• 08/21/2023

What Is the Best Essential Oil for Bug Bites? 10 Natural Remedies

Three bottles of essential oils.

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Essential oils have several medicinal properties. They’re popular in aromatherapy to relieve stress and anxiety and improve sleep. But did you know some of these oils have anti-inflammatory, antifungal and pain-relieving benefits, making them natural solutions for bug bites? Find out the best essential oil for bug bites to relieve the itch.

Why Use Essential Oils

Since ancient times, plants and herbs have been universal remedies for skin infections and bug bites. Nowadays, people use them in the convenient form of essential oils. 

To use plants as cures, people had to grind the leaves or stems using a mortal and a pestle to extract the essence. Now, companies process these plants and herbs in large batches through cold press extraction, steam distillation and other methods to carefully obtain highly concentrated essential oils. They’re stored in bottles and sold in the market. 

Essential oils can still be as effective as their source, depending on how it’s harvested and processed.

What Are the Ten Best Essential Oils for Bug Bites?

If you’re looking for a natural remedy for mosquitoes, ants or flea bites, keep any of these 10 essential oils in your home.

1. Basil 

Basil can do more than enhance the flavor of your favorite cuisines. The tender plant contains a compound called eugenol, famous for its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. The leaves can help relieve skin itchiness caused by a mosquito bite. 

To use, grab some fresh basil leaves and chop them finely. Use it as a rub and directly apply it to the affected area. 

2. Camphor

Camphor oil comes from the wood of a camphor tree, a relative of cinnamon. Since ancient times, people have used it for various purposes, including easing coughs and decongesting respiratory problems. It’s a major ingredient in rub, liniments and balms, making it a perfect natural fix for bug bites. The pleasant warm feeling it leaves on the skin can conceal itchiness from insect bites. 

You can apply it directly on the bitten area, but avoid using it on broken or injured skin.

3. Chamomile

You may enjoy this daisy-like plant as tea, but it’s as valuable for treating skin problems. An excellent essential oil for bug bites, chamomile has anti-inflammatory and analgesic attributes that reduce skin swelling, redness and itchiness. 

Apply chamomile oil directly to the skin. 

4. Witch Hazel

Like other plants, witch hazel has been a centuries-old natural solution for many health and skin conditions, including insect bites. A little swab of witch hazel can calm the redness and itch from mosquito and ant bites. Moreover, it can also help minimize eczema and skin rashes. 

5. Peppermint 

Essential oils with cooling effects are undeniably excellent antidotes for repelling insects and relieving pain in fire ant bites. Diluted peppermint eases itching skin and makes you feel better. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties reduce the risk of infection due to bug bites. 

Applying concentrated peppermint oil burns the skin, so use almond or any carrier oil. 

6. Tea tree

Tea tree has comprehensive compound profiles, making it a suitable cure for some skin problems. It has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial features that can decrease swelling and inflammation when applied to the skin. It’s also known for its other use, such as treating acne lesions and as an oral mouthwash to prevent dental plaque.

7. Lavender

Lavender is a powerful essential oil for bug bites and a staple in many homes due to its all-around use. It can treat allergies and promote quality sleep. Its calming effects soothe skin irritation and pain caused by tick and mosquito bites. Massage lavender oil on each insect bites to reduce skin inflammation and encourage healing. 

8. Lemongrass

Rich in antimicrobial compounds, lemongrass oil can help stop insect-carried diseases. It’s a popular essential oil for bug bites due to its anti-inflammatory benefits. When applied, it can lessen skin swelling, pain and itchiness. 

Another great thing about lemongrass is it works as a mosquito repellent and can stop its growth. Like peppermint, lemongrass oil can cause a stinging sensation when used in its pure form. Dilute it in distilled water or rubbing alcohol and transfer it into a spray bottle for easy application.

9. Rosemary

Another choice of essential oil for bug bites is rosemary. Aside from being an exceptional food flavor enhancer, it has potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities to prevent swelling and infection. Similar to lemongrass, it also helps repel mosquitos. You can apply it topically but be sure to mix it with a carrier oil. 

10. Citronella 

For years, people have used citronella as a solution to heal wounds, overcome fatigue, repel insects and as a food additive. This lemony fresh scent can protect you from bugs for up to 120 minutes, but it’s also as effective in soothing insect bites and relieving the itch and swelling due to its antifungal properties. 

How To Use Essential Oil for Bug Bites

Essential oils are used topically to treat bug bites. You can use any of these ten options and follow these steps to start treatment. 

  1. Wash the bitten area with water and soap. 
  2. Dry it with a clean towel. 
  3. Apply a few drops of your preferred essential oil for bug bites and gently massage it on the skin in a circular motion. 

As some essential oils can cause a stinging sensation when applied, mix them with a carrier oil to prevent skin burning. Additionally, don’t apply essential oil to an open wound. 

Bug bites can result in skin infections, allergies, red skin streaks and worsening pain — symptoms essential oils can’t treat. If you experience any of these signs, get medical help immediately. 

Essential Oils Are Natural Remedies for Bug Bites

These ten essential oils can help treat insect bites, but you should know when they aren’t enough. As effective as they can be in curing various skin conditions, seek medical attention if you notice no improvement in the bitten area.

Essential oils are natural solutions without side effects, but options like lemongrass and peppermint can cause skin burns if misused. Be aware of what oils you must dilute in a carrier oil to prevent unpleasant effects. 

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