Try It or Skip It: Citronella Wristbands

Is this the new bug spray?

The Claim: Slip on one of these nontoxic wristbands and you won't need bug spray to keep mosquitos away.

Oz Says: If only it were that easy! Citronella isn't strong enough to ward off the bugs, and the wristbands are way too skimpy to keep them away, says entomologist Elmer Gray, a research faculty member at the University of Georgia's Department of Entomology. To fend off these insects, repellents must completely cover all skin that's exposed.

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So what to do if you're a mosquito magnet? DEET is the most effective repellent, says Gray. But if you want to try a plant-derived option at your next barbecue, products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus have the most research weight behind them, says Anandasankar Ray, Ph.D., of the University of California, Riverside's Department of Entomology.

Some of your attractiveness to these pests is genetic, but you can lower your appeal by laying off alcohol (mosquitos like it too!). Other bug-busting strategies: Avoid going outdoors at dusk or dawn when you're in mosquito-ridden areas, and cover up as much skin as possible with light- colored clothing. These pests can't bite through the cloth, and light colors absorb less heat, making it harder for them to sense you.

The Verdict: SKIP IT

This story originally appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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