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NOW READING Top Natural Remedies For Healing Bug Bites
July 22, 2020

Top Natural Remedies For Healing Bug Bites

After being locked down for months, many of us are eager to be outdoors and enjoy summer as usual. Unfortunately, insects don’t seem to know they’re unwelcome at our gatherings. Apparently, mosquitos enjoy a good waterfront retreat as much as we do, and slower-moving fleas, spiders, and ants just show up unannounced and crash the party.


Raise your hand if this sounds familiar. You head to the lake or river with your sunscreen and friends for a nice weekend, only to spend your nights itching from head to toe thanks to nasty bug bites. While insects abound year-round, Melissa Haloossim, Board Certified Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Director/Co-Founder of Skin Thesis® explains that, “Insect bites are more common during the summer because people tend to be outside more.” Flea and spider bites are typical as are bee stings, so what’s an itch-sufferer to do?


Close up of a red mosquito bite on a person's arm, rubbing and scratching it outdoor in the park
Insect bites are more common during the summer because people tend to be outside more


Traditional Pain And Itch Relief


Despite the discomfort associated with bug bites or bee stings, there is no cure-all for treating them, so tackle one symptom at a time. If you’re dealing with a painful bee sting, oral pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help. Using an ice pack periodically can reduce swelling and applying hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion will stop the itching. Antihistamines, like Benadryl, also calm itching, but be sure to follow the directions.


Natural Remedies Worth Trying


Apple Cider – Apple cider has been praised for its ability to calm inflammation, but UCLA Associate Clinical Professor, M.D., and F.A.A.D. Glynis Ablon cautions that, “It can burn the skin if you’ve scratched the bug bite or have any broken skin.”


Aspirin or Baking Soda Paste – If you don’t want to take pain medication orally, you can also make a paste with one. Simply combine ground aspirin or baking soda with a little water, taking care to keep the consistency thick so it won’t drip, and apply it to the bite a few times a day.


Aloe Vera – Most people think of aloe vera when sunburn is the problem, but it can offer relief from bug bites as well. Haloossim and Ablon are both big fans of aloe vera, especially for its anti-inflammatory properties. Make sure to check the ingredients as some formulations contain alcohol, which can irritate the skin.



Beautytap Advisors (aestheticians, facialists, makeup artists, and beauty professionals) recommend this instantly skin-soothing mist.


Essential Oils – Many people report that essential oils, especially a two-layer combination of lavender and peppermint, calms the pain and itch associated with bug bites. According to Dr. Ablon, “You need to be careful and should avoid putting pure oil on a bite as it can make things worse. If you want to try chamomile or lemongrass [essential oils], which have known anti-inflammatory properties, make sure to dilute them significantly with [a carrier oil like] coconut.”


Beautytap Advisors (aestheticians, facialists, makeup artists, and beauty professionals) recommend this healing oil to soothe skin.


Know When to Seek Medical Help


In some cases, topical corticosteroid creams may be necessary. For most bug bites, though, home remedies make sense. Tick bites, however, can lead to Lyme disease, so visit the CDC’s website to learn more about ticks if you live and/or play in areas where they coexist. And if you’re experiencing dizziness or a severe allergic reaction, such as a swollen tongue, medical attention is recommended. “Significant pain or swelling and discoloration” should also be taken seriously, Ablon says. “I tell patients to mark the borders of the bite with a Sharpie. If the bite enlarges beyond the borders, see a doctor. There are a few true dermatologic emergencies that include spider bites that can be destructive and even deadly.”

Tracy is a "quality over quantity" word girl fascinated by eagles and life in a small SoCal mountain community. She believes in the now, has written professionally for 30+ years, and worships at the alters of serum and Sulwhasoo.




Thank you for sharing these tips! My mom actually got something similar to calamine lotion mixed up by her dermatologist that helped with redness and itch.


Happy to help! Now, I'm going to ask my dermatologist for something similar to what you described. Thank you for the tip!


Great info! I hate trying to resist the urge to scratch an itchy bug bite (mosquitoes seem to just LOVE me)! And I have never heard of these remedies before. I will definitely be trying them.


Happy to help! I taped a copy of the article inside our medicine chest for my hubby in case he gets bit/stung when "Nurse Tracy" isn't home. LOL.


Awesome sauce Tracy. As a person who seems to react adversely when bitten by anything, I have one trick which helps me, if I am not near any ACV, or baking soda, or Aloe. I carry a bottle of allergy eye drops. These in particular combat histamine, which can spike in the body when an allergen is introduced (aka bug bite). Just apply a few drops of the eye drops to the affected area and gently rub in. Within a few minutes you should see swelling, and redness decrease, at least enough to get home for the big ammo. Read more


Whoa! Thanks for the tip, pretty lady! I used to carry a Benadryl roller stick in my backpack (ex-hiker, here). I'm adding those allergy drops to my shopping cart now. 💋


I did not know about some of these, so I will have to try them. I grew up with the sharpie outlining the bite and thick baking soda paste. I have had bee stings, wasp stings, bad reactions to mosquito bites, and something in Puerto Rico that was happening a lot - but no one could identify the culprit. The unknown Puerto Rican bug, - something with fangs - was the worst, and my foot couldn't really fit in my shoe for a couple days. They also told us at the ER if you see a... Read more


Yikes! I would never have thought to use a Sharpie to mark a bite's development, which is why I'm so thankful for these experts' time and recommendations.


It is good and useful information. My dad has hacks for everything that most people don't know about lol.


Great suggestions! I love my garden, but bugs love me too. All these ingredients are so versatile & help in so many ways.


Aloe Vera is my favorite remedy for sunburns and bug bites. Having pale, sensitive skin has made me aware of these remedies mentioned above. They also come in handy with little ones!

On a side note- I don’t enjoy taking medication pills when I don’t have to. With that being said, I am a huge fan of the aspirin paste remedy as well!


Such practical tips. I have all of those things around my home! I will definitely try these suggestions.


Sometimes I forget how many great DIY remedies are in our kitchens and medicine cabinets. After writing this, I printed it out and taped it to the inside of our medicine cabinet, so my hubby can fix his ouchies when I'm not home.


I unfortunately was diagnosed with Lymes after many many months of mystery symptoms and it will affect me for the rest of my life. If there is one thing I advocate for, it's being super careful about bug bites! Up to a third of people don't see the typical rash associated with it and I never even knew I was bitten by a tick. Use bug spray and if you take a tick off of yourself, you can get that bug tested. Be careful everyone and I hope you're having a safe and healthy summer. XOXO


Oh no! My mom got Lyme Disease while walking on a mountain trail in Oregon years ago. Just like you, it took months for the doctors to diagnose her (some thought she had lupus). I had no idea ticks could be tested. That's great advice, Caitlyn. Here's the link to the CDC's page again in case you want to share it on your social pages: . Take care!


Thank you Tracy


Reading that someone would actually recommend putting peppermint oil directly on a bite made me gasp aloud. 😂


What a great article! Thanks everyone for the tips! Felt bad about the lady being bitten by fire ants (I got bit in past too.. they are big giant ants and even when u try to fling them off, they grab onto you for dear life!!), and being stung by a yellowjacket. I hope he is okay by now.


I'm glad you enjoyed it, Milly. My hubby's fine now, and I sure hope we make it through the rest of the summer without being stung again. Yellowjacket stings are awful.