How To Treat Your Next Bug Bite Naturally

One of the few things I can predict each summer is that I will be covered in horrendous bug bites by September. Each season, I get increasingly more crafty in finding ways to make bug bites stop itching with natural treatments, rather than OTC ointments or creams. I've learned that while my mosquito bites may already be gross, they become even more unsightly as I itch away. We all know casually itching while you try to flirt is not a good look.

Regardless of the bug spray I use (and I've used some pretty heavy duty sprays before), I still get bitten at rapid speed. I was already itching mosquito bites in May! According to sources at Web MD, about one in every 10 people are more attractive to mosquitoes than everyone else. Genetics and body chemistry are some of the assumed triggers for why mosquitoes bite some people more than others, but according to sources at the Smithsonian Magazine, even having a nice cold beer can make you a mosquito magnet. Great! Whenever I have a dry spell and wonder if anyone will ever be attracted to me again, at least I can relax because mosquitoes are super into me. Unfortunately, I have no interest in sharing my bed with a mosquito — I hear they are selfish lovers and take more than they give.

I'm still planning to fight back with my trusty natural bug spray of choice, but for those times where I find myself asking to be seated outside without the good stuff? I've got seven tricks to sooth my future bug bites.

1. Basil

Basil has over 5,000 years of experience in the healing department, and it’s got anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. During desperate times, I've had only a basil leaf to rely on to stop itching — and thankfully it worked immediately! If you don't have basil essential oil, you can simply rub the leaves directly on your bug bite.

2. Lavender Essential Oil

Majestic Pure Lavender Essential Oil, $14, Amazon

Lavender oil is great for soothing bites AND preventing them. It's especially unique for treating mosquito bites because lavender is known to stop bleeding while being an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent. You should be sure to dilute your essential oil with a carrier oil unless you are sprinkling the oil on your sheets to keep mosquitoes away while you snooze.

3. Tea Tree Oil

ArtNaturals Tea Tree Oil, $13, Amazon

Tea tree oil is great for preventing and treating mosquito bites (it'll disinfect and bring down any swelling), but you may find it slightly drying if you don't mix with a carrier oil. If you have an open wound or experienced irritation from tea tree in the past, I recommend diluting your tea tree oil before using on your bug bite.

4. Coconut Oil

Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, $10, Amazon

Speaking of carrier oils, coconut oil is another antibacterial oil that is super soothing for itchy bites. Adding coconut oil to tea tree or lavender oil will get that bug bite down in no time.

5. Onion Slices

According to sources at Granny Med and other natural beauty blogs, onions can be used to reduce swelling and get rid of that insane urge you have to itch when you get a mosquito bite or bee stings. I'm definitely stoked to try this natural remedy on my next mosquito bite. However, if you are allergic to bees (like I am), you should ditch the onion and go straight to the doctor.

6. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is as healing as it is soothing. The same thing recommended for an itchy throat can be used for your itchy bug bite. Chamomile has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cleansing properties for your next bite. I like to use chamomile ice cubes because the ice helps reduce swelling while the chamomile provides the rest.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar & Baking Soda Paste

This was a new one for me, so I had to test it out on an annoying bite that occurred when my defenses were down (I fell asleep in the park). I used my paste on a fresh bite and found that it DID stop the itching and brought down the swelling of my mosquito bite slightly. I recommend using this paste on un-open bites only.

Good luck out there, guys. It's a scary, mosquito-filled world.

Images: ruslan_100/Fotolia; Kristin Collins Jackson