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What Ingredients to Avoid in Bug Repellent

As summer approaches, the bugs start to come out so naturally you get out your bug spray. The chemical spray can be overwhelming and start to choke you. But that isn’t the only issue with common bug sprays. Do you know what’s really in your bug spray? Some of the chemicals in bug sprays are actually pretty dangerous. But what do you do? Some bugs can carry diseases, so you don’t want to get bit either! Let me help you find some natural ways to repel insects.

Here are the top chemicals to avoid in bug spray and other skin care products:

  1. Picaridin
  2. IR3535
  3. DEET
  4. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or the synthetic derivative PMD

DEET is one of the most common ingredients in bug sprays because it repels a number of dangerous bugs. Look for bug sprays with less than 30% DEET. Try to avoid the chemicals above or buy a product with a lower amount of these chemicals. Aim to keep it out of your eyes and wash your hands directly after use.

Why should you avoid these chemicals? They can cause skin irritation, hormone disruption and long term use could even damage your brain.

You can try natural bug repellants and essential oils that contain citronella, bay leaf, catnip, rosemary, rue, peppermint, coconut oil, eucalyptus oil, wild bergamot, basil, tea tree, lavender, cinnamon and garlic.

You can also buy plants that repel bugs naturally. These include citronella, horsemint, marigolds, ageratum and catnip. Try planting these plants in areas you spend a lot of time outdoors. You can also use citronella torches to keep the bugs away.

Try this DIY bug repellent:

  • Fill spray bottle with 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water
  • Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top
  • Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin
  • Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent (try some of the essential oils listed above)

Sadly, bug zappers and insect repellant bracelets aren’t very effective at avoiding bug bites. To further avoid bugs, wear long layers and avoid wearing sweet smelling body sprays or lotions when outdoors. They just attract the bugs. Also, drain any areas with sitting water because they attract mosquitos. Keep your lawn trimmed and clean to avoid bugs as well.

Do you avoid chemical bug sprays? What is your favorite type of bug spray? Share with us your story and your tips!

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing