Why do some people seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others? Do different people really taste better? If so, my son Henry must be delicious because that boy gets more bug bites than anyone I’ve ever seen.
With all of my son’s bug bites, I have learned that you don’t need a drugstore cream to relieve itchy mosquito bites. Instead, try making your own calamine lotion or using ingredients already in your kitchen. Home remedies like honey, baking soda, lavender oil and witch hazel are natural skin soothers – and far less expensive!
And if you want to avoid bites in the first place, try planting bug-repelling plants in your backyard or using one of these natural bug sprays. However, I know that sometimes we’re not always as prepared as we want to be—so here are my favorite recipes for relieving bug bites after they’ve happened.
Homemade Calamine Lotion
While this homemade “calamine lotion” doesn’t contain any actual calamine, it is loaded with anti-inflammatory ingredients that can soothe even the most wicked bug bites. Use it like you would traditional calamine lotion and apply it directly to bug bites several times a day, or as needed to tame the itch.
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon bentonite clay
- Enough water or witch hazel to form a paste
- 5 drops each lavender, chamomile & peppermint essential oils
Combine dry ingredients and slowly add water/witch hazel until a paste forms. Apply to bug bites for relief. It will eventually dry and can be rinsed off with cool water.
10 More Natural Bug Bite Itch Relief Remedies
2. Raid the kitchen: Apply a slice of lemon or rub the inside of a banana peel to irritated skin. Not only can they help with itching and swelling, but they’ll leave you smelling fresh in the process!
3. Apple cider vinegar. Of course. Soak a cotton ball with ACV and rub directly on itchy areas to dry out bug bites. If your skin is sensitive, you can dilute it a little with water.
4. Don’t have clay? Just make a paste with baking soda and water to get rid of annoying itches. Let the paste sit on the bites until dry.
6. Honey, the ultimate healer, can also soothe itchy bites. Dab a tiny bit of raw honey on irritated areas to moisturize dry, itchy skin and take the sting out of the redness. It can be a bit sticky, so it’s not something you’d want to dab on before bed.
7. Using aloe topically fights inflammation, which makes it a great choice to battle bites. It reduces swelling and redness and also has bacteria-fighting properties to keep skin clear and healthy. Try this Summer Lotion with Calendula + Aloe
8. Used tea bags can provide skin-healing relief. A cool used tea bag from chamomile or green tea has anti-inflammatory properties. A refrigerated tea bag is also incredibly soothing on irritated skin.
9. Witch hazel with jojoba and essential oils makes an excellent natural bug spray. But if you do get bitten, witch hazel can also relieve the pain and inflammation from bee stings, bug bites, and poison ivy and poison oak. Soak a cotton ball and then apply to bite area or rash.
10. Oats are rich in compounds that reduce swelling, redness and itching. A soothing oatmeal bath can kick-start the healing of bite-ridden skin.
Itch Relief FAQ
Is there actual calamine in this calamine lotion recipe?
No, this recipe doesn’t contain any actual calamine. Instead, we use anti-inflammatory ingredients, like baking soda and bentonite clay, to soothe redness and get rid of the itch associated with bug bites (just like calamine lotion).
What’s the shelf life of homemade calamine?
If you use water, it should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 2-3 days. If you use witch hazel, it will last a bit longer. But I recommend using within 2-3 weeks to be safe. You can always mix the dry ingredients ahead of time and add the liquid and oils just prior to using.
What gives this lotion a gray color?
The bentonite clay is what gives this lotion an earthy brown/gray color. Yours might be different depending on the color of your bentonite clay.
Can I add other ingredients, like aloe vera and colloidal oats, to my homemade calamine lotion?
Yes, you can certainly try adding other ingredients. Just know that some fresh ingredients (like aloe) can change the shelf life of you lotion. If you’re not sure how long it will last, it’s best to use it immediately.
What natural bug bite itch relief creams do you use to relieve the summer bummers?
Homemade Calamine Lotion
- Small bowl or jar
- Combine dry ingredients and slowly add water/witch hazel until a paste forms. Apply to bug bites for relief. It will eventually dry and can be rinsed off with cool water.