Eco-friendly, Health

Botanical Mosquito Repellent: Spray, Apply or Wear it

Botanical Mosquito Repellent: Spray, Apply or Wear it

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These days mosquito repellents come in various interesting forms. You could either spray it on your skin, apply and rub into your skin or even stick those cute repellent patches on your shirt to ward off those mozzies. And right now, there are trendy repellent wristbands which could match with your personality, style or dressing. And one day, someone might just come up with an insect repellent shirt that repels any blood-sucking species.

You would really appreciate these innovative insect repellents especially after you have experienced those bitter moments where you were bitten by these 6-legged bugs and the bites left you itching all over. It’s a very uncomfortable experience if you were bitten and worse still, there’s a risk that you may get infected by whichever virus or disease these mosquitoes are carrying. Thankfully, there are ways to repel these mozzies by nobody enjoys spraying repellent on themselves, not especially a decade ago where repellents smell horrible with loads of chemicals. It’s like spraying insecticides on yourself. Not to mention that some repellents do contain DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide). It is an effective chemical in repelling many types of insects but is a skin irritant which can also cause breathing difficulties and burning eyes. What’s the safest way of repelling insects then? The answer, once again, lies in plants.

Natural ingredients like citronella, lemongrass, and peppermint are all known to ward off mosquitoes. And I’ve tried using products that contain either of these three ingredients and the most effective ingredient of all is citronella. It has a long protection time. However, it doesn’t smell very pleasant and the scent does linger on your skin for hours. Peppermint, on the other hand, smells great but it’s not as effective and it has a short protection time. Lemongrass is one of the better choices when it comes to repellent but it is not as potent as citronella and the protection time is short. So intuitively speaking, the best way is to combine all active botanical ingredients together in one bottle. Or perhaps there are other more effective natural ingredients out there?

Recently, I’ve got to know about this brand of repellent called Para’Kito  which produces an extensive range of mosquito repellent products that contains a unique blend of essential oils. Their products are made in France and are dermatologically tested. No animal testing is involved too. This eco-conscious company also uses recycled paper for their packaging and bio-sourced material from sugarcane to make their bottles. Although it was mentioned that their products are botanically derived, they did not explicitly list out the full ingredients list on their packaging or website. So is it natural or not?

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PARA’KITO™ Spray (SGD 26.80) (75ml)

This mosquito repellent spray lotion comes out as a non-sticky fine mist when sprayed onto the skin. It is free of alcohol, parabens, surfactants and preservatives. According to the label, it contains PMD rich botanic oil, p-menthane-3,8-diol (CAS 42822-86-6). Under European Chemicals Agency, it is classified as a biocidal product type 19. A quick google search reveals that this chemical (a.k.a menthoglycol) is found in small quantities in the essential oil obtains in the leaves of lemon Eucalyptus. This chemical is commonly found in insect repellents too. No wonder it smells rather pleasant and citrusy. But whether there are any other ingredients added into the bottle, it is still a mystery.

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The product did mention that it is safe for pregnant women including children and babies who are more than 6 months old. It was also tested against tiger mosquito or Aedes mosquito which significant vector for the transmission of viral pathogens like Zika and dengue fever. It also has a 8 hour complete protection time and is suitable to use in infested areas. To me, it does seem like a pretty strong repellent so is it that effective?

I remember one particular night where I had a mosquito that keeps buzzing around me, trying to find a perfect spot to bite me. So I grab my insect repellents which were placed by my bedside in case there are mozzies buzzing around me at night. I have been usually all-natural insect repellents. I reached out for the peppermint-infused repellent and sprayed it on myself. The mozzies were still buzzing around like nobody’s business. So I tried the bottle of organic lemongrass repellent and it still didn’t work. Then I decided to draw out Para’Kito repellent spray from my drawer after recalling that I’ve to review the product anyway and spray it on myself. No more buzz from the mozzies. They left. Effective? Super effective.

I wasn’t sure why the other repellents don’t work – perhaps their product shelf-life has come to an end and it is just not as effective as before. Nonetheless, this Para’Kito repellent is pretty potent and jungle-friendly. If you find your repellent can’t beat those wild mozzies in the jungle, try this one. I wish I had brought this along when I visited Awana Nature Park in Genting Malaysia.

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Para’Kito also has mosquito repellent that comes in various forms like this mosquito repellent roll-on.

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Para’Kito Roll-on Gel (SGD 26.80) (20ml) 

This comes in a more compact travel-friendly sized bottle with a strap which can be tied or looped to your bags.  Unlike the spray lotion, this one also has a short-term boost of up to 5 hours of protection only. The formula of this roll-on gel is different from the spray lotion because it smells very different. This roll-on gel contains lavandin, citronella, and geranium essential oils. The scent of citronella is quite prominent in this one but its acrid scent is dampened by the addition of lavandin and geranium which makes the overall formula smells a little sweeter and floral.

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This is a perfect size for travelling especially when you just want to use the insect repellent for preventive measures. And most importantly, it doesn’t stink!

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Another interesting product by Para’Kito is this repellent bands which you can wear it on your wrist.

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Para’Kito Band (Hawaiian Band) (SGD 26.80)

These wrist or ankle bands comes with two pellets of their proprietary essential oil formula. To use the band, you simply slot in the pellet into this small mesh pocket on the outside of the band. The scent release from the pellet will mask the scent of carbon dioxide which is released in your exhalations. Mosquitoes are attracted to the odor of carbon dioxide and when the scent is masked, it makes it difficult for the mosquitoes to locate you.

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These pellets emit a really strong scent and each pellet can last for 15 days.

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Mesh Pocket on the band allows you to slot in the heavily-scented pellet.

I’ve not tried out the bands yet but my concern is that the pellet might fall off the pocket since there is nothing to seal the opening. But the pellets has a hole on one end which allows it to be tied to your bag, keychain or the band itself.

These bands come in various colours and patterns. And it works great for those who have sensitive skin and might not want their skin to be in direct contact with the mosquito repellent.

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And if you got bitten, fret not. Para’Kito has an antidote for that as well. Their bite relief is my favourite among the other Para’Kito products.

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Para’Kito Bite Relief (SGD 15.20) (5ml)

I’ve tried using this a couple of times on my mozzie bites and the swelling always goes off in two hours after application. It is a gel-based product with plant extracts. Unlike the other products, their bite relief has a list of ingredients stated on their packaging. The main active ingredients are essential oils of Cade Wood, Himalayan Cedar, Virola and natural extracts of Aloe Vera, Calendula, Oats, and menthol.

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It is very effective in relieving bites from mosquitoes and other insects. However, it is quite costly for a tiny vial which contains only 5ml of product.

Have you tried any of these products before? Let me know in the comment section below.

For more information, you can visit their website.

You can also stand a chance to win their Spray lotion (worth $26.80) by taking part in their Facebook contest here. They’ve got 10 spray lotions to give away! Content ends on 15 February 2017.

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