Although the first day of summer is literally just days away (two, but who’s counting?), there’s no denying the fact that we’ve been
suffering experiencing the sweltering effects of the season for what feels like weeks now. Temps are rising, humidity is thicker than ever, and mosquitoes are running rampant. And while a decent window unit can certainly help alleviate sweat and stickiness, as for the abundance of incessant insects, well, that’s another story. For those times when you can’t ward off pests and inevitably get bit, we’ve asked dermatologists to share their best home remedies for stopping itch — once and for all.
More than just an annoying itch, bug bites are actually an allergic reaction, which develops as a result of the bug interacting with the skin, says Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “Inflammation leads to redness, swelling, and itching,” he says (i.e. those huge, blotch red spots that seem to only get bigger as you itch).
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Of course, the easiest way to do this would be to topically apply a hydrocortisone cream, like over-the-counter Cortaid, to the aggravated area, which will reduce redness, itching, and decrease inflammation, says Zeichner. But did you know you probably also have a slew of similar treatments at the ready in your kitchen?
“Oatmeal is soothing in nature. “It contains potent antioxidants, known as avenanthremides, which reduce inflammation and may calm itch,” says Zeichner. To whip up your own concoction, simply mix a couple spoonfuls of oatmeal and water into a small cup to create the paste, and then apply directly to the bite.
“The easiest way to stop itching is to hold an ice cube on the bite,” says Debra Jaliman, a New York City-based dermatologist. “Since the brain can only process one sensation at a time, the itching will stop as you will feel the intense cold.”
Because yogurt is made with proteins that coat and soothe the skin, Zeichner says the creamy snack makes for a great inflammation reducer. Plus, the probiotics in yogurt also have skim-calming properties, which can help repair a damaged barrier.
This chic succulent does more than just add flair to your Brooklyn apartment — the green plant is an anti-inflammatory. Simply squeeze the gel from the actual plant and apply it directly to the infected area, advises Jaliman.
Skip the spoonful of honey and instead apply it directly to your itchy spot, says Zeichner. “Honey has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, which can help relieve symptoms,” Zeichner says.
Not only can your go-to headache medication relieve pain when ingested, but as it turns out, when dissolved in water and turned to a paste, it can calm bites down as well when applied topically, says Zeichner.
More on how to stop summer itch:
Now, find out how to make your own face mask:
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