The warm weather’s return causes many people to rejoice. However, insects also emerge from their winter lairs during this season, hungry and ready to feast on whatever repast they can find, including you.
Some bites are more than a mere itchy annoyance. According to the CDC, they can cause several forms of encephalitis and carry the West Nile and Zika viruses. Here are 11 natural mosquito-repelling ingredients you can easily add to your body lotions.
You’re probably familiar with citronella from the various candles and tiki torches lining your backyard. Guess what? You can use it in lotion, too. Simply mix a few drops of the essential oil with a carrier base like coconut oil and slather it on your skin. You can also use a traditional body lotion, but choose unscented for the best results.
Another application method involves adding a few drops to a spray bottle with some water. Don’t spray it directly on your skin. Instead, spritz it on your clothing and camping gear to keep pests at bay.
Cloves are another effective insect repellent. According to an article published by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, pure, undiluted clove essential oil repelled mosquitos for two to four hours. This spice has a rich, earthy aroma instead of a flowery one.
Have you noticed sugar ants on your kitchen counters? They can’t stand the scent of clove. Place some nontoxic clove essential oil around the perimeter and they should scurry off to friendlier locations. Moths and flies also detest the scent. Hang a cheesecloth bag containing a few raw cloves around outdoor lighting fixtures or where these pests tend to congregate.
Eucalyptus is another excellent choice for those who don’t enjoy weighing themselves down with heavy floral scents. You can find several species of this plant — look for the lemon eucalyptus oil from the Corymbia citriodora plant for best results. One study found it 97% effective at repelling mosquitos for four hours.
Here’s a plant that does double-duty. Mosquitoes hate lavender essential oil, so prevent them from feasting on your flesh by mixing a few drops in an unscented body lotion. This plant also has well-known relaxing effects. Make this your go-to application to soothe your nerves if you’re anxiety-prone, inhaling the aroma to activate brain receptors that induce a sense of calm.
Sage has a pleasant, light scent. When you mix it with your body lotion, you might not detect much aroma but mosquitos will. The ancients believed burning sage could cleanse an area of lingering evil spirits. If you’re superstitious, adding it to your lotions could help keep malicious entities at bay.
Lemongrass has a light, clean scent — it’s almost soapy in its aroma and is perfect for folks who prefer to smell shower-fresh. This herb also has relaxing properties. Try a blend by mixing a few drops of this essential oil with lavender in your carrier base.
Tea tree essential oil has a forest-like scent — it’s perfect for your next camping trip. This stuff also has potent antimicrobial properties, killing many bacteria, viruses and fungi. Researchers found tea tree oil effective in killing the viruses that cause influenza and pneumonia. It also destroys E. coli. Adding a few drops to your hand sanitizer can increase its efficacy.
Mint is another excellent insect repellent, and you may love the fragrance. The active ingredient acts as a biocide to destroy insects.
Basil is a member of the mint family. However, you won’t get quite the fragrance boost as you do with peppermint or spearmint. Try this essential oil if you don’t like scents lingering on your skin.
Geraniums come in many varieties. However, much like eucalyptus, the lemon variety is best for repelling mosquitoes.
You might cherish cedar for its moth-repellent properties, making it a popular wood for closets and furniture. It also keeps mosquitoes at bay. Best of all, it has a rugged scent that won’t offend the sensibilities of the “manly men” in your family circle.
Protecting yourself from insect bites isn’t a vanity measure. Some bugs do more than produce an itchy rash — they carry various diseases they communicate to humans. Keep your family safer this summer the natural way. Add these mosquito-repelling ingredients to your body lotions for bite-free and soft skin.
About the Author
Mia is a health and wellness writer and the Editor In Chief at Body + Mind. She specifically enjoys writing about women’s fitness, as well as mental health-related topics. When she’s not writing, Mia can usually be found reading poetry, taking a dance or cardio class, or hiking.