Mosquitoes suck. They can completely ruin camping trips, cookouts, hiking trips, you name it. In peak season, they make it near impossible to enjoy outdoor activities (especially near water or at night).
And it’s not just the itchy welts they leave behind that’s an issue. They also can spread some pretty serious diseases including:
- Dengue fever (break bone fever)
- Yellow fever
- the infamous zika virus that has just arrived in the United States
So it’s really important to keep them off you as much as possible. For the sake of your sanity, and to avoid some nasty diseases.
The most popular way to keep these pests off you is to use a DEET-based bug spray. But it turns out, DEET isn’t very safe to use. That’s why it’s important to use a safer, natural alternative.
The Dangers of Using DEET
DEET-containing bug sprays are the most popular choice for a reason. It’s because DEET works.
But there’s a problem with DEET. It’s absorbed through your skin and from there it can cause some nasty side effects.
According to several studies, DEET has been found to cause a range of health issues such as
- Encephalopathy (a brain disease that causes personality changes and seizures)
- Skin irritation and rashes
- Large blisters
- Brain damage leading to insomnia and impaired cognitive functioning
In rare cases, DEET has been shown to cause death in a number of female children who unknowingly had particular a sex linked enzyme deficiency. It’s thought that female children with this deficiency are much more susceptible to the negative effects of DEET.
Even keeping these risks in mind, most people would rather take the risk with DEET opposed to potentially exposing themselves to a mosquito-borne disease. And I don’t blame them. I was one of these people too.
Until I realized there’s an effective natural alternative to DEET.
Fortunately, picking your poison is not the only option.
Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil as a Repellent
The truth is, there aren’t many effective natural substitutes for DEET out there. I’m sure if you Google “natural mosquito repellants” you would find a huge list of things to try.
Unfortunately, most natural mosquito repellants have shown to be completely ineffective.
But there’s one exception: lemon eucalyptus essential oil.
Lemon eucalyptus oil is thought to be one of the most powerful natural insect repellents on the market.
But how does it compare to DEET?
Surprisingly, lemon eucalyptus essential oil has been shown to work really well in comparison to DEET.
In fact, one study suggested that lemon eucalyptus oil gives better protection compared to DEET.
Since lemon eucalyptus has a significantly lower risk of negative side effects and it’s been shown to work really well, there’s no reason to use DEET over lemon eucalyptus oil.
But like most products out there, some are made right, while others are poorly made and don’t work at all.
Buying a Repellent With Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
You can avoid the use of DEET by either buying a repellent that contains lemon eucalyptus oil or you can make your own. Some people prefer to make their own because they know exactly what’s going in it while others who live a busy life prefer the ease of buying it.
Both are totally an ok decision as long as you do it right and pick the right products.
Baxter’s Natural’s Bug Banish
I really had to do some research to find this hidden gem. Most of the “natural” insect repellents containing lemon eucalyptus out there wouldn’t even list the other ingredients. So there’s no way of truly knowing if it’s safe to use.
When a company doesn’t disclose their ingredients, it always throws up a red flag for me. It’s just shady and that’s never good.
Baxter’s Natural’s bug repellent, on the other hand, tells you exactly what they put in their product. This kind of transparency is what I like to see in products.
That being said, the product doesn’t contain any fragrances, petroleum distillates, dyes, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, or other harmful chemicals—so this product gets the green light in my book.
It even contains several other natural ingredients that can help keep bugs at a distance.
You can even check the ingredients for yourself as they’re all listed on Amazon.
They’re not paying me in any way to promote their product. I’m just pointing out the highest quality product I could find, so you can buy a product without worrying about its safety.
Homemade Mosquito Repellant With Lemon Eucalyptus
Some people enjoy making their own products even though it takes more effort. And that’s completely fine.
For you motivated DIY’ers out there, here is a homemade natural bug spray recipe you can try to make your own:
- 1 Glass spray bottle (I get these on Amazon as well)
- 25 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil (make sure you get this kind)
- 4 oz. witch hazel or 2 oz. coconut oil (use oil if you’re going to be exposed to water)
That’s just the base of the recipe, beyond that I would recommend experimenting with 1 or more of these ingredients:
- 1 tsp real vanilla extract OR 6-8 drops peppermint essential oil
- You can also try adding some of the ingredients found in Baxter’s Natural’s bug spray such as lavender essential oil and/or atlas cedarwood essential oil.
- Mix the ingredients together in your glass spray bottle.
- Shake well before applying.
- Apply to clothes and exposed skin. Be careful to not spray in eyes.
Along with being a menace to every summer outdoor activity you have done, mosquitoes are a big threat to your health considering they can expose you to a number of serious diseases.
That’s why it’s important to keep them off you for the sake of your sanity and health.
But please, do yourself a favor and skip the DEET.
DEET is known to cause health complications ranging from skin irritations to seizures. If there were no other alternatives to DEET, then it would still be worth using.
Fortunately, lemon eucalyptus is a safer alternative that works just as well as DEET (perhaps better). So there’s no reason to take the health risk.