone you love? So what does a natural girl, who doesn't want to be bitten by mosquitoes in the great outdoors, do? Here's my guide to keeping insects at bay without harming yourself or the Earth.
Think Like a Mosquito
Timing Is Everything
Know the Triggers
If You Insist
A water-based spritz made of these ingredients is refreshingly indulgent—I put these same oils in my baths! But because this spray is so safe for human application, it must be applied every hour. It soaks into your body, after all. So enjoy spraying your exposed ankles, neck, hair and face every hour. It's actually quite nice.
If you want a spray that will last a little longer, and you are willing to accept that it will leave a bit of oil on your skin and possibly clothing, replace the 2 ounces of water in the recipe above with 1.5 ounces of water and ½ ounce of base oil (grapeseed, almond, jojoba, whichever is your favorite) and shake it well before spraying as needed.
Other insect-repelling essential oils that can be mixed to make your individually scented and repelling insect spray are:
Take into consideration whether or not you will be using this spritz in the sunlight. If you are creating a repellent for the daytime, avoid photosensitizing oils like lavender, cedarwood and lemongrass as they could increase your sensitivity to sunlight, causing early skin darkening or even burns. Use an online resource to research your particular oil if you want to make sure. And with all essential oils, patch test one drop of each oil at different times on the soft part of your elbow's inner crease to make sure you and that plant's oil get along. You'll know within the hour if there is an issue if you see any spots or bumps—or experience any irritation.
When traveling, I take a 2-ounce capped-glass spritzer bottle and five or six essential oils of my choice to make up a fresh batch of insect repellent as needed. The essential oils—along with Band-Aids, anti-inflammatories and New Skin—act as my exclusive first-aid kit. I use lavender oil to hand sanitize, diluted tea tree for deep cuts, chamomile on my temples to chill out, basil for physical pain relief, rosemary for muscular recuperation and small muscular strains, and carrot seed for facial-skin nourishment at night. This is the only kind of first-aid kit you actually look forward to using. It works for me. It will for you, too.
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