Soothing Skin Irritation & Bug Bites

Woman applying insect repellent

Bug bites, skin irritations, rashes… none of it is fun. I think all of us have experienced the discomfort of skin irritation, the dryness and itching which can even lead to sleepless nights. Fortunately, there are products on the market as well as many home remedies that are available to soothe bug bites and calm itchy skin. Find out what might work best for you if you’re dealing with this kind of discomfort.

Of course using insect repellents might be a good way to avoid bug bites completely, but in the off chance we forget to apply them, or don’t have them at our disposal, it’s more likely than not that most outdoorsy types will end up with some sort of bug bite. Topical antihistamines can be effective but may also cause allergic reactions. Dr. Leslie Baumann, founder of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute recommends a prescription cream called Zonalon. Oral forms of Zonalon are common allergy medications like Benadryl and Claritin, although these may also cause drowsiness.

If you are looking for over the counter medications, Baumann recommends the ingredient pramoxine which can be found in Itch-X or Gold Bond Anit-Itch. More natural treatments include witch hazel, and herbs and ingredients like licorice, turmeric, willowbark, chamomile and aloe vera.

Of course, many of these over the counter treatments and home remedies can be used to soothe the itch caused by skin irritations as well. Hydrocortisone tops the list as a remedy for skin rash and eczema. It reduces the appearance of the rash and will soothe inflammation and skin irritability. Eucerin is recommended for eczema. It helps to hold in the natural moisture in skin, which is what eczema sufferers so desperately need. Calamine lotion is best for skin rashes that might occur as a result of touching poison ivy. The lotion will soothe the infected area.

The Gerson Institute advocates some all natural remedies as treatments for irritated skin. They recommend treatments like apple cider vinegar, peppermint leaves, fresh basil leaves, fruit peels and oatmeal. Most of these can be applied directly, or ground up and applied directly.

Of course, the best remedy for bug bites and skin irritations is to avoid them altogether. Here are some helpful tips on how best to keep your skin irritation free:

  • Avoid excessive handwashing which can cause dryness
  • Wear protective gloves when using household cleaners that may contain irritating chemicals
  • Use fragrance free liquid fabric softeners which are less likely to contain irritants
  • Avoid clothing with rough fabrics. Try sticking to cotton and cotton poly fabrics
  • Try to avoid irritants in facial creams as well. Ascorbic acid and paraben preservatives top the list.
  • Familiarize yourself with harmful plants like poison ivy and poison oak. This will best prepare you to avoid contact.
  • Nickel is a common allergy and can be found in costume jewelry, watchbands and zippers, and may be best avoided.
  • Certain sunscreens can also cause allergies. Allergic reactions occur most often from sunscreens that contain PABA based chemicals so you may want to find a PABA free alternative if you develop an allergy.
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