Mosquito infestation brought about by the rainy season makes me crazy. Not only does it make me itch and scratch like crazy, which may lead to scarring of the skin; it also puts me at risk of getting dengue or malaria, which can be fatal.
The problem is not easily solved by using mosquito repellent as most repellents in the market have DEET as the effective ingredient. In fact, it can do more harm than good, especially when used on babies and children.
Duke University Medical Center pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia has spent 30 years researching the effects of pesticides. He has found that prolonged exposure to DEET can impair functioning in parts of the brain.
“Damage to these areas could result in problems with muscle coordination, muscle weakness, walking or even memory and cognition,” said Abou-Donia, who also warns against putting a product containing DEET on an infant’s or child’s skin. The side effects could be even more serious.
I did not just write this to scare you though; I have found an alternative. NatuRepel 100-percent natural insect repellent lotion is totally DEET-free and safe enough to use even for babies as early as six months old.
The effective ingredient is African Leleshwa oil, which is derived from the African Wild Sage plant common to Eastern Africa. Leleshwa oil is similar to tea tree oil in that it has great anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-acne and anti-dandruff properties.
A bonus is its cool, minty feel and scent, which may soothe sore muscles and headaches.
Beauty advantages are: 1) It does not have an offensive smell that will clash with one’s cologne. In fact the light, minty scent has the aromatic benefit of helping one relax and have a good night’s sleep, which is ideal for babies; 2) It comes in a cooling lotion/gel type of form so it does not feel sticky or hot; 3) Unlike DEET, it will not discolor your clothing, melt your nail polish or strip the varnish off wooden furniture; 4) It won’t cause rashes on sensitive skin. (But do not apply on broken irritated skin just the same.)
Downside: It is only available in Skin Station branches whose owner is the inventor. Check out www.skinstation.ph, or call 4039054 for inquiries. They have reasonably priced beauty services as well as their own formulated skin products, such as SPF 55 sunblock and whitening creams and lotions for body.
Make your own
You can actually make your own version of insect repellent with your own body lotion mixed with several drops of essential oils; in that way you can control the texture or scent.
One favorite source for fragrance oils is Zen Zest and The Body Shop. I get a shotglass-size of regular skin lotion that is SPF-free and put about six drops of essential oil such as lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint or tea tree, all of which have insect repellent and antiseptic properties as well.
Tip: Apply pure tea tree oil directly to the bite or sting several times a day with a Q-tip or cotton swab stick. It will soothe the itching and will leave feeling comfortable.
Are you a citrus scent lover? L’Occitane Verbena Sorbet Body Cream comes in a cooling gel form, a very fresh smelling and soothing body gel and effective insect repellent. Great as an after-sun treatment to soothe the burn, plus, it really works as a warm-day moisturizer in that it leaves skin silky soft. I buy the Verbena Shower gel and fragrance to keep the lemon grapefruit scent on as long as possible. It just smells so clean and energizing!