Summer is a very fun chunk of the year. There’s so much be enjoyed, yet there’s so much to also avoid.
Like sunburns, scorching hot temperatures, humidity and frizzy hair, underarm sweat marks, very oily skin and... bug bites. It’s hard to think of ways to combat all of these summer woes, so we’re here to make at least one of those annoyances a thing of the past.
Mosquitoes come out to play this time of year, whether we like it or not. Around water? Humid environments? It gets even worse. There are myths that claim mosquitoes are more attracted to certain color clothing or certain types of aromas and perfumes. Who knows if those theories are true. What we do know? You need a bug repellant all summer, and a natural insect repellant is a wiser choice than its chemical counterpart.
DEET, DEFINED: Chemical bug repellants contain DEET. DEET, also known as diethyltoluamide, is the chemical active ingredient in many bug repellants. It was created during World War II and used by the U.S. Army in jungle warfare, before becoming available to the general public. It works by distracting the odor receptors on mosquitoes’ antennae. When a mosquito is looking for a target to bite, it takes three things into account: body heat, carbon dioxide that we exhale and chemicals that the body naturally excretes through skin, like lactic acid. DEET makes mosquitoes’ receptors useless to these three things, effectively preventing them from biting. But, it’s a controversial chemical ingredient that some believe is not safe for humans and their skin.
So, why is it problematic? Studies have shown that mosquitoes have increasingly developed a resistance to the chemical, rendering it less effective. The studies suggest that DEET can repel an insect once, but once it’s exposed to the chemical a second time, they essentially ignore it. There have been reported symptoms of DEET toxicity in children. Some of these symptoms include lethargy, convulsions, headaches and tremors. Experts suggest that children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems avoid chemical bug repellants that include DEET, and to avoid it entirely on babies under six months old. It’s not safe for pets. Insect repellants are often used on pets, too. But the problem with this, and the use of chemical bug repellants, is the fact that pets lick their bodies and fur, and ingest whatever they’ve come in contact with. If ingested, DEET can cause serious side effects in pets that require professional treatment. Therefore, it’s wise to choose a natural bug repellant for your furry friends, too. DEET has been known to negatively affect the nervous system. A 2008 study from the Institute of Development Research in France found that DEET can interrupt the activity of enzymes that are necessary for the nervous system to function properly. They found that DEET blocked the enzyme “cholinesterase” that is responsible for transmitting messages from the brain to the muscles in insects. This led them to ponder whether prolonged use of DEET could have the same effect in mammals and humans.
DEET is an environmental contaminant. It breaks down very slowly in soil and it is commonly found in streams. The U.S. EPA even reports that DEET is “slightly toxic” to birds, fish and aquatic vertebrates and it doesn’t dissolve or mix well with water.
If you’re still on the fence and can’t quite choose between chemical or plant-based bug repellants, you’re likely going to find differing opinions as you conduct your own research. You’ll find opinions that claim DEET, a chemical, man-made conventional repellant is actually safe when used correctly. You’ll find that some believe DEET protects skin better than bug repellants made with plant-based ingredients. But because we believe in living a natural lifestyle and protecting our Earth as much as possible, we encourage natural alternatives to just about anything. Our All Natural Bug Spray is completely DEET-free; it is instead formulated with natural ingredients like citronella, peppermint, vanilla, and lemongrass to ward off insects. It’s safe for you, and safe for the environment. Citronella, one of the main ingredients in our bug spray, is identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a bio-pesticide, meaning it's totally safe for us to use and is non-toxic to our bodies. It's effective at repelling mosquitoes because it masks the scents on our skin that they are most attracted to. And, studies even show that when citronella is combined with vanillin, another ingredient in our bug spray, it becomes even more effective at warding off mosquitoes for up to three hours. It even has a pleasant smell that is much more tolerable than harsh chemical bug sprays. Try it for yourself.
Source: Nurture My Body (USA)