Written by Salma Dawood, Nutritionist BSc
During the hot summer months, we are more prone to insect bites, as we are more exposed to insects such as mosquitos, ants, bees, wasps, you name it! Whether it’s a stroll in a park, relaxing by the campfire, or sitting outside in the garden, we are bound to get an insect bite here and there. Instead of running to the nearest over-the-counter ointment, try aloe vera for insect bites - a natural, yet effective treatment.
Adverse reactions occur due to insect bites, causing histamines releasing in the body. These histamines gather around the toxin near the skin, in order to remove the irritant left from the stinger of the insect. The histamine release causes itchiness and redness, and often the tell-tale ‘bump’ of the insect bite.
Those painful, red itchy bumps can get irritating! How will aloe vera reduce the nuisance of an insect bite? What is the best way to treat bites using this magical gel? Keep reading to discover why aloe vera is the number one staple to have in your suitcase this summer.
How aloe vera for insect bites works
Vitamin & Mineral Powerhouse
Aloe vera is a powerful antibacterial plant, which contains over 100 phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. These all work in synergy to effectively soothe irritation from a bite, whilst preventing an infection from occurring due to its antiseptic properties.
One specific compound, acemannan, has been shown to enhance the body’s immune system, by increasing the T-cell count. These T-cells work to help fight harmful toxins, such as those introduced by insect bites.
Aloe vera contains a multitude of anti-inflammatory compounds, such as lidocaine, which work to reduce swelling and inflammation caused by a wound. This will help accelerate the healing of the skin due to an insect bite.
Soothing & Anti-itch
Nothing is more bothersome than an itchy insect bite! Aloe vera gel can be used to provide immediate relief from an insect bite, by soothing the skin and reducing discomfort and itching. The vitamin E found in abundance in aloe vera gel contributes to soothing the skin and reducing redness.
Hydrating & Moisturizing:
Since dry skin can worsen itching, it is essential to keep your skin moisturized. Aloe vera gel locks in moisture and prevents cracking from dryness.
Aloe vera gel can provide immediate pain relief, due to the presence of glycoproteins. These anti-inflammatory compounds work to reduce swelling and soothe the skin to minimize discomfort.
The best way to treat an insect bite using aloe vera
Before applying aloe vera to the bite, it is recommended to go through these steps to speed up healing:
1) Clean the affected area thoroughly, using a mild antiseptic and warm water.
2) Apply a refrigerated, dampened tea bag over the affected area to provide rapid anti-inflammatory relief.
3) Clean the area once again with warm water and a mild soap.
4) Dry the affected area, and apply a thin layer of aloe vera gel to the skin. Leave to air dry. In order to reduce the size of the bump, consider leaving your aloe vera gel in the refrigerator. The cooling effect will help calm down any inflammation and swelling.
Use this method several times a day until the itching and swelling subsides.
An alternative usage of aloe vera for insect bites
An alternative and convenient way to apply aloe vera onto a wound or bite is by making your own liquid spray. Create aloe vera spray by mixing equal parts of water and aloe vera gel in a blender. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle, and keep in your camping bag for when you need immediate relief. Ditch the store-bought, chemical-filled options, and choose aloe vera for its wonderful natural healing properties.
Aloe Vera for Insect Bites
~ Written by Salma Dawood, Nutritionist BSc