If itchy bug bites, poisonous plants, and heat rashes are ruining your summer, you need to check out these home remedies and natural itch relief solutions! Trust me, once you do, you’ll have a much happier summer!
As much as I love summer and all the freedom it offers (sleeping in, no homework, longer days), there’s one thing that I absolutely detest about the season: all the itchiness. Between the biting bugs and the poison plants, skin-drying dips in chlorinated water and the allergies (oh, the allergies!), I feel itchy from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I cannot stand being itchy. I’d rather feel the sting of a thousand paper cuts than deal with one itch that just won’t quit. Okay, so that’s a little dramatic, but you get my point. Itchiness stinks.
To make matters worse, I can’t tolerate most over-the-count antihistamines these days. While products with diphenhydramine do work wonders on stopping my itchiness, they leave me with massive migraines the next day. It’s getting to the point where my body rejects pretty much all allergy medications and lets me know it’s not happy by slamming me to the ground with a killer headache.
So what’s an itchy girl to do? Go the natural route, of course! There are plenty of home remedies and other natural ways to relieve itchy skin.
Home Remedies & Natural Itch Relief from Head to Toe
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A word of warning: please use common sense when using natural or home remedies for itch relief. I have smart readers, I know I shouldn’t have to say this, but I am anyway. If you have a skin condition, consult your dermatologist. If your skin is broken around the site of the itch, don’t go tossing all sorts of stuff on it. And for the love of gods, please, oh please, DO NOT bathe in bleach! I saw that as a home remedy for itchiness on another site and my jaw just about hit the floor.
Keep in mind that natural remedies and home remedies are two totally different things. While they can overlap, not all home remedies are “natural” and not all natural remedies are easily found in the average home.
My Top 5 Itch Relief Methods
1. Take a Cold Shower
You can’t get much more natural than plain water! A cold shower can do wonders to relieve itchiness brought on my heat rashes (or prickly heat) or sweaty skin. Just make sure it’s cold. You’ll be tempted to blast scolding hot water on your itchy spots. In fact, a few sites list it as a great way to relieve itching. Sure, it works for a moment, but it also dries your skin out so much that you’ll pay for it ten-fold the second you step out of the shower.
2. Coconut Oil
Keeping your skin moisturized goes a long way towards preventing and relieving itchiness from dry skin. Skip the expensive lotions and reach for coconut oil. A little goes a long way, you don’t want to walk around feeling like buttered toast! Coconut oil is great for itching from head to toes. Jessica Mahler of XOJane even wrote about how it helped her itchy behind. If you’re prone to acne breakouts, though, this may not be the itch remedy for you.
3. Oatmeal & Milk Bath
We’ve all heard of bathing in colloidal oatmeal when we’re covered in poison ivy, right? If you were born before the age of the chicken pox vaccine, you might even remember living in an oatmeal bath during the infection. I like to take the traditional oatmeal bath a step further and toss in half a cup of powdered milk. Obviously, if you have a milk allergy, this won’t help, but otherwise, it makes the water (and my skin) extra silky. Powdered milk is the secret ingredient in all the bath salts I make at home.
4. Essential Oil Blends
Numerous essential oils will help relieve itchy skin, depending on the cause. Lavender is great for most skin issues and tea tree oil will help with fungal causes (like athletes foot). You can safely apply both of them “neat,” meaning without a carrier IF you don’t have extremely sensitive skin. Other essential oils, such as palmarosa, patchouli, and chamomile work well for itchiness but should be used with a carrier. Add a few drops to a 4-oz bottle of almond, olive or grapeseed oil.
If you don’t have a stock of essential oils on hand or just want someone else to do the work for you, I’ve been using Everyday Botanical‘s Coarse & Curly Anti-Itch Scalp Spray. They sent me a few small sample bottles to try out (along with a full-size bottle of super yummy-smelling Grapefruit Mango Shower Gel). While it was designed for itchy scalps, it actually works for all-over itchiness. I’m definitely buying more when I run out of the samples. It’s made with Aloe Vera, Lemon Eucalyptus, Tea Tree Oil and Nettle Leaf. It smells citrusy, so you won’t walk around smelling like all medicinal. The shower gel is delightful too. I really want to try out their Yuzu Mint Shower Gel next. I’m crazy for Yuzu!
