As the Zika outbreak in Singapore continues to grow, sales of mosquito repellent products have seen a sharp spike over the past week. Commercial mosquito repellents tend to contain chemicals such as N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, or DEET, as it’s commonly known. While DEET is a registered pesticide, it can be absorbed through the skin and passed into the blood. Besides causing rashes, soreness, or blistering when applied to the skin, exposure to DEET has also been linked to neurological problems.
As local pharmacies across the island try to keep pace with demand, arranging for emergency deliveries of everything from mosquito repellent lotions and sprays to child-friendly bracelets and patches, we turn to nature for a more natural yet no less effective way to keep the mozzies at bay.
Below, the ingredients you'll need for a homemade mosquito repellent spray:
1. 25 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil
Along with neem and citronella, Lemon eucalyptus oil is a registered repellent with the EPA. Studies in the United States have shown that it is as effective in repelling mosquitoes as commercial mosquito spray containing low concentrations of DEET.
2. 60ml of witch hazel
- A natural astringent, witch hazel boasts anti-inflammatory properties, too.
3. 60ml of soybean oil
- As most plant essential oils are volatile, natural repellents are not able to last as long as chemical-based repellents after application. However, the duration and efficacy of plant essential oils can be increased by introducing soybean oil into the mix.
Simply mix all the ingredients above in a small 130ml spray bottle and shake well before each application.