My first camping trip was as a result of arm-twisting and blackmail by close friends in college. It was in a tented camp in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. While there is no doubt that the Shenandoah is a beautiful destination, I am a creature of comfort: 500 thread count sheets, my iPod, a dab of lavender essential oil on my pillow and a warm bath to wash away the fatigue of the day.
The outdoors do not accommodate any of this comforts. However, I found that I could live with everything else except the insect bites. One thing to note about the Shenandoah is its mosquito population. I was forewarned about the insects and my research landed me essential oils to prevent and mitigate insect bites.
Lemongrass is great for cleaning the bite and disinfecting it. This tall plant is better known in the culinary world especially in Asian food. Found in tropical and subtropical climates, lemongrass leaves produce lemongrass oil which is characterized by a strong lemon smell.
This oil has high levels of geraniol which effectively repel ants and mosquitoes. You can rub it onto the skin in a diluted form or spray it on.
- Buy the lemongrass in its pure, naturally occurring form and dilute it with water or rubbing alcohol. Test the diluted oil on a small part of your skin since concentrated lemongrass oil can cause skin irritation
- Light lemongrass candles or lamps like tea lights, torches and even lantern for wider outdoor spaces
- Use lemongrass oil in your cosmetics to repel mosquitoes
- Combine it with other insect repelling essential oils like eucalyptus for a more powerful repellent
If you do not have the oil, you can also use the stalk of the plant on the site of the bite.
Peppermint oil has wonderful soothing qualities. It needs to be applied immediately the bite occurs in order to minimize the urge to itch and prevent inflammation of the bite site.
It speeds up the healing process and also has repellent properties as well.
- Mix it with a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil to dilute it and apply it directly to your skin
- Mix it with your lotions and oils in order to repel mosquitoes
- Combine it with other insect repelling oils and spray it on your skin after every 5 hours
Peppermint oil is very friendly to the skin and may not need to be diluted. However, people with sensitive skin should dilute it according to the instructions on the bottle to prevent any irritation.
Basil oil relieves the constant need to itch at the site of insect bite. By alleviating the itching, it lessens the chances of inflammation and allows the healing process to begin.
- Dab it directly to the bite site immediately to alleviate itching
- Use it with other essential oils like rosemary to prevent inflammation or with eucalyptus to amplify the soothing effect
Basil oil is also another gentle essential oil that does not require dilution before use.
This tall native of Australia has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which allow it to reduce the swelling that comes with an insect bite while disinfecting the bite site as well. Tea tree oil not only repels mosquitoes, it also alleviates the discomfort of the bite when it occurs.
Considered one of the most effective essential oils in combating mosquitoes, this oil can be safely used on children and elderly people. Even in its pure form, it is not a skin irritant. However, it has a drying effect so it is best to dilute it with a carrier oil.
- Apply it to a cotton ball and dab it on the bite site
- Mix it with lavender to harness the soothing effect of lavender while disinfecting the bitten area
- Dilute it with water and witch hazel and spray directly onto your skin to repel insects
Generally considered a mild essential oil, lavender surprisingly has the ability to repel mosquitoes and other insects. It stops bleeding from constant itching and disinfects the bite site. It also facilitates the natural healing process.
- Dilute it and dab it directly onto the bite for immediate relief
- Mix it with other essential oils like tea tree oil to repel mosquitoes
- Sprinkle it onto your sheets to keep the mosquitoes away
- Spray the diluted form of the oil on your skin before going outdoors to repel insects
Since we are dealing with extra sensitive skin, the best essential oils to cater to the baby skin in case of mosquito bites are basil and lavender. Both oils are mild and have a soothing and calming effect. This is the first thing that the baby needs after the bite.
Despite their mild nature, these essential oils must be diluted before being administered topically on the baby. The lavender oil will disinfect the bite and begin the healing process while the basil oil will reduce the itch and prevent inflammation.
Diluting helps the oil to get absorbed better and eliminates chances of further irritation on the skin.
