Natural Insect Repellents and Bite Remedies
Mosquitos have been around since the Jurassic period, making them over 210 million years old. In that time they have perfected the ability to ruin BBQs, cause sleepless nights, and create days of itching. Whilst we find all mosquitos annoying, it is only the female mozzies that bite. They need blood to provide the protein for their eggs to develop – most of the time they are focused on gathering fruit and plant nectar.
Now you know a little bit more about the summer enemy, we are going to arm you with the best natural remedies for repelling mosquitos and midges and give you some good bite remedies if the worst happens.
Citronella is a natural essential oil distilled from an Asian grass (from the Cymbopogon species, Cymbopogon nardus usually) practically designed by mother nature herself to repel insects without the need for toxic chemicals. The main components of the oil are citronellal, citronellol and genariol. Citronella oil is also a kind way to fight off mosquitos as it doesn’t kill them but repels them instead.
We have a number of different ways you get use citronella to fight off mosquitos.
Having a citronella candle burning during the evening is a subtle and attractive way to ward off potential biters.
You could also use Citronella essential oil in a burning or diffuser, or add it to a base cream.
Finally, Incognito make a Citronella deodorant. This product is perfect for when you are out and about and you don’t want to worry about carrying additional sprays and lotions with you. And don’t worry, it smells great!
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Pharmacuetical companies have only recently recognised the brilliant properties of the Lemon Eucalyptus oil but it has been used from many years in China as a natural insect repellent. The oil of the lemon eucalyptus plant is the only plant-based treatment recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for mosquito protection.
Our best tip would be to add Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil to a base cream. This will give you up to 6 hours of protection against these airborne pests and provides similar levels of protection as lower concentrations of DEET.
If you are looking for a quick solution for your mosquito problem, the Incognito Anti-Mosquito Spray is probably your best bet. It uses a naturally derived, highly effective and safe ingredient called Citrepel 75™ and it outperforms DEET-based products in most tests. All insects will give you a wide berth!
If you want to make your own insect repellent, we created a blog post telling you how.
So that pesky mosquito has penetrated your defences, what can you do? Luckily, there are plenty of natural ways to ease your irritation and get the bite to heal nice and quickly.
First of all, whatever you do, don’t scratch. When you scratch a bite it causes your body to increase the production of histamine (which is the antibody released to fight the mosquito’s saliva) which means the bite will swell up even more. Itching only provides short-term relief; the best thing you can do first is to wash it with soap and cool water. You can take an anti-histamine to counteract the body’s over-zealous reaction to a mosquito bite.
After washing the bite there are a number of tricks you can use to reduce the swelling quickly.
Lavender Oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and can be applied topically to reduce redness and swelling. You can also use Tea Tree Oil for the same effect: Jason Purifying Tea Tree Soothing Gel is perfect from taking the edge off the itch.
Zap-it is perfect for treating your itchy bites on the move. Zap-it is a pocket sized device which when placed over the bite can inhibit the production of histamine. Simply click it 5 to 10 times and the itching will ease off. The great thing about this product is that it doesn’t require batteries and can be used on up to 1,000 bites.
Once the itching stops…
Once the itching dies away, you are often left with some unsightly marks where the mosquito administered its bite. You can promote your skin to heal by using Frankincense oil or Charcoal powder. Frankincense oil is best used when it is combined with a base cream and Charcoal powder is great when you add it to coconut oil. The coconut oil has the added benefit of having an amazing, summery smell!
Do you have any tips for fending off summer insects? Why not share them by adding them in the comments section below?
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