Due to a recent trip to Mexico, it was required by state regulations to use biodegradable sunscreen and insect repellent. This is a unique regulation created with the intention of better conserving the dense ecosystem and second largest coral reef in the world. Searching for an eco-friendly anti-bug product was essential, because no one likes bug bites, and more importantly, given some of the cases of Zika in Mexico (and now expanding into the USA), it is important to keep oneself as protected as possible.
Before opting to buy Skedattle online through Amazon, I went to several local stores, including some big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target, in an attempt to find biodegradable repellent options. The hard to believe, but true, finding was that no biodegradable options were available in any of these stores! I knew I did not want to get down to Mexico and pay the highly inflated prices, so I opted to choose one off the internet.
By going through Amazon, I was able to do some due diligence before purchasing, and based on reviews and price I felt this insect repellent was the most likely to work for me.
It should go without saying, Skedattle's bug repellent is specifically designed to be environmentally friendly and produced from natural elements. The fact that it says "BIO-DEGRADABLE" in big, bold text on the bottle made it easier to pull out if anyone would ask questions about it while in Mexico. Additionally, it notes that it is "specifically formulated to repel mosquitoes, fleas, chiggers, ticks & other biting insects." If the promise of the label is kept, this would seem to be the perfect insect repellent for my needs.
And to a certain extent, it does. With the muggy weather I experienced in Mexico, it can be hard to escape insect bites altogether. One difficulty with this spray is determining how much is really necessary to apply. The directions state to "apply heavily" to exposed body parts, and even to clothing for extra protection. Even when pretty well doused (as far as I could tell), there were moments where I feel like insects were not deterred. In other cases, it seemed to work quite well. I am not sure why this is, but it seems to imply that this spray is at least somewhat effective, though not entirely.
Another part of this analysis is the suggested time frame it is meant to last per application, which is 1-2 hours (and more "if necessary"). While many artificial insect repellents can last for 8, 12, or even 24 hours per application, the amount of times you need to constantly pull out this bottle and douse yourself can be quite significant. This was not always easy to do while walking through ancient Mayan ruins or while trying to enjoy a dip in the Caribbean Ocean. I am sure that many folks who are buying this insect repellent for the purpose of traveling to Mexico (and other countries with similar environmentally-friendly regulations) will experience similar results.
From what I have been reading, it seems to be that many organic insect repellents also come with similar challenges. As the chemical additives help to preserve regular bug sprays you may be used to are not present, this reduces the functionality. In most situations, this would not bother me so much, given that bug bites are just a part of the natural world and usually not much more than a mild irritation. The problem is the growing threat of the Zika virus, the health consequences that can arise from it, such as congenital birth defects (for those who are pregnant, or looking to become pregnant) like microcephaly. As a result, one of the key ways to avoid the Zika virus is to avoid mosquito bites. Of course, this is not always preventable, but certainly having a quality mosquito repellent should be the first line of defense.
In the case of Skedattle, I felt it worked, but not as well as a "regular" insect repellent. This is tough to say given that I would prefer an eco-friendly brand of repellent to replace some of the harsh and toxic chemicals. With all this said, Skedattle was likely better than not wearing bug repellent at all, but it comes with a number of caveats. In being honest, I did receive a number of bites throughout the week, usually around my hotel bungalow where there were a larger number of insects.
Now that I am back in Pennsylvania, I will not be using Skedattle as I generally do not wear insect repellent unless going into heavily wooded areas where the concern is more so of ticks and the Lyme disease they can spread. Fortunately, not all is lost, as Skedattle is made up primarily of water and essential oils it smells fantastic, and it will likely be finding use processed through an essential oil diffuser. I expect using it on my patio in conjunction with citronella candles will provide a nice, anti-bug environment.
If you want to give Skedattle a try yourself, feel free to buy through Amazon and support Plant-Smart Living in the process.
Note: This was written by a member of the PSL Team, not Farmer Fred as he did not take a vacation to Mexico! This was produced to share continued knowledge about a product tested in a real world application.