Top positive review
1,926 people found this helpful
Exaggerated safety concerns with this product (and why your own oil might not work)
on July 21, 2014
Personally I find this product works very well and I'm happy to have something naturally derived instead of DEET. I understand why people looking for a natural product would like to know what it contains. The most likely reason for warnings about eye irritation and keeping away from flame is that it contains 45% ETHANOL. Have you ever sprayed vodka or isopropanol in your eye? It would be irritating. And yes, it's flammable. The company probably hasn't paid to test the product on children under 3, so they have to tell you not to apply it to them. And just like coca cola will not give you their formula, this company has their own recipe that they don't disclose for financial reasons. If the information isn't on the label, surely Amazon can't "require it" in the description.
**Questions about ingredients**
The material safety data sheet says it contains 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus (naturally derived) and 45% ethanol. The other ingredients are listed as a "buffer" so probably something to keep the pH at the right level. If you look at the Q&A on the Repel website, many many people have asked about specific ingredients and the company will give a yes or no answer. According to the website, the product does NOT contain: fragrances, petroleum distillates, dyes, formaldehyde, perfluorinated compounds, Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, BHA, Boric acid, Triclosan, Parabens, PEG, phthalates, urea, Quaternium-15, Propylene glycol, Butylene glycol, sulfates, soy, nuts, milk, eggs, or gluten.
**Here's the problem with buying your own lemon eucalyptus oil.**
Yes, the active ingredient comes directly from lemon eucalyptus citriodora oil. But in nature, the main component of the oil is citronellal and as the oil ages, that citronellal slowly turns into p-menthane-diol (PMD). PMD is the compound that is effective for repelling insects. This PMD is found only in small amounts in "young" oil, it must be harvested from older leaves/twigs and/or the citronellal is turned into PMD under mildly acidic conditions. You don't know how much PMD is in the aromatherapy oil you buy, so it might not be very effective.
I am not associated with this company at all. I am a scientist who also cares what I put on my body. I was ready to buy the essential oil rather than this spray but I can't be sure it has the right ingredients to repel insects. If someone comes out with an essential oil with a measured amount of PMD, I'd be all for it. For now I will stick to Repel, because I don't think it contains any unsafe ingredients and I know it will work.