In case you haven’t gotten around to whipping up a batch of DIY: Bug Repellent Balm—and we suggest you do—we present you with a list of natural remedies for mosquito bites that might have you putting away that chalky pink Calamine lotion forever.
Photographs by Erin Boyle.
1. Ice cubes: Using an ice cube or cold pack can be a surprisingly effective remedy for mosquito bites. The ice temporarily numbs the area and helps control swelling. Wrap cubes in a towel and press against bites for 10 minutes (or for as long as you can tolerate).
2. Tea bags: Natural tannins in tea act as an astringent, drawing toxins out of the skin and helping to lessen your discomfort. Press a used tea bag against your bites until the itching has subsided.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar: In the same way that baking soda can help neutralize a bug bite, a swab of apple cider vinegar (or a few cupfuls diluted in a bath) can help balance the pH of an infected area. Apple cider vinegar is somewhat less acidic than other vinegars and a good choice for restoring natural pH.
4. Aloe Vera: Often associated with relieving painful sunburns, aloe vera is as helpful for mosquito bites. You can check the produce aisle for fresh aloe vera or buy gel at the pharmacy. If you decide to go the fresh route, gently peel away the tough outer skin from the inner gel with a sharp knife. You can then pulverize the interior gel or rub the intact interior on any offending bites.
5. Peppermint Poultice: The cooling sensation from peppermint leaves that have been mashed into a paste can offer a quick remedy for especially bothersome bites. If you’re an adept forager, you can also try making a poultice from jewelweed, plantain, or chickweed. And if you find yourself out and about without your mortar and pestle, all of these herbs can be chewed and spit onto bites for relief.