5. Aloe Vera Straight From the Plant
Aloe vera works pretty well for itching related to sunburns, dry skin and poison ivy. While you can go out and buy a big bottle of it from the store, the best relief comes straight from the plant. Just crack open a leaf and rub it right on the itchy spot. Aloe plants are pretty easy to keep alive. Well, for most people anyway. I managed to kill my first aloe plant within about a week.
More home remedies from your bathroom:
Your hygiene products may hold the answer to relieving that itch! A few of my favorite tried and true remedies include:
- Listerine: My grandfather swore by Listerine as a miracle cure for just about everything, including itchiness. Soak a cotton ball in Listerine, then dab it on the itchy area. Plain Listerine (the yellow kind) works best (although some people swear by the minty flavor). Check out more great uses for Listerine aside from the obvious!
- Toothpaste: a dab of toothpaste (paste, not gel) on mosquito bite helps take the itch away for a few minutes. Granted, it doesn’t last all that long, but if you’re waiting for antihistamines to kick it, it gets the job done.
- Deodorant: Credit to Sal for this trick. Rub a bit of deodorant on a bug bite to take some of the itch away. Again, it has to be regular stick, not a gel or spray deodorant.
Other remedies for itching include:
These really don’t require a full paragraph of explanation each, so let’s just go with a pretty bullet-point list, shall we? Everyone loves bullet-point lists!
- Vitamin E capsules: break open and applied to dry, itchy skin.
- Baking soda: either make a paste and apply to a bug bite or throw a cup full into a tub of water and soak in it.
- Ice pack (or for tiny bug bites, just an ice cube)
- Apple cider vinegar: moisten a cotton ball and apply to itch, or throw about three cups worth into a bath and soak.
- Raw honey: probably the stickiest itch relief, but it works! Dab a little on a bug bite, then cover with a Band-Aid so you don’t stick to everything!
- Banana peels: I’ve never tried it, but apparently rubbing a banana peel on your itchy spot will give you fast relief. Supposedly it stings a bit, so it’s up to you if you want to try it.
- Wash a rash with Dawn dishwashing soap. If it’s gentle enough for the poor oil-covered birds, it’s gentle enough for you. Apparently, you have to repeat it for two days in a row to get the full effects.
Remember, use common sense when trying these itch relief remedies! Start with the mildest and cheapest solution (like a cold shower), then work your way through until you figure out what works best for you.
Do you have any favorite natural or home remedies for itch relief? Share in the comments!
Every time I read one of these lists there is always a mention of coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Makes me wish I had known about their amazing benefits years ago.
I have such itchy skin – I keep hearing good things about coconut oil but have never tried it – I really should! x
Great tips.. I have such dry and itchy skin and have to reapply lotion every hour.
I love using apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. Both have so many health benefits that im going to try to keep them in my daily routine.
These are some really good solutions. I haven’t experimented with coconut oil very much but I should try that.
I am surprised with oatmeal! These lists is a must-have during summer due to the itchiness we may feel.
These are great tips! An itch or an bug bite can be like a dripping tap. I am going to try these out and see what clicks for me.
I think these are all great ideas. Sometimes I get dry skin and it starts to get itchy. It seems to be a bit worse in Summer. I think aloe is a wonderful product. I’ve always loved using that.
When you have sensitive skin, it’s important to avoid hot showers, it will only irritate your skin more. I like the tips that you have here because they are tried and tested!
Yep! As good as it feels when you’re IN the shower, it wreaks so much havoc when you get out. Those few minutes of relief are definitely not worth the pain later. My ex had eczema and he’d take boiling hot showers to relieve it, then complain for hours after because it just made it worse.
I have a sensitive skin that I go through lot of itching related issues at times, that too it gets worse in summer. I take cold shower for sure & Coconut Oil has also played a major role in helping me get some relief when needed. The other home remedies mentioned are quiet amazing & I am going to try them as well.
Coconut oil is great to know! I had a mosquito bite that was so itchy! These are great tips!
Coconut oil?! NO way!!!! I needed this for sure especially with some hiking trips coming up this summer!
Oh yes, coconut oil is like the wonder oil!
If I had a perfect product to choose it would have to be the coconut oil! I just love it! It serves many purpose and I have really felt its benefits after using it for many years!
Me too! I use it straight out of the jar for everything from dry hair to itchy skin!
i always have honey coconut oil and cider vinegar! very useful! thanks for the list!
I use apple cider vinegar on my face. My age spots are fading. You don’t need to buy expensive products. It also clears up my dry patches and rosacea.
Thanks for sharing these great ideas. I will have to try these out.
omg, thank you! my allergies have been awful