"Lemon eucalyptus oil [active ingredient: p-menthane 3,8-diol (PMD)],
a plant- based repellent, is also registered with EPA. In two recent scientific publications, when lemon eucalyptus eucalyptus was tested against mosquitoes found in the U.S, it provided protection similar to repellents with low concentrations of DEET".
DEET is sold in sprays and lotions with concentrations up to 100 percent! It is the ingredient that stains your clothing and leaves a yellow film on your skin (in some cases). While DEET is generally deemed safe to use, at higher concentration, DEET becomes unsafe for children, pregnant ladies and those with sensitive skin and respiratory problems. DEET should not be inhaled and even more importantly, DEET should not be applied more than once a day.
The most serious concerns with DEET are neurological issues. A Duke University research found that lab animals exposed to the equivalent doses of DEET exposed to human, performed far worse than untreated animals. Children with DEET toxicity reported lethargy, headaches, tremors, involuntary movements and convulsions.
Before you reach out for that next bottle of DEET spray or lotion, consider the following natural essential oils / options:
- Lemon eucalyptus
- Rose geranium
Why I do not recommend Citronella?
Although natural, citronella oil needs to be reapplied every 30-60 minutes to be continuously effective. Perhaps the reason citronella does not work for most of us lies in its chemical composition. The 3 primary components of Citronella is citronellol, citronellal, and geraniol. Researchers have found that in most citronella sold in the marketplace, there is only about 10% citronellol and 35% geraniol. In fact, most citronella oil were found to be 95% identical to commercial rose geranium. So go figure!