Essential Oils for Mosquito Bites
Mosquito bites can itch more than any other bug bite can. We already know a lot about the various creams and lotions we can use to ease the symptoms of a bite. Yet, we shouldn't forget the power of essential oils for mosquito bites. These oils are an excellent alternative to manufactured creams and lotions.
Essential oils are, of course, not for everyone—some people are allergic, while others have very sensitive skin. But in general, these natural alternatives have great powers to not only soothe your skin, but also to calm your overall senses. In this article, we will explore exactly how essential oils can help ease the sting, and which ones to use.
How to Tell If You've Been Bitten by a Mosquito
Most of us are pretty familiar with a mosquito's bite—it itches, becomes red, and a hard bump develops.
However, when looking at the facts, there are other insects capable of biting a human, and their bites can resemble that of a mosquito. However, these bugs may not always be hunting for a blood meal. Sometimes you are bitten merely because you entered their territory.
When treating a bug bite, it is important to have some knowledge of how to identify the insect that bit you. Some insects, such as spiders, can produce a nasty looking bite that may need extensive treatment if not handled quickly and correctly.
Then there is our old blood-hunting friend, the mosquito. Not only are their bites annoying, but they can also be deadly. There are more mosquito species in the world than you could ever imagine, and some of these do carry dangerous diseases.
It isn't easy to identify the exact species of mosquito solely on the look of the bite, but you can usually distinguish its bump from that of other insects.
Mosquito Bite Symptoms
Most bug bites generally start off with a red area, where a bump quickly begins to form as our inflammatory responses kick in, as mentioned above. Bites from fleas, ticks, or even fire ants, tend to develop into pustules or larger red regions. A reaction from a mosquito bite, on the other hand, generally manages to stay within a small area.
A mosquito bite is often round in shape. The size can vary, depending on the species, where you are bitten, and how your body responds. The bite will puff up and create that signature bump.
For some victims, the bump may have a small red dot in the middle, sometimes even resembling a small blister. The bulge can become easily irritated as the chemicals from the mosquito's saliva travel through the area.
The histamines in your body will soon take action and make you feel like scratching the site. The surrounding area is likely to take a red or pinkish hue. If you scratch, it may become blistering red. If you break the skin, you are inviting germs and bacteria to enter, and this can lead to infection.
For young children, their experiences with mosquito bites may be a bit more intense. Children can sometimes develop a low-grade fever or excessive swelling, so it’s essential to treat them quickly.
How Can Essential Oils Help to Relieve Mosquito Bites?
Massage therapists often use essential oils for aromatherapy treatments. This is mostly due to their powerful fragrance. These can stimulate senses that make the body relax, and the same action works to ease the mosquito's stinging bite.
Essential oils stem from the bark, leaves, or even the peel of a particular plant species. As the sun's energy and minerals from the soil and water fuel the plants, cells within the leaves and bark fill with a rich essence.
Upon crushing a part of the plant, we release the precious fragrance. You may already know this from picking mint or basil leaves, for example. As you break them between your fingers, the air around you fills with their essence.
Essential oils are the basic elements used when performing aromatherapy. This type of treatment has proven to ease symptoms of various diseases, one of which is cancer.
Most essential oils contain herbal properties. These can ease discomfort by stimulating various sensory receptors within the skin. This, in turn, emits a sensation of coolness or warmth that eventually acts to relieve and reduce the painful bite quickly.
One well-known element is menthol, which we can find in minty plants, such as peppermint. Menthol has cooling powers, not only from its taste, but also by merely taking a sniff. Its vibrant fragrance can open up any stuffy nose and, more importantly, stop a mosquito bite from itching.
Other essential oils can actually work as natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatory bodies. These unique plant oils will reduce swelling and can even lower your risk of developing an infection.
Although essential oils are beneficial in various ways, there are some things to keep in mind before applying them onto your skin. For starters, as I mentioned earlier, make sure you are not allergic to the plant whose essence you intend to use.
Essential oils are highly concentrated. Because of this, only a small amount is enough to trigger a major flare up. It is almost always necessary to dilute the herbal oil with a carrier oil, for example, vegetable oil, before using it. However, some essential oils, such as lavender, are fairly mild in comparison to others and don't require diluting.
What Are the Best Essential Oils for Mosquito Bites?
