By Mark Piatt
Updated on April 13, 2021
Using essential oils for mosquito bites can be highly effective when used correctly, especially If you do not wish to use medications such as cortisone, antihistamine, or lotions loaded with chemicals.
If you are like me, I am a mosquito magnet and need respite from the constant itching and swelling from mosquito bites. I also seem to be allergic to everything. So, it comes as no surprise that when I get bit by a mosquito, my bites blow up like a balloon. I am also one of those people that like to go the natural route if it works.
There are many claims made about what essential oils can do, but many of those claims have no scientific basis and are dubious at best.
But when it comes to mosquito bites, essential oils can help in several different ways, not just relieving the itch. Essential oils can reduce the inflammation involved with the bite. Some essential oils may also help reduce the risk of infection because of their antimicrobial properties. These claims are backed up by science, including the CDC itself.
You also need to be aware that even though essential oils are natural, there are safety concerns when using essential oils.
Keep in mind that even though essential oils can bring relief from mosquito and other bug bites, for the most part, essential oils do not make a good insect repellent, such as DEET, for repelling mosquitoes. There are some exceptions, with caveats.
Information provided in this description is for educational purposes only. For possible treatments of physical or mental diseases, please seek a trained and licensed health professional. Enchanted Aromatics is not responsible for any adverse side effects resulting from the use of any suggestions, products, preparations, or procedures mentioned or from following historical uses of essential oils.
Top 9 essential oils for mosquito bites
|Essential Oil||Good For|
|Camphor||Warming sensation that conceals itchiness|
|Chamomile||Soothing, itchiness, anti-inflammatory|
|Lavender||Reduce pain, itchiness|
|Lemon Eucalyptus||Itchiness, irritations|
|Peppermint||Burning, stinging, itchiness, antimicrobial|
|Rosemary||Reduce pain, anti-inflammatory|
|Tea Tree||Antimicrobial, antihistamine, swelling, itchiness|
Facts about using essential oils for mosquito bites
- Since essential oils are highly concentrated, do not apply to the skin without first diluting the essential oil or there may be undesirable side effects.
- Although some essential oils may be good at treating mosquito bites, they may not be as effective compared to oral antihistamines and topical corticosteroids for some people.
- People who suffer from asthma need to be cautious when using essential oils because some essential oils can trigger asthma attacks in some individuals.
- Essential oils for mosquito bites are not FDA regulated.
Is using essential oils for mosquito bites backed up by science?
Just like various herbal remedies, most of the essential oil treatments you read about on the internet for treating mosquito bites are based on personal experiences and anecdotal evidence. The main reason for this is that extracting essential oils is not patentable. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies are not interested in conducting studies on the effectiveness of essential oils. Instead, they prefer to sell their patentable drugs.
But numerous studies have found more than 90 essential oils have compounds in them that may make them suitable for dermatological use in some circumstances. But from my research, there have not been any clinical studies done on the effects of essential oils on mosquito bites that I can find. There are however quite a few studies about essential oils on various skin issues, which could be applied to mosquito bites. Here are a few such studies.
- In the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, a study conducted on mice was published in 2013 that showed Basil “exerted significant anti-inflammatory effects, likely related to its main compounds.”
- at PubMed, a controlled clinical study on humans was published in 2011 comparing chamomile to hydrocortisone 1% for treating Parastomal skin Lesions in colostomy patients. The results of the study indicate that people treated with Chamomile healed faster compared to people treated with hydrocortisone.
- In the journal “BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies”, a study was published in 2016 which examined the molecular properties of Lavender on skin healing. The results of the study indicate skin wounds that were treated with lavender were significantly decreased compared to non-treated areas of the wounds. Since lavender works so well for treating various skin issues, using lavender oil for mosquito bites will probably be fairly effective.
- In the journal “Clinical Microbiology Reviews”, a study was published in 2016 which examined the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of Tea Tree essential oil. This study and others indicate Tea Tree Oil does have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. But there is still a lack of clinical evidence demonstrating its effectiveness. Larger randomized clinical studies need to be conducted to nail down the effectiveness of Tea Tree Oil. But Tea Tree oil for bug bites is another essential oil that is promoted across many websites.
- A 2016 study published in Dovepress looked at the effectiveness of applying Peppermint essential oil for the treatment of chronic pruritus in 50 patients, which causes a great deal of itching. The study found there was a significant improvement in the itchiness caused by pruritus in all subjects. Based on this study, Peppermint essential oil for bug bites may be effective. This claim is also made on many websites promoting Peppermint essential oil for bug bites.
