In this week’s TikTok news, app users are raving about a new beauty and health hack involving a reliable old perfume – Victoria’s Secret’s Bombshell.
Some savvy beauty enthusiasts think the lingerie brand’s signature scent doubles as an effective mosquito repellent, and, as do many of TikTok’s questionable suggestions, the idea took off. It makes sense that someone would want to avoid wearing insect repellent if they could. It doesn’t really smell good on its own, and having that scent clash with your perfume’s smells (and probably smells) even worse, but how effective is this new trend?
It’s unclear what caused the new life hack to go viral. Credit from certain points of sale TikTok user @absolument.lm, who shared a TikTok on July 2, 2022, expressing concern over the spread of a news article about mosquito-borne diseases and posting the “PSA” that not only Bombshell but Amber Romance have been scientifically proven to keep mosquitoes away” better than repellent. In the comments, she added, “If your perfume contains methyl dihydrojasmonate, chances are this video applies.”
However, @trinidad1967 shared the revelation on June 10, reporting that she had read elsewhere that the Bombshell scent repelled mosquitoes, and that it worked for her.
Neither user shared the scientific reports or papers they referenced in their videos, but, according to the chemical company Sigma–Aldrich, methyl dihydrojasmonate is a synthetic chemical “primarily used in perfumes, fragrance formulations, personal care and cosmetics”. It is derived from ingredients found in pine and/or rhododendron honey and smells like jasmine.
In 2015, an article by Quartz, which summarizes a study that may have first determined the effects of Bombshell on mosquitoes, has been cited by several publications, which may be the original source for this innovative suggestion. The article shared the results of a study published in the Journal of Insect Science, where researchers used Bombshell in an attempt to attract mosquitoes due to its floral scent and found it to be almost as effective as DEET in keeping them at bay. They did, however, note the high concentration of fragrance used in the experiment and cautioned that lower concentrations might not prove as effective.
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In 2018, a study was published in the National Library of Medicine comparing two different fragrances—Bombshell and Ivanka Trump eau de parfum and their strength against mosquitoes. They found that methyl dihydrojasmonate, along with an aromatic ingredient called lilial, activates the same odor receptors in mosquitoes as DEET.
However, these scientists cautioned against using fragrances as “off-label” repellents, especially when the end goal is to prevent disease transmission, as higher doses of repellent are usually needed.
Some TikTokers have had good luck repelling mosquitoes when they’ve tried the recommendation for the sole purpose of creating content, but ignoring proven repellents isn’t worth risking Zika, Malaria, West Nile, or doom. other diseases transmitted by mosquito bites.
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