Natural Insect Repellents
Protect and Heal Your Skin from Insect Bites
Natural Insect Repellents are not only an important part of natural skincare, but can also be essential in the fight against diseases.
The first line of defense is prevention, as itchy bites can be unsightly on the skin, and simply being bitten can cause health problems.
Unfortunately many commercially available bug repellents contain harsh chemicals that will be absorbed through your skin.
But you also need your protection to be effective as the consequences of an insect bite can be significant.
How Much Protection Do You Need?
Several factors will play a part in whether an insect bite is just that, or whether it becomes a bigger deal.
WHERE YOU ARE
- if the area or country you are in carries the risk of serious illness such malaria or dengue fever, then you need to be full protected against insect bites. Even one bite could infect you with a disease.
- if where you are does not carry the risk of disease from insects such as mosquitoes, then you might not need as much protection.
- when you are in a place where hygiene is not as good as you are used to, then protection from any breaks in the skin is recommended to lessen your chance of infection.
YOUR GENERAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
- if your health is not as good as it should be then it is not worth getting bitten and risking a secondary skin infection or serious illness.
Nobody enjoys that irritating itchy feeling and it can be hard to resist scratching bites. But once you break the surface of your skin through scratching, not only will you increase the pain and discomfort, but you also run the risk of a skin infection.
There are many natural products that repel insects.
You can use them on your skin, or by creating an environment that keeps the bugs away.
Just remember that you want to have the best bug repellent you need, and that may require a combination of solutions.
TEST IT BEFORE YOU NEED IT!
I would also recommend testing out your bug repellent products before their use is absolutely essential. You may find that some products do not work as well for you as you need them too - and you don't really want to discover that at a time when you have no other options!
I remember being attacked by numerous mosquitoes when camping because we didn't have the right protection - my legs were a mass of welts the next day and it wasn't fun at all! Fortunately we were not in an area at risk of serious disease.
NATURAL INSECT REPELLENTS
ON YOUR SKIN
To make your own natural insect repellent cream, all you need to do is add a few drops of one of the Essential Oils below to your moisturizer.
Alternatively, you can add the Essential oil to a Carrier Oil and have a lovely natural, moisturizing skin oil as your bug repellent.
You might like to experiment a bit with combinations to give you the strength and fragrance that works best for you.
IN THE SURROUNDING ENVIRONMENT
Add a few drops of Essential Oil to water to create a spray.
Periodically spray around the area you are using, as well as in the air, particularly at critical times like dusk and dawn.
Add some Essential Oil to a burner - dilute as appropriate - and use as natural insect repellent in the area you are using.
Put a few drops of Essential Oil on strips of cloth and hang them around the area you are in.
Remember that very few Essential Oils should be used undiluted on the body.
THE BEST INSECT REPELLING ESSENTIAL OILS ARE:
GERANIUM - has a rich sweet aroma that is repellent to insects. It is widely used in perfumery and cosmetic production. Geranium also has anti-septic properties.
EUCALYPTUS - most of us are familiar with the distinct aroma of Eucalyptus which is often used in a vapor to ease breathing. This refreshing oil is also useful in repelling insects, is uplifting and invigorating, as well as anti-septic.
What to Buy - Prevention
There is a lot of choice out there and it can be hard to work out what is the best product for you.
Here is a selection of readily available essential oils that are good quality and good value for money.
You don't need to buy a large quantity at a time, especially as insect bites are usually only a problem during the warmer times of the year when we spend more time outdoors. It is better to use what you have each season, and then purchase fresh stock the following year.
Plus if an aroma really doesn't agree with you, you haven't spent a huge amount of money on a huge amount of oil!
SMOKE THEM OUT!
If you are lucky enough to be in an area where you can have an open outdoor fire, you could try burning a few dried herbs or leaves from the above list, to scent the smoke and keep the insects away. Just take care not to smoke everybody out or that will be just as bad as the insects!
If it is too late and you have already been bitten, then a natural insect repellent is still useful to prevent further bits, but you will also need to treat the bite.
To get some relief if you already have an insect bite, you can try these home remedies.
Please remember that some home remedies are not suitable for children, and should be used with care at all times.
Apply a drop of neat oil, either Chamomile or Lavender, directly to the bite.
Chill a strip of cotton cloth by soaking in iced water containing either Chamomile or Lavender drops. Lay the cloth over the bites for cool relief.
Apply Manuka Honey to the bite. Manuka Honey has anti-bacterial properties that can be helpful if the skin is open. Honey has long been recognised as having healing properties.
What to Buy - Healing
It is good to have some natural healing options on hand.
I find them particularly useful for children, and also to prevent the insect bite becoming unsightly and infected because it is bothering me.
To deter tics and fleas (not actually repel the pets themselves!) on your pets, add a few drops of Juniper Essential Oil when giving your pet a wash as a natural insect repellent added to the water.
You may be surprised to learn that Juniper oil is very easy to get hold of, and actually quite affordable.
Other Insects Around the Home
To keep silverfish out of clothing or linen you can place a few fresh bay leaves in the drawers, cupboards, bags or boxes.
Use a few sprigs of freshly bruised lemon thyme, or some whole cloves.
This is important to eliminate the spread of disease as well as those annoying red itchy lumps their bites leave.
Try natural insect repellent herbs such as pennyroyal (from the mint family), wormwood (a wild plant part of the daisy family), rue (often known as Herb of Grace), tansy (also known as mugwort) or winter savory.
These are effective in the home and for your pet areas too.
Basil is a natural fly deterrent. You can grow a pot on your kitchen windowsill during the summer.
Sprigs of mint or wormwood hung to dry will also help repel flies.
What to Buy - Other Insects
I always find prevention easier than dealing with a problem once it has already happened!
There is just so much work involved in cleaning up when you get a pest problem - have you ever seen how much mess one fly can make in one day???
As the seasons change, it is good to be prepared and have everything you need on hand.
You Don't Have To Do It All Yourself
There are lots of natural ready made products available to help you repel insects when you need a fast, easy option.
Here are some examples.
Go from Natural Insect Repellents to learn more about Skin Care Basics