Is Deet Dangerous? The Best Way Keep Bugs Away Naturally

DEET. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s effective. And it’s proudly displayed on the front of most insect repellents lining store shelves. But today we’re asking the question: Is DEET dangerous?

While DEET may be known as the most effective way to keep bugs away, is it safe? Sure, it works, but at what cost? More than just it’s $7 price tag, this active ingredient comes with more side effects than just a bug bite-free summer.

For some, DEET might be the first product you grab when packing for a family camping trip or it may even bring back memories of summers spent outside as a kid. Whatever your connection is to conventional insect repellents, we’re digging a bit deeper to uncover the dangers of DEET and the best ways to keep bugs away, naturally.

The dangers of DEET

While DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is one of the most popular ingredients for conventional insect repellents, simply put, it’s a pesticide. We don’t want pesticides on our plate, so why would we want to apply them to our skin?

Like we’ve mentioned multiple times on our blog, our bodies can handle occasional chemicals but when exposed consistently, disease + health conditions are more likely to occur. Not cool. People who use DEET regularly have reported experiencing symptoms including dizziness, difficulty concentrating, migraines and skin rashes.

Since our skin is brilliantly designed to absorb the products we apply, it’s essential to stick to ingredients that support your health, not contribute to toxic buildup in the body. According to some studies, up to 15% of DEET can be absorbed into the bloodstream. So when an ingredient (aka DEET) is linked to several health issues like respiratory issues, skin irritations, sensitivities, and in some serious cases, brain damage, we’ll stay away thank you very much.

Plus, after prolonged exposure to this pesticide product, not only have the dangers of DEET been proven to have harmful effects on the human body, but to our environment, wildlife and water as well.

And while the verdict is still out on the dangers of DEET (you can find differing opinions all over the internet on this topic), we believe that by avoiding this chemical at all costs, it will only help to promote a healthier lifestyle, prevent exposure to toxic buildup in the body – and of course, still help to prevent bug bites.

The best way to keep bugs away naturally

You don’t have to choose between pesky bugs or pesticides + chemicals. A plant-based defense system is possible to protect against painful bites and bug-borne illnesses.

Because of the dangers we discovered about DEET, we got serious about creating a natural alternative to keep bugs from biting. We’ve tapped into the power of nature to not only protect your family from synthetic pesticides + toxic chemicals found in conventional bug sprays, but from the potential of incurring serious sicknesses or diseases from mosquitoes, ticks and other insects.

Here are some of the potent essential oils in our Nature Spray that are proven to keep bugs away, naturally.

  • Citronella is a proven ingredient to protect against mosquitos bites and has been registered as a plant-based insect repellant in the US since 1948. It works similarly to DEET (masking the smell our bodies produce that attract insects) but without any negative side effects.
  • Lemongrass is a close cousin to Citronella and when blended together, these two oils work even better. This popular bug repellent is also used in outdoor candles (sounds like a fun DIY project for the fam!).
  • Cedarwood is incredibly effective against ants, ticks and other insects. It also helps protect your pets from bites!
  • Geranium helps to repel mosquitos + ticks and is a strong wound healer.
  • Peppermint and Rosemary combined create a smell that bugs can’t stand (but one that your family loves)!

Packing this all-natural alternative for your summer gatherings, outdoor picnics and camping trips will provide the protection you need – without any harmful side effects.

Still unsure if the power of nature can protect you + your family from pesky bugs? Check out what our community has to say about our 100% non-toxic insect repellent, Nature Spray:

“I’m very prone to mosquito bites, and this spray does an excellent job of keeping me bite-free with without toxic ingredients. Personally, I think the smell is light and fresh (a welcome change!!), and I know I can feel good about what’s going onto my family’s skin.” -Grace

“Our family had a recent trip to the mid-west and needed a non-toxic insect repellent. We have a nursing infant and a 3-year-old. We had no bites and no worries during our trip.” -Chelsea

“I just went hiking in Montana and sprayed this multiple times during my trip. I am happy to say that immediately after using it, it did the trick to keep those bugs off. My family end up using it and loved it as well. Definitely repurchasing this item.” -Philicia

“I took it to the movie in the park to try for the first time and shared it with some friends. Not only did everyone like the smell, none of us were attacked by bugs or ended up with any bites! So happy to find something that works and isn’t nasty chemicals!” -Courtney

Skin Tip: In addition to spraying a natural alternative to keep bugs away, protect skin with a cute scarf tied around your neck, pull up your socks just a bit and remember, a bandana always comes in handy. 🙂 Here’s to a fun and bug-free summer for you + your family!


Is DEET dangerous? We're digging a bit deeper to uncover the dangers of DEET and the best ways to keep bugs away, naturally. Click here to find out more! | Primally Pure Skincare

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Courtney O’Connor

Courtney Joy O’Connor is Primally Pure’s In-House Holistic Esthetician and Content Curator. Being in the beauty industry for over a decade, her experience + expertise with pure products, the healing power of touch and holistic skincare rituals are at the core of all she creates. She has trained extensively with industry experts across the country to offer her community the most educational content and transformative treatments. Courtney lives at the beach with her plant babies and loves road tripping, blending superfood bliss balls and exploring our big, beautiful world.