In DIY, Essential Oils

Bug bites are inevitable, but hopefully you can find quick relief with this DIY mosquito bite itch relief stick. Toss it in your bag and have it whenever you’re planning to spend time outdoors.

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This recipe was originally published in August 2016, but has recently been republished for recipe and accuracy.

The fam went on an overnight back-packing trip and I got eaten alive…I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t you bring bug-spray?” Well yes, but when we began our hike the buggies weren’t bugging, so I didn’t put any on. However, five seconds after arrival the mosquitoes were going post apocalypse on us as I frantically searched for the elusive spray. Those buggies laid into me 20 times before I could ward them off.

Keep homemade bug spray handy…lesson learned!

Once the spray was applied, however, (and re-applied every hour…remember essential oils dissipate!) I was good to go. But the damage had already been done, I was left in carnage. Thankfully, essential oils do more than repel mosquitoes, they also help alleviate that annoying itch. Lavender and Tea Tree to the rescue!

Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch More When You Scratch Them?

Inflammation. A mosquito bite causes inflamed skin and since inflammation causes your skin to itch, once you scratch that bite you can quickly get into a vicious cycle where scratching causes itching, and itching causes scratching.

You have to do something to break this cycle. Easier said than done!

How To Stop Mosquito Bites From Itching

Our go-to method is this handy mosquito bite itch relief stick. It combines the healing and calming properties of lavender and tea tree essential oils with a carrier oil that reminds me to keep my hands off that bite!

1. Mosquito Bite Itch Relief Stick

To Make: Add 5 drops tea tree* and 6-15 drops lavender* essential oils into a 10mL roller bottle, top with carrier oil and roll onto bites to soothe the itch. Within a few minutes you’ll forget they’re even there!

Because lavender is healing and soothing, this blend may even help speed up the healing process of those nasty bites! 

2. Honey

Honey is a great option for relieving the itch, especially for kids as it’s sticky and reminds them not to scratch the itch! There are also antiseptic and antibacterial properties to honey which make it great for quick healing.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a great option if you’re going to continue being outdoors (say when you’re camping), because the honey is likely to attract more mosquitos.

3. Rubbing Alcohol

Though not my favorite option as I try not to put this directly on my skin when avoidable, the cooling effect of rubbing alcohol can help alleviate the itch of a mosquito bite. But use sparingly because alcohol is quite drying and, if used too much, can actually cause irritation rather than heal it.

4. Oatmeal Mask (or bath)

Oatmeal is extremely soothing and has calming effects on inflamed skin. Oatmeal is a great option if you’re camping because it’s super light-weight and easy to whip up on the trail. Simply take some oatmeal and soak it in water for a few minutes, then apply this to the affected area. Even better (if you’re not staying outside) is to mix in some honey with the oatmeal mask for added benefits.

Alternatively, you can add oatmeal to a bath and soak for a while. This remedy is great for many skin ailments, rashes, and even dry skin. I can remember soaking in an oatmeal bath as a kid with chickenpox.

Other Anti-Itch Home Remedies

You can make poultices with some chopped up basil mixed with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil, avocado oil or even olive oil), rubbed onto the skin. This can help reduce inflammation, much like hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion would, without the harmful ingredients.

Some say garlic’s antiviral effects can be helpful in reducing the itch of a mosquito bite. Simply chop some up, mix it with some coconut oil and rub onto the affected area.

Aloe vera is extremely soothing and calming. If you have an aloe plant, just tear off the top of a leaf and rub the aloe onto the bite. You may need to repeat this as the aloe dries.

Because of the calming properties of herbs, many people swear by using a cold tea bag (one that’s already been steeped in water). My recommendation would be to use a chamomile or other herbal tea for temporary relief.

Other Useful First-Aid Benefits of Essential Oils

If you’re on the trail, I highly recommend packing in these 2mL mini bottles  filled with some basic first aid oils:

  • Lavender – for cuts and soothing bug bites, stings or burns. Can also soothe skin from too much sun exposure.
  • Tea tree – for disinfecting and soothing bites.
  • Eucalyptus – to combat a stuffy nose and help soothe achy muscles.
  • Frankincense – To help with breathing and to pair with other oils (frankincense is often called a “driving oil” which helps the efficacy of other oils).
  • Wintergreen – To help soothe achy and overworked muscles. Can also help calm an upset stomach when inhaled.

These oils will certainly come in handy while in the bush and they won’t weigh your pack down. You’ll be so glad you have them if needed…I sure was!

* Tea tree has a recommended 15% dilution ratio and lavender has a recommended 2-5%. Be sure to know proper dilution ratios before using essential oils! (See this conversion chart for reference.)

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5 from 1 vote

Bug Bite Itch Relief Stick

Active Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Keyword: bug bite, itch, relief
Yield: 10 mL bottle
Author: Kelsey Steffen

Materials

  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 9 mL carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, avocado oil or olive oil

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients into a 10mL roller bottle, add cap and shake to combine.

Notes

  • Because lavender is healing and soothing, this blend may even help speed up the healing process of those nasty bites! 
  • Tea tree has a recommended 15% dilution ratio and lavender has a recommended 2-5%. Be sure to know proper dilution ratios before using essential oils! (See this conversion chart for reference.)
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Showing 10 comments
  • Avatar
    Megan Stevens
    Reply

    Love this approach, cool recipe! Thanks!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Thanks Megan!

  • Avatar
    Reply

    I need to make this for my family. Mosquitos are crazy already here, I’m not sure if they even went away during the winter. I feel like we always have them here now. My little ones both swell like crazy when they get bites, this will be perfect for soothing.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Oh no! Mosquitoes are the WORST! Hope this helps find some relief!

  • Avatar
    Dawn
    Reply

    My kids are going to be very happy this summer! They hate itchy mosquito bites. In spite of our best efforts to keep them from happening they still get a bite or several in :/

    Love lavender and tee tree oils, I always have them on hand.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Yes…the bites seem to be inevitable! 3 out of 6 of us seem to be beacons for them!

  • Avatar
    Raia Todd
    Reply

    Yes! We’ve been using lavender on bug bites and itches for a few years now. My kids are practically covered in it during the summer. Haha.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Awesome Raia! Lavender is so great! There are many worse things they could be covered in! 😉

  • Avatar
    Carol Little R.H.
    Reply

    Good idea to have a good bug repellent on hand! Oh dear. That sounds like quite the experience!!
    Another little ‘herbGal’ tip? Avoid eating fruit before going on any hikes — makes us less appetizing to the flying invaders!!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Thanks for the tip Carol! Sadly, fruit is always our go-to snack when hiking! :/ Does dehydrated fruit count, too?

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