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5 Things for Bug Bites and Itches

Summertime can mean bug bites and itchy hives, but rather than heading out and buying a solution, why not make your own at home? Here are 5 natural remedies you can make to cure that itchy skin.

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Insect Repellent

The best way to treat bites is to avoid getting bitten in the first place. But forget spraying poisons on yourself. The essential ingredients of this insect repellent have been shown in studies to keep away stinging insects – notably, mosquitoes. Keep in mind, however, that if you live in an area with a high rate of mosquito-transmitted diseases, you may need stronger protection.

What You’ll Need: 
15-20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
15-20 drops lemon essential oil
15-20 drops lemongrass essential oil
15-20 drops citronella essential oil
30 ml carrier oil (olive oil or any massage oil)

What to Do: 
1. In a small jug, mix the essential oils with the carrier oil.
2. Put into a spray bottle and use as needed. Do not use on small children or infants.

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Honey Ointment

The honey in this ointment serves as a humectant to draw in moisture, which helps to ease the skin irritation produced by eczema and dermatitis.

What You’ll Need:
30 g grated beeswax
1 cup (250 ml) untoasted sesame oil
⅓ cup (115 g) honey
1 capsule vitamin E, 500 IU
60 drops rose, geranium, chamomile, lavender or bergamot essential oils in any combination

What to Do:
1. In the top of a double boiler over low heat, melt the beeswax, stirring occasionally. Stir in sesame oil. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then add honey. Pierce the vitamin E capsule and squeeze in contents. Add up to 60 drops of essential oils.
2. Pour the mixture into a clean jar or jars with tight-fitting lids and use as needed to keep skin smooth and hydrated.

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Essential Oil Itch Soother

Instead of messy, expensive anti-itch salves, try this homemade soother, which can be made cheaply.

What You’ll Need:
1 drop lavender, rose, chamomile or tea-tree essential oil
cold water

What to Do:
1. Fill a bowl with enough cold water to moisten a small washcloth or cotton pad. Swirl the essential oil through the water, then soak the cloth or pad.
2. Squeeze gently to remove any excess water and apply the cloth to the skin. Hold in place with your hand for as long as possible, or cover with plastic wrap and leave in place for about 1 hour.

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Oatmeal Bath for Hives

Oatmeal bath products are famously good for soothing the skin. Now you can make your own.

What You’ll Need:
1 handful rolled oats
½ handful dry milk powder
½ handful chamomile
¼ handful calendula and/or lavender
double-layer square of muslin (cheesecloth)

What to Do:
1. Place the oats, milk, chamomile and calendula or lavender on the muslin (cheesecloth) square. Tie the ends together to make a bag.
2. Run a warm (not hot) bath. Put the bag under the spout while the water is running. Leave it in the bath and allow the water to cool. (If the water is too hot, it will make the hives worse.)
3. Get into the tub and soak, squeezing the bag over your skin to reduce itching.

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Anti-Itching Solution for Hives

You can buy pricey salves at the chemist to tame the itching of hives, but this easy solution is also effective.

What You’ll Need:
20-30 drops lavender essential oil
bowl of cold water

What to Do: 
1. Stir the lavender essential oil into the bowl of cold water.
2. Dip a cloth into the liquid and apply directly to the hives to reduce inflammation.