Health + Beauty


Both Clara and I must have super-delicious skin, because we get bitten no matter where we are. We’re talking mosquitoes, gnats, and horseflies. I’ve tried preventative measures, like citronella candles and all kinds of natural sprays, but they never seem to work. Besides, I don’t like the smell of so many of these lotions and potions. You could say that finding the remedy that works to take away the itch, once we get the bite, without stinging us so much that we’d rather itch, has become a bit of an obsession. Here are several I’ve found that seem effective, although each comes with its own caveat:

Favorite Balms and Salves:

Some of the best remedies I’ve found are balms and salves, meaning they’re made with an oil base, which stains when it comes into contact with clothing, walls or furniture. I love these products because they contain no alcohol or stinging agents, so I can put them on without any cries from Clara. The fuss comes from dad, though, when he finds the stains all over the house and on her clothes. So I try to use these when I know we’re going to be outside, and with clothes where a little grease mark won’t matter. Here are our favorites in this category:

Ditch That Itch: We found this at one of our favorite NYC store, Kiosk, which carries some of the best products around. Its main ingredient is chickweed.

Tara’s Herbs: When I started to look online for other chickweed options (hoping to turn up one that wasn’t a balm), I discovered Laura Lago, a teacher and practitioner of herbal medicine, who makes her own products. And while her chickweed ointment does contain oils (coconut, olive, almond), it’s a great option within this category, because it also works for diaper rash, eczema, and skin rashes.

Favorite Non-Balms:

Sovereign Silver First Aid Gel:This may be my favorite, actually, although I just fell in love with it a couple of weeks ago, so by the end of summer I might have some stipulations. This gel doesn’t sting when you put it on–it’s made from colloidal silver. It seems to mitigate any sting, immediately, on myself, and on Clara. It also works very well on making zits disappear overnight.

Bitecare Gel: This works well if there’s no open wound. Otherwise, it will bring on cries and yelps, as it does contain some alcohol, which can sting. I use this on Clara the second we’re bitten and hope that it will take away itch. If she keeps itching and creates an open wound, we move into a balm situation. When I put this on immediately after getting bit, it seems to stop the itch completely.

Topricin Junior: No grease or sting, but it doesn’t seem to completely eliminate the itch, which means we end up re-applying it often. It is made up of many homeopathic ingredients, with no parabens or alcohol.

EMUgency First Aid Spray: This doesn’t sting, and seems to take away the itch. It isn’t greasy, but it does have a yellow tint, so keep it away from clothing. We keep this in the car, the house, and the travel kit, because it seems to help with lots of issues (burns, cuts, etc) besides bites. It contains manuka, neem, and tea tree oil, in addition to the emu oil–all ingredients that are unusual, and very effective.

Homeopathic Remedy:
We always keep the Apis Mellifica remedy on hand, and it seems to help take away the seemingly uncontrollable urge to scratch. It’s a remedy that works for many issues, but with its Latin name translating to honeybee, it makes sense that one of its primary uses is for stinging and itching.

Tell us what works for you…we all have such different skin, so it’s good to have an arsenal of ideas to try!


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Comments (3)


  1. Posted by: jsohn

    thanks for the great list. especially grateful since I’m currently itching 20+bites from a rooftop party this weekend!

  2. Posted by: Hayley

    I used to get bit like crazy visiting my cousins in Wyoming growing up. They liked my California skin. The best remedy EVER is aspirin. Take a non-coated aspirin tablet and mash it up into a powder. Mix with cold water [or rub an ice cube on the bite] and make an aspirin paste. Put it on and let it dry & harden. Works amazingly.

  3. Posted by: Megan

    vicks vapor rub if you put a little on the bite it takes the itch away! something about the menthol

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