Summers are always a busy time for me. And by busy, I mean terrible. Terrible as in right now I’m covered neck-to-ankle in bug bites, just like the summer before, and the summer before ad infinitum. My archenemy, the mosquito, has tormented me for years...and I'm mad! Also itchy and exhausted. I wish I could talk my way out of a bite (“uh, heyyy... you’re sooo cute but the timing is sooo bad for me right now”). But men don't listen. I mean mosquitoes! Definitely talking about mosquitoes.
I haven’t cracked the code on how to prevent mosquito bites entirely, but powerful fans and DEET certainly help (natural options don’t work for me, I need the hard stuff). I’m much better at finding ways to soothe my skin and get rid of redness post-bite. This is not nothing. Let me walk you through my process.
Skip the scrubs
While this is antithetical to my religion (the religion of smooth skin, we meet in J. Lo’s Instagram comments), even I lay off on exfoliants when I’m covered in bites. I’m talking scrubs, rough loofahs, those hand mitts that make your legs oh-so-soft, and liquid exfoliants—anything with lactic or glycolic acid in the name. They are entirely too irritating and make my bites super red. My bites don’t deserve the glamour of red.
Become a person who talks about aloe all the time
I used to dot calamine lotion on my bites. I think aloe is way better. Call me crazy! I find it incredibly soothing, to the point where I sometimes forget I have a bite to scratch at all. My mom tells me that I should buy a little aloe plant and rub the leaves over my skin. Unfortunately I’m a plant killer and rub this gel instead.
Use an ice cream pint (recommendation: Big Gay Ice Cream’s American Globs or Blueberry Gobbler), an ice pack, or a fancy roller. Leave it on your bite until it’s nice and numb. You’ll itch less for a little bit, and isn’t it lucky that you now have ice cream to eat?
Yes, you can scratch!
But only in a dumb I-don’t-know-how-fingers-work sort of way. I scratch the perimeter—never the center—of my bites with my knuckles. Sometimes I lightly rub or tap my bites, too. This loophole gives me some sweet satisfaction without triggering redness and inflammation.
Got a big bite? Cortisone creams and antihistamines are your big guns and make bites less huge and itchy. I personally prefer more holistic treatments, but I’m not above creamy medicated scratch relief every now and then. The cortisone starts working immediately, as advertised! The antihistamines have a less immediate effect (give it an hour or so), but once my Allegra kicks in, it lasts and lasts and lasts. Until tomorrow, at least.
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