What is a good natural insect repellant


Hi, I have a problem which probably doesn’t sound big but is seriously getting me down and damaging my social life. Ever since I was about 16/17 whenever I seem to step onto grass flies follow me or hover over my head. It is particularly worse in the summer. I cannot seem to be able to go to the park without flies swarming all above my head and it is clearly recognizable to see. It has meant me making several excuses not to go to the park and sometimes it is impossible to get out of but its an embarrassing situation and one I’m desperately trying to solve. I use hair products which my friends use and ones that have been voted the best etc. I don’t smell any differently to anyone else and I just don’t know what to do to solve the problem. There is obviously some kind of smell I’m giving off but I don’t know how to fix this.


This sounds like a very pesky problem and the fact that it is inhibiting your ability to enjoy the outdoors is of particular concern.  It is possible that you are releasing some type of odor that is particularly attractive to insects, but the most likely culprit is your hair care products.  Many of the pleasant fragrances in hair care products are derived from or mimic smells in nature like flowers and plants. 

My best recommendation would be to try a natural insect repellant made from pure essential oils (see recipe below).  They are pleasant smelling to humans, but not so to insects.  Once formulated, you can apply a small amount to areas of your hair or apply on your temples or forehead.  It can also be mixed with water and put in a small spray bottle that you can carry with you to gently spritz your hair, head and cloths.  Not only should it help with the flies, it will also help to deter mosquitoes and other insect pests.  

Natural Insect Repellant (DO NOT take internally):

Combine the following essential oils:

  • 1/2 ounce citronella oil
  • 1/4 ounce lavender oil
  • 1/8 ounce pennyroyal oil
  • 1/8 ounce tea tree oil

Essential oils are not meant to be applied directly to the skin.  They must first be diluted to avoid irritation and rashes.  Mix the above blend with 14oz of a carrier oil such as almond or jojoba oil.  Once mixed with the carrier oil you can apply directly to the skin around your head, neck and temples.  Don't forget to apply a small amount to your hair as well.  To make a spray, combine with 14oz. of spring water.  I also advise you add 1-2oz of vodka.  The alcohol is a wonderful preservative and also acts as an additional insect deterrent. 

Additionally, there are antidotal reports (but no proven studies) that say taking vitamin B6 and vitamin B1 can help to ward off mosquitoes.  Although mosquitoes are not your primary problem it might be something to consider.  A good B50 complex will give you ample amounts of both of these vitamins and even if it does not ward off the flies at least you will be supporting your body with a great source of B-vitamins which are used by your body to produce energy and run important detoxification reactions in the liver. 


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As a certified and fully trained Naturopathic Doctor, Passero has trained and preceptored with some of the nation's leading doctors in the field of natural medicine, working under the guidance of MD’s, Chiropractors, Naturopaths and Acupuncturists. Furthermore, he is currently the Vice President of the Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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