The other night my husband and I went to a backyard barbecue and within minutes of getting there we were itching and swatting like crazy. It’s barely May but those pesky mosquitos are already out in full force! Although bugs and their bites are an inevitable part of summer, you don’t need a drugstore cream to relieve the itch. There are lots of readily available and inexpensive essential oils for bug bites. Either use them individually or combine several into a DIY bug bite spray to take care of the itch, swelling and pain quickly.
(Here are some of our favorite essential oils to repel bugs and prevent bites in the first place!)
Essential Oils for Bug Bites
By reducing inflammation, lemongrass helps reduce pain and calm the itch associated with insect bites. To use, mix 12 drops oils with a teaspoon of carrier oil and massage into skin.
Lavender is one of my favorite essential oils for bug bites. Not only is it inexpensive but you can use it for everything from homemade beauty products to sleep remedies, so I always keep some on hand for emergencies. It’s said to help stop bleeding while also being anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Unlike some other essential oils, lavender can be applied directly to the skin, so you don’t need to measure or mix with carrier oils. Simply apply a drop or two directly to bites for instant soothing.
Thanks to its antiseptic, anesthetic, and anti-inflammatory properties, camphor oil is ideal for treating even the worst insect bites. Camphor works by gently warming the skin and confusing pain receptors and nerve endings on the skin’s surface. For most people, 10 drops mixed with a ½ teaspoon of carrier oil should do the trick. But for a stronger warming effect, use less carrier oil or more essential oil.
Tea tree oil is amazing at both preventing bug bites and treating them after the fact. It contains natural anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce swelling, itching and redness of the skin. Like lavender oil, it’s safe to apply undiluted directly to bug bites for instant relief.
Rosemary oil has potent anti-inflammatory effects that help it to cool redness and irritation quickly. Since rosemary oil is highly concentrated, it shouldn’t be applied directly to skin. Instead, mix 5 drops with a teaspoon of carrier oil (like sweet almond or jojoba), then apply as needed.
Chamomile essential oil is often used for its soothing properties. It helps calm inflamed skin and provide astringent properties for more accelerated tissue healing. It’s also highly astringent and helps provide antibacterial support for irritated skin.
Peppermint (as well as other oils containing menthol) create a cooling sensation on the skin that helps soothe the burn and itch you often get with bites. Peppermint oil is also antimicrobial, which helps reduce the risk of infection associated with some bites. While it can be applied to skin without diluting first, some people might find the cooling sensation too strong. In that case you should mix it with the carrier oil of your choice.
While each of these oils works well by itself, I like to mix them into a soothing bug bite spray to take advantage of all their healing powers at once.
Essential Oil Bug Bite Spray
Yield 4 ounces
- Pour carrier oil and rose water into a small spray bottle.
- Add essential oils, then replace the lid and give it a good shake.
- Spritz 1-2 times directly on bug bites and massage into skin.