Hey folks, so this months installment of Wellbeing news relates to a more practical problem than normal - one that most of us face in the warmer summer months: insect bites
I guess the subject of insect, midge and mozzie bites is playing on my mind a little more than usual as we're celebrating a joint 50th/18th birthday and a 20th anniversary next year with a trip to Thailand for our family. It's been nearly 25 years since I backpacked around Asia, and the memory of pungent Deet infused sprays and Tiger Balm lingers.
So for those of you who are heading to warmer climes, or off to Scotland/Canada/the Lake District (or wherever) to get ravaged by midges, mozzies and critters this blog post is tailor made for you!
The key to dealing with insect bites is to deter them from biting you in the first place. Apart from the obvious (cover up with lightweight clothing, especially ankle socks in early evening for mosquitos) there are plenty of natural solutions out there that can be easily used to help in the deterrent battle.
Easily available from most health stores and a cheap oil to buy, this is probably the most well known oil used to deter things that fly and bite. Add a few drops to a burner or atomiser, or, if you're travelling and don't have a burner or atomiser to hand, add a few drops to a bowl of hot water and place near open windows / balconies / on outside tables to keep them at bay. Also add a couple of drops to clothing to deter them from coming near you. Avoid placing directly on the skin as this oil can be an irritant, instead make up either of the spray/oil blends (see below for recipe)
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Another easily available and cheap essential oil - you can use this in exactly the same way as you would Citronella (a few drops in a burner/atomiser/bowl of hot water near open windows; a couple of drops on clothing etc) Also avoid placing directly on the skin as this oil can be an irritant
Peppermint Essential Oil
Avoid directly undiluted application to the skin as this is another irritant, and use as described above.
Eucalyptus (Lemon) Citridora Essential Oil
Also easily available and relatively cheap. This much gentler oil than those listed above is an efficent detterent for flying insects. The oil contains a high content of citronellal - the same chemical component found in high quantities in Citronella essential oil, but unlike Citronella doesn't have the same risk of skin sensitisation. However, still avoid direct contact with the skin and use blended with a base (either spray or oil - see recipes below)
Anti-Bite Essential Oil Blend
This makes a 10ml bottle of pure blended essential oils, small enough to take with you when travelling
80 drops Citronella
40 drops Peppermint
40 drops Eucalyptus (lemon) Citriodora
40 drops Lemongrass
You can use this blend neat in burners and atomisers (approx 6 drops), on tissues placed near your bed at night (approx 2 drops), on dark clothing (approx 1 drop on cuffs, sleeves, socks etc)
Anti-Bite Body Oil
Start applying this blend a few days before you leave for hols and use daily while away. You will need a 50ml glass bottle, and will need to dilute the concentrated essential oil blend described above using the following method:
- Take 50ml of base oil (e.g organic olive oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil)
- add appox 15 drops of the essential oil blend to your chosen base oil. Pour into your 50ml bottle of oil.
- If you have sensitive skin, use sparingly and test a patch on your inside elbow before applying to the entire body / exposed areas of skin
This recipe allows you to make a spray that you can apply topically to your skin for evening or daytime protection (patch test first if you have sensitive skin). You can also use this spray to spritz the air / environment around you to deter the biters from coming near.
You will need a 100ml bottle
- Pour 10ml of high proof alcohol e.g vodka into a small jug (the alcohol allows the essential oils to disperse into the water base)
- Add 40 drops of the essential oil blend detailed above to the alcohol and mix together
- Add the combined alcohol / oils to 90ml of boiled and cooled, or distilled water
- Spritz onto skin for a protective layer, or spritz around you and onto clothing. Avoid the face.
Good luck with the biters this summer, and as always if you have any questions, get in touch