I know, I know - I'm skeptical too. I usually base decisions on logic and science wherever possible, but every now and then - like everyone else - I'm driven by emotion. I WANT this to be true. And there seems to be some scientific consensus that mosquitoes, for some reason, don't like compounds derived from coconut oil.
I came across a post at Kidspot, an Australian publication, extolling the virtues of a seemingly magical lotion by the name of "Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Body Lotion". Parents were ranting raving about it as a way to prevent bites from mosquitos and other insects. Comments included "Someone else knows your secret weapon." "I happened to have this Palmer's coconut lotion and just tested it out for a half hour watering garden. I usually get nailed, not one bite. Good potential" another reader added. More anecdotal than scientific, right? But wait, there's more.
Mosquitoreviews.com (what, you don't have this one bookmarked?) concludes: "Broadly speaking, individuals looking for a safe and effective method of applying their favorite essential oil-based insect repellent should keep a jar of coconut oil readily available."
In 2018 USDA research reached a rather astonishing conclusion: "Compounds derived from coconut oil are better than DEET at repelling blood-sucking insects." Most insecticides contain DEET, which can trigger allergic reactions, including rashes, disorientation, even seizures.
USA Today, not prone to conspiracy theories or snake oil, had a post that caught my eye: "Lead researcher Junwei Zhu notes that compounds extracted from coconut oil – not the oil itself – were found as an effective repellent, according to a USDA release. "Coconut oil itself is not a repellent," the release says.
So there may be something here, something worth testing the next time you go camping or boating or just want to sit out on the deck without becoming a human pin-cushion. My take: I like a good experiment. For me it's worth $8.49 for 13.5 ounces of Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Body Lotion to test my theory. As always, your results may vary.
And if this is all a dud and I'm eaten alive, at least my pockmarked, coconut-flavored skin will look glowing and radiant!