Monday, June 30, 2014

What's Bugging You?

Shortly after I posted about making deodorant on Facebook a friend messaged me to see if I had any suggestions for Deet free bug spray.  I did!  Sometimes I surprise myself with these things.  First, I suggested what I had been using for quite some time. Before going to Tanzania (at least 7? years ago), a notoriously buggy (and by buggy, I mean malaria carrying mosquito) place, I purchased a 4 oz. bottle of Kiss My Face Brand "Swy Flotter."  It has literally lasted since then.  I think I just don't often apply bug spray.  But I have found it to be effective and it is Deet free.  Upon closer inspection of the bottle recently, I noticed it does have one particularly nasty ingredient...parabens.  What are parabens?  Well, actually I don't know.  But I DO know they are carcinogenic and I try to avoid known cancer causing agents at all costs.  But, for the sake of argument, let's find out what parabens ARE.  This pretty well sums it up, yes?  So, parabens are preservatives that prevent the growth of microbes in cosmetics.

You guys.  This is where I stopped writing for a bit and did a LOT more reading.  Prior to this, I really didn't know what parabens were, just that they were BAD and I should avoid products with parabens in the ingredient list.  But you know what else is bad?  Microbes.  It's one thing for me to decide to use products with natural ingredients, but if I'm telling other people about the good reasons to do so, I want to make sure I'm giving you all the facts.  I got very nervous here as I don't want to create a bug spray that gets you sick.  That would be bad.  So, then I learned more about anti-microbials and I'm feeling confident again.  Even a little angered that if the following ingredients I was already planning to use ARE anti-microbial (just like parabens, only not linked directly to cancer) then WHY aren't they being more widely used?

So, besides parabens, what else is anti-microbial?

  • Witch Hazel
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Rosemary Oil
  • Lemongrass Oil
  • Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
  • Vanilla Extract
Right, just about every ingredient in this recipe for bug spray.  So, we're good.  I'm also planning to use boiled water as an added precaution.  The real question then is, if all of these natural oils ARE anti-microbial, why are parabens still being used?  All that said, I do NOT suggest holding on to this bug spray for 7 years.  In fact, my doing so even with a paraben laden product is probably questionable.  I am planning to label these for the 2014 summer season with the suggestion to discard (or send your bottle in for a refill for the following buggy/summer season) at the end of summer.

Hey look at that!!  Apparently, Kiss My Face HAS made some progress in the last 7 years as this photo from the interwebs indicates that Swy Flotter is now paraben free!  #winning

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