Nothing says summer like beach trips, burgers on the grilland mosquito bites.
When a mosquito bites you, it deposits a little bit of its saliva into your skin.
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The proteins in the saliva spark a mild allergic reaction from your immune system, which leads to rednes and itching, says New York-based medical and cosmetic dermatologist Sapna Westley, M.D.
Youre probably tempted to scratch, but Scratching an Itch Only Makes It Worse.
Thats because when you pick or scratch at your skin, your body liberates compounds from your immune system that create more swelling and itching, says Dr. Westley.
Instead, allay your skin with these 6 tips below.
1. Calamine lotion
The bubblegum-colored lotion, which is made of zinc oxide, is your first line of defense for mildly itchy mosquito bites.
When the lotion comes in contact with your skin, it creates a cooling sensation that temporarily allays itching and pain, says Dr. Westley.
Calamine lotion doesnt work to reduce inflammation though, so it wont actually help heal your bite.
You can use it on its own if its enough to construct you comfortable, but you can also mix it with other cares, like hydrocortisone cream or antihistamines, Dr. Westley says( see below ).
That intends once the lotion wears off( typically after a couple of hours ), youll probably start to itch again.
How to use it : b> Apply a thin layer over the affected area and reapply as needed.
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2. Hydrocortisone cream
If calamine lotion doesnt stop your scratching, try an over-the-counter hydrocortisone salve or ointment that contains 1 percent hydrocortisone, recommends Dr. Westley.
They contain corticosteroids to reduce rednes, redness, and swellingwhich ease itching as well as help your bite heal faster.
If an OTC cream isnt get the job done, medical doctors can prescribe a stronger prescription cream.
How to use it : b> Apply a thin layer over the affected area up to twice a day, or as prescribed by medical doctors.
Just dont go crazy with it: Overuse of hydrocortisone cream can actually construct your skin more irritated and lead to discoloration.
If youre itchy in between applications, you can use calamine lotion, Dr. Westley says.
3. Oral antihistamine
Taking an oral antihistamine( like Benadryl) can give you all-over aid by pacifying your body response to histamines, or itch-causing compounds.
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Theyre especially good for when youre be very difficult sleep, since they construct you drowsy, says Dr. Westley.
If you want to take antihistamines during the day, look for a non-drowsy formula designed to be taken during the day, like Claritin or Zyrtec.
How to use them : b> Follow the dosing sum on the product label or medical doctors educations.
Taking more wont alleviate your symptoms faster, and could put you at risk for side effects like nausea or vomiting, drowsiness, rapid heartbeat, and even seizures.
The cold is vasoconstricting, so it reduces the amount of blood flowing to the bite region to reduce swelling and itching, Dr. Westley says.
Like calamine lotion, you can use it to get extra aid in between other cares, like hydrocortisone cream, she says.
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How to use it : b> Fill a zip-top bag with ice, wrap the bag in a kitchen towel or cloth, and apply to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes, recommends Dr. Westley.
Repeat as needed, up to once an hour.
5. Cold tea bag
Like ice, a tea bag soaked in cold water will reduce blood flowing to the surface of your skin to take down swelling and ease itchiness.
But tea also contains additional vasoconstricting properties, like compounds called tannins as well as caffeine, Dr. Westley says.( Use black tea, since it contains the most of these .)
So you might find that its more soothing than plain ice.
How to use it : b> Dunk a tea bag in very cold water until the bag is amply soaked through.
Gently squeeze the tea bag to remove extravagance liquid, and apply to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes, Dr. Westley says. Repeat as needed.
6. Oatmeal bath
Oatmeal contains pacifying properties that moisturize skin and lower its pH degree, which allays irritation and reduces itching, Dr. Westley says.
How to use it: Try this on its own, or while youre waiting for your antihistamine to kick in.
Finely grind 1 cup of rolled oatmeal in a blender or food processor to make a flour-like powder, and scatter in a tepid bath.( Grinding the oats makes it easier for the pacifying compounds to penetrate your skin .)
Soak in the bath for 10 minutes, Dr. Westley says.
This article originally apepared on MensHealth.com .