With a whole variety of different plants that all contain potent fragrances, choosing an essential oil is like diving into a vast ocean of essences and herbal properties. Each brings its own set of benefits that can help your troubled skin feel better again.
A good idea would be to keep several options of essential oils in your cabinet; then you are always ready for the summer's bug bites. The most beneficial oils, and their properties, are listed below.
Peppermint is without a doubt one of the most popular essential oils you can find.
Peppermint is a dominant genus of the watermint and spearmint family. We extract the essential oil from the aerial parts such as leaves and stems where we can find the two strongest ingredients—menthol and menthone.
The menthol which we find in peppermint contains properties that inhibit itching. During one research, it proved to relieve the symptoms of pruritus—a condition which causes ongoing itchiness on the skin.
Besides soothing the itchy bite, peppermint essential oil will, in fact, also work as a repellent. This is not only for mosquitoes but other unwanted pests, such as spiders, ants, and cockroaches. Numerous animals and insects within the tiny critter category don't like peppermint and will avoid it at any cost.
However, if you are using it as a repellent, remember to reapply every hour, since its beneficial effects tend to wear off within two hours.
Peppermint is relatively mild on the skin, so this is one oil you can apply directly to the bite without diluting it beforehand. If you have sensitive skin, however, it is best to dilute. Another way to ease the irritation is by adding a few drops of peppermint oil to a warm bath, along with Epsom salt.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil stems mainly from the Australian plant, Melaleuca alternifolia. Natives have been using it for over 100 years due to its medicinal effects. For decades, it was the go-to remedy for treating wounds, due to its antibacterial properties. These show to kill various strains of fungi, viruses and bacteria.
Although tea tree oil won't soothe the itching as much as peppermint oil, it can prevent an infection from forming. For example, if you accidentally scratch the bite, you can use it simply to clean the area around the bite to help ward off germs from the insect.
Lavender oil has, for decades, been a popular ingredient in soaps and other cosmetics. It has a unique floral fragrance and is soothing for the skin.
Lavender oil contains several healing properties, all the while being gentle on even the most sensitive skin. Different types of lavender essential oils are available: some for soothing, others strong enough to repel insects.
If you apply some lavender oil to your mosquito bite, it should take away the itchiness and can even reduce some of the swelling.
You can also buy lavender oil with a higher concentration, which will help to repel mosquitoes. However, due to the high concentration, consult a professional before applying. It can be irritating if you already have sensitive skin.
To make an even more effective bug repellent, mix some lavender oil with a couple of drops of grapefruit essential oil or eucalyptus oil.
You may already recognize lemongrass from your favorite Thai dish, but it is also very efficient at repelling mosquitoes. Its strong citrus smell is something those flying blood hunters tend to avoid.
Within this plant's stringy stem is an ocean of various substances, which can help relieve even the most irritating bite. It has anti-inflammatory properties that are highly effective at calming the immune responses following an insect bite.
Lemongrass oil also contains antimicrobial effects. These can, to some extent, prevent the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases.
Camphor oil stems from the camphor tree species. This essential oil has a cooling scent, yet a warming effect on the skin. It works wonders at reducing itching and swelling. Just be careful—if the area is already warm to the touch or feels more like a burn than an itch—in this case, avoid camphor oil.
Chamomile is excellent for many purposes. When you have a cold, it's exceptional as a tea, or if you have an itchy bite, its anti-inflammatory properties could help reduce swelling and itching.
Chamomile essential oil is also very mild on the skin. Many recommend using it on eczema flare-ups, to calm the raging rashes. The substances within this essential oil have an ability to penetrate deeper into the layers of the skin. This enables it to distribute its calming benefits on a whole different level.
With the persistent mosquito, sometimes being bitten is unavoidable. By utilizing some of the benefits the plant world has to offer, we open up our doors to many useful properties that can help relieve even the itchiest bite. Many essential oils, including those listed above, will calm your skin and take your mind off the bite for a couple of hours.
Most essential oils have anti-inflammatory as well as antimicrobial effects, which make the perfect mixture for relieving a mosquito bite. However, remember to dilute the stronger oils before applying to your skin, and check that you are not allergic to any of the plants used. With their aromatic fragrance and healing properties, essential oils for mosquito bites are becoming increasingly popular alternatives to manufactured lotions.
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