Summer is here, and it’s time to play! The outdoors are definitely calling. But with summer comes having to deal with certain nuances like any other season. Here, I’m talking bug bites! As a person with very fair skin and prone to redness, think lobster red, you can really tell when something is off! Bug bites, rashes and burns are all synonymous with summer and I’ve had the pleasure of having experience with all of those. Yay me right? From first hand experience, I can tell you that essential oils are extremely helpful for all three. Here, I’ll be focusing on insect bites and how to repel them using essential oils.
I have relatively sensitive skin, more so in particular when it comes to bug bites. I’ve had many of those so called “relaxing vacations” where I tried to fill them with restful nights sleep, only having it turn out to be an “insomnia itchfest” due to my legs (oh my poor legs) becoming a buffet table for mosquitos. I learned later on that my love of sweet foods in the summer was causing higher carbon dioxide to be released from my sweat due to high glucose in my blood. Couple that with the fact that I had chronic inflammation from poor quality foods I used to eat and it was no wonder why my mosquito bites were always so painful! I mention this because essential oils are more effective when you practice a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Essential oils work by boosting the body’s natural abilities. So when you do get a mosquito bite, that itchy sensation is less intense and the swelling less severe, thus assisting your body to recover more quickly.
Previously, I used DEET, a powerful chemical used as the active ingredient in most commercial bug repellants which is not only toxic to animals and the environment, but also to human health. Essential oils work just as well, is safe for the environment and actually promotes human health! Making your own bug repellent is incredibly quick and easy to do. When you make it yourself, there’s no need to use other toxic ingredients like artificial fragrance, butane, ethanol, etc. You can safely and naturally repel insects with very basic ingredients using essential oils and distilled water, while still maintaining great health so you can enjoy your summer. I decided to make the switch to using essential oils years ago when I was living in tropical Singapore and it was the only bug repellent I could get my hands on. It worked beautifully and smelled much more pleasant than the chemical stuff. Significantly less bug bites later and I’ve never looked back!
You will be very tempted to use peppermint for everything during the summer, which is to say that it’s good at repelling bugs, but use sparingly. Peppermint can cause skin sensitivity if not diluted and/or exposed to harsh direct sunlight. Melaleuca is the way to go to repel bugs while providing a gentle coolness that is safe for sun exposure. Other essential oils that repel mozzies include lemongrass, geranium, arborvitae, eucalyptus, rosemary and cedarwood. But if you’ve already been bitten, Lavender, chamomile and frankincense with fresh aloe vera gel will relieve a heaty bug bite in no time!