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Citronella oil and lemon eucalyptus oil are essential oils that contain low concentrations of PMD. Oil of lemon eucalyptus, on the other hand, is a concentrated version of lemon eucalyptus oil that contains a much higher amount of PMD. While all will be effective at deterring bugs to some degree, oil of lemon eucalyptus is the most effective of the three.
Do note, however, that lemon eucalyptus is actually one of the scents bees are most attracted to, so if you’re in an area with bees, maybe skip the lemon eucalyptus spray.
It has almost no odor, doesn’t leave behind any residue, and is generally considered non-toxic and safe for both people and the environment. Picaridin is also considered a better option for children under 3 years old as essential oils can be too highly concentrated for their skin at that age.
Well, aside from being an extremely effective bug repellent, it’s also been known to melt plastics, cause short-term health effects like dizziness, headaches, and nausea, as well as long-term health effects like impaired neurological functions, muscle weakness, and tremors.
Luckily, most eco-friendly bug sprays are proud to be DEET-free and will have it written clearly on their labels so you know right away that you’re not getting any of that nasty stuff.
Also, keep in mind that bug spray tends to wear off faster if you’re sweating during summer hikes than if you’re just bird-watching on a cool day. Most natural bug sprays are not sweat-resistant, so be prepared to reapply often.
Aerosols also tend to release volatile organic compounds that can irritate your respiratory system and create ground-level ozone which is a large component of smog. So to avoid these unnecessary atmospheric pollutants, it’s best to go with plain old pump sprays.
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Premium Insect Repellent
Highly Effective, Long Lasting Bug Spray
12-Hour Mosquito, Tick, and Insect Repellent
Super Long-Lasting Against a Huge Range of Bugs
Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard + Picaridin
Moisturizes as It Protects
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent
A Little Goes a Long Way
Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
Long-Lasting Mosquito Repellant
Travel Size Bug Spray
Formulated to Be Safe for Your Little Ones
Health Buzz Away Extreme
Great for Forested Areas With Tons of Bugs
Turtle Moon Health
Nature's Cloak Insect Repellent
Travel-Sized Spray With a Long Shelf Life
DEET Free Lemon Eucalyptus Spray
Effective, Highly Concentrated Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus Spray
Anti-Bug Repellent Spray
Certified Organic Mosquito Repellent
However, some reviewers note that while this spray effective against mosquitos, it is less effective against other bugs. Reviewers like that the smell of the product is mild and it works well when gardening or in heavy-bug areas like in Southern Florida.
This travel-sized bug spray is gentle on the skin, non-greasy, cruelty-free, and is made of 100% essential oils. It's free of DEET, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and artificial dyes and fragrances. The ingredients are plant-based and completely safe and gentle for baby use.
However, note that this is a fairly small bottle and repellent itself needs to be reapplied pretty frequently. Reviewers say the product has a very strong lemon scent to it and the package does leak - be careful when packing it! Most reviewers say the product really works; many use it during camping trips and playdates outside in the summer.
Spray from about 6-8 inches away from your skin and spread it over your skin with your hands. Try not to go too heavy–more isn’t necessarily better with bug spray.
For your face and other sensitive areas, spray onto your hands first and rub it on with your fingers. There’s no need to get under your clothes, but don’t forget areas like your ankles, hands, and feet.
Thinking of going camping in the great outdoors? You'll be needing bug spray, of course, but there are a lot of other things you'll have to prepare, too. If you need help picking out the best products, then take a look at some of our other guides!
No. 1: Sawyer Products | Premium Insect Repellent | 4 oz.
No. 2: Natrapel | 12-Hour Mosquito, Tick, and Insect Repellent | 3.4 oz.
No. 3: Avon | Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard + Picaridin | 4 oz.
No. 4: Murphy’s Naturals | Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent | 4 oz.
No. 5: Repel | Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent | 4 oz.
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