Essential Oils for Treating Itchy Bug Bites

a brief guide to Essential Oils for Treating Itchy Bug Bites

Essential oils have proven to be an amazing treatment for a variety of ailments. Whether looking for a supplement for meditation and aromatherapy to boost the positive results of a straight out treatment for stress, anxiety, or other physical ailments, many different types of essential oils have been a boost for users. If you’re like me, you have multiple types of essential oils for a variety of uses around the house. When you find something that works, why wouldn’t you dive into it?

One of the major irritations that many of us use essential oils for are itchy bug bites. Whether from the summer mosquito swarms or other bugs that bite, sting, or otherwise cause irritation, the right essential oil can help you return to enjoying summer without that constant irritation that often comes with itchy bug bites.

There are many essential oils out there which have a reputation from the user with helping out essential oils, although at this point there have been very few laboratory controlled studies. Using the few that have been done and going over anecdotal and experiential evidence, here’s the “complete” list of popular essential oils aimed specifically at giving you natural relief from those pesky itchy bug bites!

essential oil dripping on finger

How to Use Essential Oils for Treatment

There are multiple options for how to use essential oils in skin treatment. There are sprays, lotions, adding select essential oils to bath water, but generally speaking, direct application is one of the best methods. Depending on the essential oil being used you’ll need to use mixtures or different percentages. Make sure to do a little bit of research, because as you most likely know, some essential oil options can be directly applied as is while there are others that can cause skin irritation and must be mixed with a carrier oil.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Sometimes referred to a bit oversimplified as “mint essential oil,” peppermint is one of my favorite essential oil fragrances. The crisp, energizing smell just seems to carry a feeling of freshness and possibility with it. Also commonly used for relieving swelling or pain, two things that can often also accompany itching with bug bites, peppermint is a great way to treat all of these. In addition to the surface issues, peppermint essential oil is a favorite when it comes to looking for anti-microbial agents, meaning it helps stop the risk of infection or spreading of the itching. For some bugs, the smell is enough to deter them away – what a bonus!1

essential oil bottle and lavender plant

Lavender Essential Oil

Is there anything this amazing and popular essential oil can’t do? Lavender seems to make the list of top essential oils no matter what the focus, and it’s hard to argue against the idea that lavender essential oils are the most versatile of them all! This soothing and gentle essential oil is one of the few that most people can apply directly to the skin undiluted without issue. A 2012 study showed lavender as a great option for being particularly happy with a wide array of bug bites.2 Lavender has been great for a wide variety of uses and is a fantastic gentle rub that can really help with itching.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

This is one you can be excused if you haven’t heard much about it. Tea tree essential oil is very niche but is a strong choice for anyone looking for an essential oil that is anti-itching, anti-swelling, and anti-microbial in nature. All of that means that in the right situation, this is a good option to help relieve certain types of pain, as well.

Tea tree essential oil works on a wide array of insect bites, and while you might need to search around a little bit more for tea tree, it’s a great option to have on hand when it comes to itching.

rosemary essential oil and plant

Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary oil is a powerful option that can be effective against itching from bug bites. The main factor behind rosemary essential oil that helps is the strong anti-inflammatory properties that prevent a growing irritation that often results in the itching that many individuals suffer from.

An important note: rosemary oil definitely needs to be diluted in a carrier oil before direct skin application, so if you are going with this for treating itching, then you need to be sure that it is blended prior to applying to your skin. Like any type of medical or supplemental body treatment, you want to make sure to do it right!

Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile has a reputation for its ability to calm, and that doesn’t just go with the oil. The plant itself and chamomile tea have long been known to be used as a calming agent in traditional medicine that helps to lessen both emotional and physical pain. This oil’s anti-inflammatory properties are great for stopping itching, swelling, and burning that come as a side effect of bug bites. This popular oil is an outstanding option for treating your bites.

lemongrass and green essential oil bottle on wood

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass has some nice little benefits that really help when dealing with the bug problem as a whole. Aside from the obvious benefit of being able to help with the actual itching, the pleasant but noticeable scent of lemongrass also has a reputation for helping to repel certain types of bugs in the first place. Add in the powerful anti-microbial features of this essential oil to help prevent infection from spreading and suddenly there’s a lot to love about everything this oil brings to the table.

Basil Essential Oil

Basil oil is a gentle anti-microbial essential oil that is great for treating bug bites. This herb is known for its anti-inflammatory treatments via essential oil. Basil oil has long been considered by many in the natural medicine world to be a natural insecticide, which once again gives the great benefit of preventing bug bite itching by making those bites far less likely in the first place!

bergamot on wooded background

Bergamot Essential Oil

If you don’t like direct skin application then a good aromatic solution is to look at bergamot essential oil. Most commonly used in air diffusers, bergamot is great at knocking down itching and other side effects due to environmental factors. Adding this to a home blend is a great way to boost your defense against itching.

Helichrysum Essential Oil

This is one of the least well known of the essential oils on this list, but if you can find it, you have a powerful force for killing the inflammation and allergic reactions in your body that cause the itching so common with so many bug bites. Helichrysum is expensive, so it is hard to find, but it can be both a short and longterm solution to help knock out itching from bug bites on multiple levels. Add in the anti-allergen and analgesic properties, as well as reducing inflammation, and if you can get a hold of this unusual option then you have a powerful tool to get rid of those pesky bug bite side effects.3

Thyme & Cloves Essential Oil

Another common and popular option, this one can work in the diffuser or with a mixed application to the skin, but it is a subtle worker that takes away many of the small side effects that come together to create a larger itch. If you are out of some of the more popular options on the list or feel the need to save them then it’s worth taking a look at Thyme and Clove essential oil options. While it was a limited initial study of a very small group, these two were the top options when it came to successfully deal with itching due to bug bites.4

It is worth knowing that at higher concentrations of 25% or more, the smell from these became a bit overpowering for some and so dilutions need to be carefully managed.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there is an impressive array of options when it comes to using the healing power of essential oils in order to eliminate itching from bug bites. From top to bottom there are options; whether it’s directly on the skin, through a diffuser, or both, there’s no reason to suffer in silence with all that itching when there are so many options available to help alleviate the problem.

Make sure to experiment as what works perfectly for some may not for someone else and vice-versa, but with this many options available, you are sure to find one that hits the mark!

Photo credits: NewAfrica/shutterstock.com, ASFoodstudio/shutterstock.com, DaniVincek/shutterstock.com, Ni_racha/shutterstock.com, TripleDStudio/shutterstock.com, namtipStudio/shutterstock.com


Rachel Donovan

By Rachel Donovan

Rachel is a freelance writer who enjoys writing and researching interesting and new topics. As a California native, she can be found spending her time on the beach with a good book.

Favorite MONQ blend: Ocean

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The above information relates to studies of specific individual essential oil ingredients, some of which are used in the essential oil blends for various MONQ diffusers. Please note, however, that while individual ingredients may have been shown to exhibit certain independent effects when used alone, the specific blends of ingredients contained in MONQ diffusers have not been tested. No specific claims are being made that use of any MONQ diffusers will lead to any of the effects discussed above.  Additionally, please note that MONQ diffusers have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. MONQ diffusers are not intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, prevention, or treatment of any disease or medical condition. If you have a health condition or concern, please consult a physician or your alternative health care provider prior to using MONQ diffusers. MONQ blends should not be inhaled into the lungs.

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