Are humans naturally mosquito repellent?

6 Answers
My morning routine is to wash my face, after I brush my hair, and before going out or doing other things. My skin is oily and it prevents it from breaking out. Yesterday, I thought I'd wait to wash my face, since I was going out in my yard to garden and might get dirty anyway, but mostly because I wanted to get out there early, before it warmed up and the mosquitoes got worse. I wore long pants and a T-shirt, and used no DEET. I was out longer than expected and my arms were getting attacked, but no mosquitoes were biting at, or even flying near, my face, as they usually do. I had washed my arms after doing another chore. My face was unwashed since the night before. Today, I went out again early to do the rest of my planting. I knew it was warmer today and the air more damp and still, so I sprayed some DEET on my bare arms to ward off some of the mosquitoes. I didn't put any on my again unwashed face. I usually put DEET on my cheeks, forehead, neck and chin (using the sprayed back of my hand) and then put up with mosquitoes trying to bite my eyes and ears. The mosquitoes again ignored my face! They were flying around my unsprayed gloved hands. Don't they like the smell of unclean human skin? Does the oil on my skin block my pores, and so block carbon dioxide emanations? What's up with these fastidious insects?

You may be eating something or taking a vitamin or herb that they do not like and more of this would remain in the oil you have not washed off. Taking B vitamins seems to make you less tasty to mosquitoes. The biggest attractant for mosquitoes is the breath you expel from your lungs. It is a mixture of carbon dioxide and octenol. Since humans expel this mixture, they are not repellant to mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can detect it from 100 feet away. Clogged pores would have no effect.

Many types of mosquitoes are attracted to the arms and legs first because they tend to be slightly cooler. Possibly the DEET is enough to repel them away and they ignore your face. Since your face is unwashed there would not be a scent on it that would attract them. I doubt your skin being oily on its own is what is repelling them. My skin is oily and I usually take a walk in the morning before taking my shower and the little pests always find me with no problem.


One of the world's great mysteries is that some people can hack their way through a rain forest and come out with no bug bites. Other people will come out screaming with bug bites and red welts all over them. Apparently, it has to do with body chemistry and you may be one of the lucky ones. I am not one of the lucky ones and mosquitoes find me quite delicious. I have to use DEET or Avon Skin So Soft, both products strongly disliked by mosquitoes.

Here are some more little known facts about mosquitoes:

- Pregnant women are far more likely to attract mosquitoes.
- If you're jogging and sweating, that makes it easier for mosquitoes to find you.
- Mosquitoes adore stinky feet so keep your socks on.
- If you're having a picnic which includes strong cheeses, this will draw mosquitoes.
- Dusk and dawn are their favorite feeding times.
- During a full moon, mosquitoes are 500 times more likely to bite.
- If you've been drinking beer, mosquitoes are going to love you.
- Mosquitoes are more drawn to someone wearing dark clothing.

I hope this helps. Thank you for your question.


Very interesting answers and, just due to my own experience, I would have to agree it has to do with your body chemistry. Mosquitos always seem to love my husband but rarely do I get a bite! Mind you, I'm not complaining, I tell him the "old wives tale" that it's because he has "sweet blood" - so maybe there is something to that after all! Meanwhile I will keep the Off handy!

PS for anyone who prefers a more natural repellent than your basic Off, you might like to try eucalyptus oil. Burts Bees brand has one and you can find this brand in many supermarkets.

Another thing I've heard of that people swear by, but I don't believe this is an all natural option, is Avon brand Skin-So-Soft lotion. It was not originally formulated for this reason, but again, many people still swear by it.


Usually, I am the one attacked. They certainly were biting my arms!

We have the Asian tiger mosquitoes here, since about 1990. Their favorite time to feed is ALWAYS.

On another mosquito question on Mybestanswer somebody said eating garlic keeps them away. I ate garlic for dinner before the first time my face wasn't attacked, but I had PB&J; for dinner the next night.

My sister is one of those never-gets-bit people. She has a different type of skin than I, maybe thicker, with no freckles and she tans instead of getting sunburned.

This is only May. I know that in a few weeks, with the population growth after all the rain, I will get eaten alive no matter how dirty I am and no matter how much Deep Woods Off I use.

Thanks for the interesting facts!


Ah! maybe it's the soap attracting the mosquitoes, and not the lack of it repelling them!

I use Ivory soap because I am allergic to many fragrances, and since they've started making smelly Ivory, the "original" sometimes has the scent of the others in it (they must use the same manufacturing equipment.) The package that I just opened this week has a vague annoying cucumber/men's deodorant smell, and maybe those buggers like it!

I guess it's DEET from here on out, since the weather warmed up. I always spray it on standing in the doorway, so the doorway gets some and the mosquitoes don't follow me back in the house. A few got in this week because I was trying not to use it. Two down, one (or more) to go.


Basically you are right. Mosquitoes don't like oily skin so they will stay away form your face since it is oily. Your arms and other parts of your body that are not really oily will be under attack all the time since mosquitoes love human flesh.

Since you can not put oil on your skin I suggest you to keep using DEET and that will keep the mosquitoes away from you. Evil mosquitoes are just there to mess with us so we need to kill them all.