Essential oils for bite relief
- Tea tree
A healthy dab of peppermint will soothe the area immediately. Eucalyptus is also great for soothing the bite site although it can be as stringent as tea tree oil. Basil is the most gentle of the lot with the ability to take away the urge to itch completely. Thyme in its pure form can irritate the skin so it must be diluted. It is also used to soothe the discomfort of the bite and reduce inflammation.
- Tea tree
Strong in scent and action, eucalyptus and tea tree oils are powerful repellents that keep all manner of insects away. Spray or apply diluted forms of the oils onto your skin for this purpose. Lemon is also another strong scent that keeps mosquitoes away. In fact, lemon is a natural insecticide.
Essential oils for mosquito bite swelling
- Tea tree
The swelling experienced after a mosquito bite is usually result of itching and inflammation. Using basil immediately reduces the urge to itch and also prevents inflammation. Peppermint has a soothing effect that also reduces the urge to itch although it is not as gentle as basil. Lavender and rosemary both reduce the pain of the swelling and soothe the site.
This 3 variety pack oil gives you excellent options. All the oils are in 1 oz bottles and have the repellent power that lasts up to six hours. Each essential oil is 100% pure and is a natural extract. Apart from smelling great, each of these oils is a very effective mosquito repellent.
This 4-ounce pump spray has a cool refreshing scent that makes it easy to wear at all times. This product repels mosquitoes for up to 6 hours. It contains 30 % pure lemon eucalyptus which works effectively and is not a skin irritant.
The scent is lemony and is quite potent. It needs to be so to repel the mosquitoes and other insects. It allows you to sleep undisturbed because it stays active for hours.
Lavender is a beautifully scented essential oil that most people grow in their gardens. Even in plant form it repels mosquitoes and can also keep other insects at bay.
This product contains natural lavender extract among other essential oils and is effective for repelling mosquitoes on you and even your pets.
Peppermint is a natural insect repellent which has a cooling and soothing effect. This product is 100% natural, so it may cause irritation to the skin if not diluted before use.
You can dilute it using a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil or mix it in your cosmetics.
Make your own natural mosquito repellent
- 2 tbsp dried sage, rosemary, thyme, lavender, mint
- ½ glass of water
- ¼ glass of apple cider
Mix the apple cider vinegar and dried herbs in a large glass jar. Seal it tight and leave it in a cool place. Shake it every 2 days for 3 weeks. Strain the herbs and store the tincture in a cool dark place or even in the fridge.
Before use, dilute the portion with half a glass of water or until you find a mix that does not irritate your skin. Use as needed.
- Geranium oil, 30 drops
- Citronella oil, 30 drops
- Lemon eucalyptus oil, 20 drops
- Lavender oil, 20 drops
- Rosemary oil, 10 drops
- 1 tbsp of rubbing alcohol (or vodka)
- ½ cup of natural witch hazel
- ½ cup of vinegar
Mix all the essential oils in a spray bottle. Add the rubbing alcohol into the bottle and shake thoroughly. Pour the witch hazel into the mixture and add water.
Before use shake well each time as the water and oil separate when left to settle.
- 2 tbsps of witch hazel
- 2 tbsps of jojoba oil, grape seed oil, almond oil, olive oil, or neem oil (carrier oils)
- ½ teaspoon of rubbing alcohol
- 55 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil
- 15 drops of cedarwood oil
- 15 drops of lavender oil
- 15 drops of rosemary oil
Simply add 3 oz of the carrier oil to a spray bottle and mix in the essential oils and rubbing alcohol. Shake the mixture well and let it sit for few minutes.
You will have to shake the mix before each use since the ingredients tend to separate.
With the surge in Zika cases and the prevalence of malaria in certain climates, these natural options for mosquito repelling have become increasingly popular. The chemicals found in commercial options are unsafe for children and even adults in addition to being very harsh on the skin. Using essential oils to repel mosquitoes can be done topically and even from the garden around your home.
In fact, you could hedge your home with mosquito repelling plants.