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How to make a natural insect repellent - tips from Vegan Fox

On natural remedies to fight insect bites

How to make a natural insect repellent? The summer heat has awakened all living creatures - ladybirds, grasshoppers, bees and other swarming and buzzing creatures that bring joy to all nature lovers. And yet, along with the good bugs, various insects have also woken up - including mosquitoes, gnats and mites - which not only tend to spoil the mood, but even make many people want to avoid the great outdoors.

Although bites can be extremely unpleasant, most of the redness and swelling they cause is not permanent. Besides - summer is too short to spoil the fun!

Also, insect repellents are so varied on the shelves that it seems it should not be a problem. From insect repellent candles to products that can be sprayed on skin and clothes. And yet, I always think it is important to remember that the skin is our largest organ. And everything that comes into contact with our skin, in the long term, also comes into contact with our body. 

Of course, it is extremely difficult to avoid all chemicals in the environment. But I think it is important to be conscious of the products we use every day - especially those that end up on our skin and are not washed off immediately. 

Harmful substances in antiseptics

When used according to the instructions on the packaging, most insect repellents do not pose significant risks. However, some of the most popular ingredients in insect repellents can irritate the skin and pose environmental health risks.

For example, when protecting your skin from insect bites and choosing products to buy in the shop, avoid the following ingredients:

  • Diethyltoluamide - This is one of the most commonly used chemicals in insect repellents. It is considered safe to use in small doses and yet, at concentrations greater than 50%, diethyltoluamide can cause skin irritation.
  • Permethrin - affects the nervous system of insects, but information on effects on humans is mixed. Inhalation of permethrin is known to irritate the nose, throat and lungs, and its use can cause headaches, fatigue, dizziness. At the same time, it is classified as a non-toxic or moderately toxic pesticide, depending on its composition.
  • P-menthane-3,8-diol - In some cases, frequent skin contact with this substance may cause skin irritation - redness, swelling.

It is important to note that most of these substances are tested on animals during the research process to check for possible allergies and other health risks. When choosing skincare products, it is extremely important for me to know that they have been created ethically and in an environmentally and animal-friendly way. I believe that if you are reading this, you must feel the same way!  

5 essential oils for a homemade antiseptic

Homemade antiseptic - how easy is it to make? And what needs to be in the ingredients to make it not only effective, but also safe - for you and for the environment? You'll know that essential oils not only have a pleasant aroma, but also a number of practical uses. One of them is that they help repel unwanted insects.  

Of course, essential oils are quite concentrated, so it's important to make sure you don't have an allergic reaction at the same time. So, for example, apply just a little oil to your skin and observe your body's reaction for a few days.

Which essential oil scents help fight ticks, mosquitoes and other biting insects?

  • Rosemary oil not only helps boost energy but also repels insects;
  • Thyme essential oil - it appears to have outperformed even diethyltoluamide in some studies;
  • Lemongrass essential oil - use on skin, clothes or in a diffuser. Incidentally, this scent is also often used in antiseptic candles;
  • Sage essential oil - antibacterial, mood-boosting and helps you avoid insects;
  • Lavender essential oil - used in aromatherapy, teas and other applications, it relaxes, improves sleep and repels flies, mosquitoes and ticks.

Use one of these oils or find your own combination. Fill a spray bottle with, for example, 20 drops of lemongrass essential oil, 20 drops of lavender essential oil, 20 drops of rosemary essential oil or any other oil you like, add water and a tablespoon of alcohol - this will help keep the spray fresh and fragrant for longer.

That's it - your natural insect repellent is ready!

I wish you an airy and warm summer!

In love,

Maija Rieksta-Riekstiņa
Vegan Fox manager and creator