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The solution to the dreaded post-mosquito bite itch is not a cream.
Many popular anti-itch creams are filled with problematic toxins.
The toxic-free solution is…heat therapy!
Are you every mosquito’s favorite person? If so, you’ve won the genetic lottery like I have!
Apparently, mosquitos are drawn to certain people:
Not surprisingly—since, after all, mosquitoes bite us to harvest proteins from our blood—research shows that they find certain blood types more appetizing than others. One study found that in a controlled setting, mosquitoes landed on people with Type O blood nearly twice as often as those with Type A. People with Type B blood fell somewhere in the middle of this itchy spectrum. Additionally, based on other genes, about 85 percent of people secrete a chemical signal through their skin that indicates which blood type they have, while 15 percent do not, and mosquitoes are also more attracted to secretors than nonsecretors regardless of which type they are.
I’m Type O, and I’d bet my salary on the fact that I’m also one of the 85% of people who secrete that “chemical signal.” I can be sitting with 10 other people and be the only one who gets attacked. Yippee!
Why I Don’t Use Popular Anti-Itch Creams
Growing up, anti-itch creams were my go-to. However, they never really worked. Sure, they’d stop the itch a tad, but no brand stopped the itch completely.
A few years ago, I stopped applying any cream, toner, or makeup product to my skin without first checking it’s toxicity score on Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.
(To learn more about my process of selecting toxin-free products, check out my previous posts “Toxic Skincare and Makeup: Are Your Products Safe?” and “Nontoxic Makeup Exists…And It’s Incredible!”)
When I searched Skin Deep to find the rating for Benadryl’s Extra Strength Itch Stopping Cream, no rating popped up. Thus, I created my own! (You can do the same for any product by visiting https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ and selecting “Build Your Own Report” in the top right corner of the page.)
According to my results, Benadryl’s antihistamine cream scores a 4 (on a scale of 0-10), which is not terrible, but it’s also not great.
Generally, I only buy products that score a 0-2 or are EWG Verified™. Products in the 0-2 range contain few (if any!) ingredients of concern, but EWG Verified™ items are the golden standard because they’re completely toxin-free.
(For more information on finding EWG Verified™ products, visit my prior post “Finding EWG Verified™ Products Using Their Awesome App”.)
One of the product’s “high concerns” is endocrine disruption, which means it could potentially disrupt the body’s natural hormones. No thanks!
The itch cream’s most concerning ingredients are propylparaben and diazolidinyl urea. (Say that three times fast!)
As you can see, these ingredients have been linked not only to endocrine disruption but also to allergies/immunotoxicity, cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, and ecotoxicology (environmental harm).
My constant thought when it comes to creams, skincare, and makeup is this: If safer, toxin-free alternatives exist (which they do!), why apply the more toxic varieties to my skin?
So, on to the moment everyone has been waiting for (drum roll please)…
How to Stop a Mosquito Bite from Itching Without a Cream
You’re not going to believe this, but the answer is:
Bet you didn’t see that one coming!
Once you use a hairdryer on your bite, you’ll never buy a cream again!
An article in Lifehacker explains this high-heat phenomenon:
When mosquitoes bite you, they inject proteins under your skin to keep your blood from clotting. It’s this protein that causes you to itch, but it can’t survive at the moderately high temperatures . . . The bump might linger for a few days, but the uncomfortable itching should be gone for good!
Simply apply heat (as much as you can stand!) to the bite for as long as you can tolerate. I like to blow hot air on the bite in an up-down, circular fashion. When applying the heat, the bite will burn/itch like crazy, but, if you do it for long enough, you should stop the itch for ~12 hours. Once it starts itching again, just bust out your hairdryer (aka new BFF!) again.
If you don’t own a hairdryer, you can heat up a metal spoon (by running it under hot water for a few minutes) OR soak a wash cloth in hot water and apply either one to the bite.
Apparently, the heat method works for all sorts of uncomfortable bites/stings, so feel free to try it for relief from any insect-induced itch, burn, or pain.
Bottom line: Mosquitos (and other insects) are here to stay, but their post-bite misery can go! Don’t apply a toxin-filled anti-itch cream to your skin; instead, stop a mosquito bite from itching with heat!
⇒ To optimize every aspect of your health, visit My Favorite Things! There, you’ll find links to healthy packaged foods, toxin-free products, and overall wellness boosters.