Essential oils for insect bites can be very effective when used correctly. These naturally derived oils target inflammation and itching, providing relief from insect bites. The oils can reduce the temptation to scratch, which can prevent infections. This is because constantly scratching an insect bite can open a wound that allows bacteria to enter the body. Essential oils can help heal insect bites in several ways. The following oils can help speed healing and reduce itching after an insect bite.
Some information on essential oils for insect bites:
It is crucial to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, such as a vegetable oil.
Antimicrobial essential oils can reduce the risk of developing an infection.
Anti-inflammatory oils can change the way the body reacts to insect bites and reduce itching.
People with allergic reactions should avoid essential oils. Essential oils can trigger an asthma attack in some people.
7 Oils to use
Peppermint oil can help relieve burning and itching from insect bites. Any insect bite can become infected, especially if it is scratched or if it leaves an open wound, as some bites do. In people who have a mild skin reaction – such as mosquito and ant bites – these oils may be beneficial. Always mix essential oil with a carrier oil and do not apply it directly to the skin.
1 Peppermint and menthol oils
Peppermint oils create a cooling sensation on the skin. This can help the burning, stinging, and itching sensations caused by bites or stings. Research suggests that peppermint oil may act as an antimicrobial, reducing the risk of infection associated with certain bites. Do not apply peppermint oil to broken skin, as it may burn or make it worse. Use only on mosquito bites and other mild sources of irritation.
2 Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil can help prevent bacteria and other germs from growing in an insect bite. This can reduce the risk of infection, making it a great choice for children who can’t resist scratching. Research also shows that tea tree oil may act as a natural antihistamine. Antihistamines reduce the activity of the body’s histamine receptors, which may play a role in allergic reactions and itching. This can reduce swelling and itching.
3 Lavender Oil
Best known for its calming and mood-enhancing effects, lavender oil can also help reduce the pain and itchiness of insect bites. Lavender can also ease the pain of insect bites, such as fire ants and bees.
4 Lemongrass oil
The antimicrobial effects of lemongrass oil may help prevent the spread of certain insect-borne diseases, some sources say. Research published in 2014 also found that a compound found in lemongrass oil may have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a major source of pain and itching after insect stings and bites. By reducing inflammation, lemongrass oil may make stings less painful.
5 Camphor Oil
Camphor oil can create pleasant warming sensations on the skin, which can help disguise the itchiness of some insect bites. However, if the bite is burning rather than itchy, avoid camphor, as it can make the sensations worse.
6 Chamomile oil
Long valued in traditional medicine for its soothing properties, the benefits of chamomile can also help relieve itching associated with insect stings and bites. A handful of studies have shown that chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties. This means it can help treat mild allergic reactions, as well as the itching and burning associated with most insect bites.
7 Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is not, in the strictest sense of the word, an essential oil. It is distilled water from the leaves and stems of the Hamamelis virginiana plant. Witch hazel can keep bite wounds from becoming infected by fighting bacteria and keeping the wound clean. Witch hazel is also used to reduce inflammation and bruising. Since it is water, there is no need to dilute it in a carrier oil.
How to use them
Essential oils can play a variety of roles and studies suggest they should be used alongside conventional treatments.
Essential oils are extracted from plants, such as herbs, flowers or trees. Essential oils are distinct from perfume and fragrance oils, which are often mixed with other ingredients. In the plant, essential oils play several roles.
In plants, essential oils attract beneficial insects, such as bees, to defend against harmful insects, protect the plant against bacteria and disease, and send important chemical signals to the plant. Essential oil advocates claim that human users can benefit from essential oils just as much as plants. Research in this developing field of alternative medicine is still in its infancy. Many studies, however, suggest that essential oils can complement conventional medical treatments, and even provide benefits that standard treatments do not. This includes the treatment of insect bites.
Applying essential oils to the skin
Apply the oils directly to the affected area following the instructions that come with the essential oil, as advised by a doctor or specialist, or according to an essential oil-specific guide. Never consume essential oils, unless otherwise advised by a specialist.
Insect bites can be bothersome, especially for people with sensitive or dry skin. Essential oils offer a simple antidote. Certain essential oils can help completely prevent insect bites. According to some research, neem, lemon eucalyptus, and citronella oils can help repel mosquitoes and certain other insects. People should use diluted essential oils on the skin, or try an insect repellent that contains them.
Essential oils are powerful. Just because a product is natural does not mean it is safe. As with any remedy, it is therefore recommended to consult a doctor before using essential oils, especially if the skin is sensitive or if one has already had allergic reactions.
Francisco, V., Figueirinha, A., Costa, G., Liberal, J., Lopes, MC, Garcia-Rodriguez, C., . . . Batista, MT (2014, September). Chemical characterization and anti-inflammatory activity of luteolin glycosides isolated from lemongrass [Abstract]. Journal of Functional Foods10, 436–443
Schelz, Z., Molnar, J., & Hohmann, J. (2006, June). Antimicrobial and antiplasmid activities of essential oils [Abstract]. Fitoterapia, 77(4), 279–285
Srivastava, JK, Pandey, M., & Gupta, S. (2009, September 27). Chamomile, a novel and selective COX-2 inhibitor with anti-inflammatory activity [Abstract]. Life Sciences, 85(19–20), 663–669
Like our content ?
Receive our latest publications free of charge and directly in your mailbox every day