Summer means lots of fun, and for most people, a lot of time outdoors. Unfortunately, it also means a lot of bugs! Bug bites will make you want to scratch away at them for relief, but in reality this only leads to more pain and the potential risk of infection. Thankfully, we’ve come up with a list of the best essential oils for bug bites that can help give you some natural relief!
The 5 Best Essential Oils for Bug Bites
Native to Australia, tea tree is famous in traditional medicine for its many healing properties and benefits. Tea tree acts as a natural antihistamine, helping to reduce symptoms of allergies and itching, which make it one of the best essential oils for bug bites. Studies indicate that using tea tree oil for bug bites can also help reduce swelling, which can be another side-effect of bites. It also offers antibacterial properties, which can help prevent further infection, particularly if the bite becomes an open wound through scratching.
One of the most common over the counter treatments for bug bites is hydrocortisone cream. It is a steroid cream, and is highly effective at treating symptoms of bug bites such as itching and swelling. However, a study done on chamomile essential oil in comparison to cortisone cream found chamomile to be even more effective! Patients using chamomile saw an increase in healing as well as a reduction in itching and redness.
Lavender is famous for its calm and soothing effects on both the mind and the skin. Current research shows us that it can actually speed up the wound healing process, particularly in the early stages. Lavender also contains antibacterial properties, which means using lavender oil for bug bites can help keep your bites from becoming infected. Studies also indicate that lavender oil is effective at repelling mosquitoes. Try creating your own bug spray with lavender oil and witch hazel to prevent bites in the first place!
Peppermint essential oil is one of the best essential oils for bug bites due to its cooling properties. Mint oils contain menthol, which is one of the most powerful analgesics in nature. This means using peppermint oil for bug bites can help dull pain and itching, while the cooling sensation will help relieve the heat that occurs due to inflammation.
Similar to peppermint essential oil, eucalyptus oil offers the same cooling effect. This will help relieve pain and itching, while also helping minor wounds to heal. Also native to Australia, eucalyptus contains eucalyptol, which is an ingredient in many over the counter medications. It is also an anti-inflammatory agent, which means it can help reduce swelling and redness.
Essential Oils to Avoid
While we recommend using cooling oils, such as peppermint oil for bug bites, we advise against using warming oils. This includes cinnamon oil, ginger oil, even oregano oil. These oils may increase heat and swelling in the area.
Using Essential Oils for Itchy Bug Bites: The Best Methods
Now that you know what essential oil is good for bug bites, it is time to learn how best to use them!
Essential oils require dilution before applying directly to skin. This is easy to do when making a spray. When you are balancing out your dilution you want to use 2-3 drops of essential oil with equal amounts of a carrier oil, such as coconut. Use this measurement for every ounce of water you use. Before spraying, shake the bottle well to combine and then apply directly to bites.
If you’ve just come back from camping only to discover your entire body is covered in mosquito bites, then you might want to hop in the bath! Add 5-10 drops of the best essential oils for bug bites to an equal amount of carrier oil. Mix into water once the bath is full, to achieve the best effect. If you’re trying to beat the heat you can even use this technique for a cooling foot soak—just use less!
Follow the same method of adding 3-5 drops of essential oil to an ounce of carrier oil. You can also use any base lotions and creams you wish to. Then apply this directly to the bug bites, using either clean hands or a cotton bud.
DIY Bug Bite Salve
- 3 tbsp Sweet Almond Oil
- 1 tbsp Aloe Vera
- 15 Drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 5 Drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
- 4 Drops of Chamomile Essential Oil
Combine all ingredients together in a glass jar, and store in a cool, dry place. Shake before using.
Though the internet might tell you otherwise, avoid putting essential oils in direct contact with your skin. They are very potent, and many oils can cause burning or other types of irritation. This can be very painful, especially if you try to put raw oil on top of a bug bite! You always need to dilute essential oils first, following reputable guidelines such as those put forth by the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists. You should also never use essential oil internally, so it is necessary to keep them well away from animals and small children.
When it comes to bug bites themselves, it is important to be aware of when it is necessary to seek medical attention. If you believe you may have been bitten by something venomous, you should seek help right away. Additionally, any bug bites that don’t seem to be improving, or look as though they are potentially infected should be looked at. Try to wear appropriate protective clothing and spray when going outdoors if you suspect there is a risk of bug bites!
As much as we hate to admit it, bug bites are often an unwelcome part of spending time outdoors. However, we hope our list of the best essential oils for bug bites can help offer some relief! If you have a minor bug bite that is irritating you, try one of these essential oils for itchy bug bites to help reduce itching, scratching, swelling, and redness. When going outdoors, try to protect yourself with bug spray and protective clothing. If you believe you have been bit by something venomous, seek medical attention as soon as possible. The same goes if you have bug bites that begin to look infected, or if you start having other symptoms such as fever or dizziness.