Summer is here and the Mosquitos are rearing their tiny little heads!
For so many reasons I love to make our own cleaning, beauty and care products (In this post I list a few). One main one is health benefits. DIYing is a great quality control, I incorporate only ingredients that are healthy or benign in our body care products.
Most conventional mosquito repellents use DEET(N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) a chemical that is in hundreds of consumer-available mosquito repellents. Case reports of possible adverse health effects of DEET (from EPA website) described neurological effects (seizures, encephalopathy, tremor, slurred speech, and coma) most commonly following the ingestion of DEET or dermal applications not consistent with label directions. In many of these cases, the EPA concluded that data were not sufficient to define DEET as the cause of the reported effects.
DEET has been shown to cross the placenta in rabbits following dermal exposure but no measurable reproductive, embryotoxic, or teratogenic effects on offspring in one study of DEET injection in rats, and another study of DEET gavage (tube-feeding) in rats and rabbits.
With that, the EPA deems DEET safe for use on humans according to label directions and has found no threat to endangered species.
That isn't a very strong case against DEET, but the CDC has concluded that lemon eucalyptus essential oil is as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitos. And states products containing lemon eucalyptus oil as active ingredients typically provide reasonably long-lasting protection.
So we can formulate a salve/ balm/ spray containing essential oils that will be as effective and we get to put nourishing essential oils on our skin instead of a chemical? To me, that's no brainer. I choose the essential oils any day of the week.
Here is a super simple recipe for a salve that uses lemon essential oil as one of the main active ingredients.
Simple Mosquito Repellent Salve:
6 tbsp Shea butter
6 tsp coconut oil
10 drops vitamin e
40 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
20 drops geranium essential oil
6 drops lavender essential oil
Place all ingredients in a small bowl and blend together with a whisk or an emersion blender.
In the evening or night rub onto bare skin.
** Lemon eucalyptus oil is photosensitive so use on the skin only in the evening or night time.