Many commercial sunscreens contain stuff you really don’t want to be spraying on your little ones’ skin, but for most of us, it’s either use bug repellent in the summer or while away the warmest months inside. There are lots of safer bug sprays, lotions and balms out there, and the list of options can be overwhelming. This post should make it a bit easier to find one that’s easy on the skin and the wallet.
As with yesterday’s sunscreen post, for this list, I compared safe products listed in EWGs insect repellent database with Safe Mama’s 2012 Bug Repellent picks. To make Safe Mama’s list, products “had to be free of DEET, parabens, phthalates, PEG’s, Sulfates, Dioxanes, Propylene Glycols, and synthetic fragrances.”
Obviously, the EWG list and the Safe Mama list offer more options than the four I’m listing here, and everyone’s priorities are a little different. I encourage you to browse both lists to get an idea of what else is out there.
The four insect repellents that made the cut here earn a 0 or 1 “hazard” rating from EWG and had to be relatively easy to find locally or online. Also, they’re all $3.25 an ounce or less.
- Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent ($2/oz.)
- Badger Anti-Bug Shake & Spray ($3/oz.)
- Loving Naturals Insect Repellent Spray ($3.25/oz.)
- Purple Prairie Bug Stuff ($2/oz.)
But what if you leave your bug spray and need to stop and grab some? Is there a safe non-natural choice? In a pinch, Safe Mama recommends Cutter Natural Insect Repellent ($1.08/oz.).It does contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, but, she says, given “the fact that SLS is the only troublesome ingredient I think it would be ok for occasional use.”
I also found this recipe for a Safe Insect Repellent made from essential oils if you want to try DIY-ing it.