How to use essential oils on mosquito bites
When applying essential oils directly to the bite area, you never want to apply the essential oil directly because the essential oil may cause burns and other various skin reactions. You need to dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil first.
When choosing a carrier oil, there are 4 things you need to think about.
- Odor: Some carrier oils have a distinct odor that may alter the aroma of your essential oil.
- Absorption: Carrier oils can all be absorbed through the skin at different rates.
- Your skin type: For some people, some oils may irritate your skin or make your condition worse. This is true for both carrier oils and essential oils.
- Shelf life: Different carrier oils have different shelf lives. The same is true with essential oils.
When looking for a carrier oil, get one that has been cold-pressed and is 100% pure. Some of the more popular carrier oils include Coconut, Jojoba, Apricot Kernel, Sweet Almond, Olive, Argan, Rosehip, Black Seed, Grape Seed, Avocado, and Sunflower.
A word of caution though is if you are allergic to nuts, do not use a carrier oil derived from nuts. This includes Sweet Almond oil, Argan oil, and Apricot Kernel oil.
To dilute your essential oils, you can follow these general guidelines:
|Percent Dilution||# of drops of|
|.5% - 1%||3-6||6 teaspoons|
Fill a spray bottle with water. For each ounce of water, add 2-3 drops of essential oil and 2-3 drops of carrier oil. Since water and oil do not mix, be sure to shake your bottle before spraying on the affected area.
Either use a double boiler or use a pot filled with water and place a mason jar in it. Add beeswax to your double boiler or mason jar and add 2-3 drops of essential oil to every ounce of beeswax. Mix with a spoon until melted. Pour the mix into whatever container you wish to use. The salve should last for about 1 year.
If your body is covered with bites, you could try taking an essential oil bath. Add about 15 drops into your bath water and let the essential oil do its magic as you soak. An added benefit will be the wonderful smell of your essential oils.
Safety about using essential oils for mosquito bites
Avoid applying essential oils to sensitive areas such as eyes, ears, genitals, and mucous membranes.
Applying too much essential oil or too often may increase the risk for adverse reactions such as skin irritation, allergic contact dermatitis (delayed hypersensitivity), or contact urticaria (immediate hypersensitivity).
If after using the essential oil you observe redness, itching, burning or pain, hives, or blisters, wash the affected area and avoid using essential oils on that area.
In rare cases, a person can go into anaphylactic shock after being exposed to essential oils. This can include swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, or difficulty in breathing. This can be a medical emergency. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
Why using essential oils for mosquito repellent is not a good idea?
Mosquitos carry dangerous diseases and pathogens such as Zika virus, West Nile virus, Lyme disease, Chikungunya virus, Dengue, Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Encephalitis.
When dealing with something this dangerous, you want a repellent that is known to work and whose trustworthiness is backed up by the Environmental Protection Agency.
There has not been any reliable research on the effectiveness of essential oils in repelling mosquitos or other biting critters.
This is not to say that no essential oils will repel mosquitos. There is some evidence that Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil and tea tree oil may repel mosquitos, but their effectiveness is unknown and the amount of time they will effectively repel mosquitos is also unknown. But the CDC does acknowledge that Lemon Eucalyptus does provide some protection.
Other natural remedies for mosquito bites
Crushed ice – This can reduce inflammation and temporarily stop the itch. The itch will, unfortunately, come back once you remove the ice.
Honey – can reduce inflammation and will reduce your temptation from scratching, unless you want sticky’s all over your fingers.
Aloe Vera – can help promote healing and reduce the itch.
Baking soda – make a paste with baking soda and water and apply it to the affected area for 10 minutes. Should help reduce the itching.
Vinegar – can help reduce itching and irritation.
Witch hazel – reduces inflammation, and soothes the burning and itching sensation.
Currently, the jury is still out on whether using essential oils for mosquito bites is effective at treating the itch and swelling. For me, I usually use hydrocortisone or an Aloe Vera cream. But starting this summer I am going to experiment with essential oils. If I can find a natural essential oil treatment that is effective at reducing my discomfort, then that is the route I am going to take. I will post an addendum to this article with what I find.
If you are looking for high-quality essential oils, we invite you to check out our line of essential oils. They are 100% pure, unadulterated, and have been tested for their purity.