“There is no need for topical steroids, calamine lotion or Benadryl,” says dermatologist Keira L. Barr, MD, founder and head of wellness at the Resilient Health Institute. “Just look in your kitchen for a little skin relief for bug bites.”
Whether you want to take a bath for bug bites or dab with some solutions that you have already hidden in your cupboards (such as witch hazel, tea tree oil or baking soda), we have covered you. Continue reading about six skin-approved home remedies for itchy and swollen insect bites.
What you need to know before trying home remedies for bug bites
Before diving into home remedies for small bug bites that cause itching and swelling, it is important to note that there are some bites that may require more serious medical attention. While mosquito bites are usually easily recognizable as itchy, red bumps on your skin, there are others that can be more serious. For example, tick bites – which can leave an indicative “bull-eye” rash behind – can also transmit Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, depending on the type of tick. In addition, if your bug bite is accompanied by fever, swelling, or joint pain, seek medical attention immediately instead of seeking natural remedies.
There are a few things you can do to prevent insects from feasting on your sweet flesh. Cover (especially your arms and legs) when you are out for a walk or hike to prevent ticks, mosquitoes and fleas and always remember to wear bug sprays. Citronella candles and portable fans when sitting outside are also a good choice.
That said, sometimes bugs just love to bite … so here are some reliable home remedies for bug bites that really work, according to experts.
5 home remedies for bug bites that promise quick relief from itching
1. Oat bath for bug bites
Do you know how oatmeal baths are necessary when you come in contact with poison ivy? It’s also a soothing – and super relaxing! – way to help with bug bites. Especially if you have them all over your body.
“Colloidal oatmeal is just oatmeal that has been ground and boiled to extract its healing properties,” says Barr. “Oatmeal is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and lipids. It is anti-inflammatory with benefits for relieving itching, helps to repair the skin barrier, moisturizes the skin and reduces inflammation to soothe irritated and irritated skin. for any reason. ” So slip into a bath with oatmeal for bug bites and feel the relief of rinsing you off (a well-intended pun) almost immediately.
2. Baking soda for bug bites
Rubbing baking soda on bug bites is probably not something you want to do before you go out for the day, but it is the perfect home remedy for bug bites when you have a few hours of relaxation. “Add a few drops of water to a little baking soda, mix it into a paste, apply it directly to bug bites and let it dry,” says Barr. “The alkalinity of baking soda can help neutralize the pH of an infected area and reduce itching.”
3. Witch hazel for bug bites
Witch hazel is known to magically cleanse pimples, and it is also great to have it available for itching, according to Barr. Simply apply a small amount of witch hazel extract directly to the skin with a cotton ball or dilute it in a transfer oil – such as coconut or jojoba – to create a cream that can help with itching, irritation and inflammation.
“The witch hazel is a species of plant native to North America and its bark, branches and leaves are rich in polyphenols and tannins, which are added to water or alcohol to produce a concentrated product called witch hazel extract,” explains Barr. . “While tannins give witch hazel its astringent properties — removing fat from the skin and killing bacteria in our pores, making it ideal for acne treatment, polyphenols, including proanthocyanidins, provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.” reduce inflammation and accelerate healing. “
4. Tea tree oil for bug bites
Like witch hazel, tea tree oil is famous for its acne-fighting properties, but it can also be extremely soothing for itchy bites. Just apply a few drops (plus a transfer oil) on a cotton ball or pad and then dab on the bite.
5. Frozen popcorn kernels, peas or ice cubes for bug bites
It turns out that anything cold is your BFF when it comes to getting rid of itching. “Ice cubes or an iced bag of peas or popcorn kernels can be a surprisingly effective treatment for mosquito bites,” says Barr. “Ice numbs the area and helps control swelling. Wrap the cubes in a towel and squeeze your bites for 10 minutes or as long as you can tolerate.”
6. Organic tea bags for bug bites
These tea bags in your cupboard can be used for much more than a hot and cold drink.
“Chamomile, calendula and green tea offer anti-inflammatory benefits,” says Barr. “Green tea is rich in polyphenols called catechins, which help reduce irritation, redness and swelling. In addition to polyphenols, the tea’s natural tannins act as astringents, removing toxins from the skin and helping to reduce your discomfort. “Just squeeze a used tea bag against your bites until the itching subsides.”
This story was originally published on June 19, 2019. Updated June 1, 2022.
For even more relief, check out these essential oils that can help soothe itching. While you are at it, also find out which essential oils are best for relieving inflammation.
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