Christmas has come and gone but the mossies have stayed! The whiny little critters drive us indoors as well as a little nuts! Some of us resort to coating our skin in chemical products every time we venture outside, or we can choose to gamble about as Mother Nature intended, repellent free, and accept that we’ll look, and feel, like a dartboard all summer long.
However there’s a surprisingly large body of research that shows some natural oils are just as effective at repelling insects as DEET – the harsh chemical used in most commercial bug sprays. The draw back is that natural oils need to be applied more often to maintain their effectiveness, but for many people this is a very small price to pay for long term good health.
Following are four natural oils that scientific studies have shown to be most effective at keeping the bugs at bay:
In 2005 a study conducted by the Faculty of Tropical Medicine at Mahidol University compared clove oil to citronella, patchouli and makaen oils and found that clove oil “gave the longest duration of 100% repellency (2–4 hours)” against three different species of mosquitoes. Clove oil’s effectiveness was shown to be just as potent as DEET, however it does need to be applied more often.
Eucalyptus oil is so effective it’s main active ingredient, a natural chemical called PMD, is one of only two non-DEET repellents endorsed by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. PMD is a similar repelling agent as that found in DEET, just a whole lot safer.
A study by Cornell University in the U.S. found that thyme oil was a ‘potent repellent’ to mosquitos providing 91 per cent protection for up to two hours The study also found that 90 per cent of mosquito larvae died when thyme oil was added to their water.
In 2013 a French study used video tracking of mosquitoes and stable flies to see how effective lemongrass was at repelling insects. The insects were put in a box with two receptacles containing blood – one had been treated with lemongrass and the other had not. 100 per cent of the insects fed on the untreated blood and all left the blood treated with lemongrass untouched.
Where can you get these oils?
You can hit the health food shops and stock up on all these oils, then apply them one by one, or alternatively you can buy a bottle of National Custom Compounding’s exclusive Mossie and Midgie oil Our Mossie and Midgie oil contains all the oils listed above, in the exactly the right ratios, as well as a few others like citrus oil, orange oil to give it a nicer smell and almond oil so it feels nicer on the skin.