Are natural insect repellents effective?
Although studies show that products containing DEET are more effective over a longer period of time, repellents using natural ingredients are just as effective but you will just need to reapply more often. The most effective natural ingredient has been found to be Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Some other common essential oils that are good ingredients for mosquito repellents are: citronella, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, basil, clove, thyme, lemongrass, geranium, and lavender.
Why should you use a natural insect repellent on a baby or kid?
Despite the fact that there is little evidence that DEET can harm the nervous system, it is still a toxic chemical that can cause nasty side effects. It is not recommended at all for babies and at very small concentrations for kids. Why risk it? Most natural insect repellents are safe to use on babies.
So what is DEET and why do we not recommend it?
N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, also called DEET or diethyltoluamide, is the most common active ingredient in insect repellents (Wikipedia). It was developed in the US firstly as a farming pesticide and then later used by the US Army. From the use by the military in jungle warfare it was further developed as an insect repellent for civilians.H
DEET works by blocking substances in human sweat and breath so that insects (commonly mosquitoes) are deterred. There are different concentrations of DEET in products containing it on the market, the highest concentration is 100% but it is not recommended that you use 100%, or in fact need it. A product containing 20-30% DEET would be sufficient for more than half a day, and then you would need to reapply.
We do not recommend it, but if you decide to put a DEET product on your child, ensure that you do not spray them but put the product on your hands and rub it in. Do not get any on their hands as they may put their hands in their mouth and ingest it, or rub it in their eyes and cause an irritation.
We stock two natural insect repellent products – Lil’ Bit Shoo! Organic Insect Spray and Melvory Skincare Baby Bugs Off Natural Insect Repellent. Both are safe enough for babies.