In order to ward off mosquito bites as the number of denge fever cases is on the increase in Singapore, many families have turned to a daily usage of DEET based repellents. A constant exposure to such product is not advisable. Natural alternatives to DEET, made primarily from plant essential oils, can protect you in less threatening circumstances. Although these natural products might not be as effective or lasting as DEET, they do provide good protection, in a natural way.
Essential oils tested in laboratories to be effective against different species of mosquitoes include oils with high content of citral and citronellal (plants of the Cymbopogon family -citronella, lemongrass, palmarosa- and may chang), eugenol (clove and cinnamon), E-methyl-cinnamate (cinnamon), geranial (geranium Bourbon; rose geranium) and 1,8 cineole (eucalyptus). While essential oils of clove and cinnamon should not be applied to the skin, they can be used in diffusers either alone or within a pleasing blend. Other oils listed above can be applied on the skin, however diluted, either in jojoba oil or other carrier oils (jojoba does not leave greasy after feel on the skin) in a proportion of maximum 3 drops of essential oil to 5ml of jojoba/carrier oil (for application to the face, a ratio of maximum 2 drops of essential oil to 5ml is recommended).