Bed bugs, unlike fleas, lice, and other nuisance insects, are attracted to open skin. And even when their bites leave not marks (which often is the case), you will wake up itchy, itchy, itchy on the very spot they bit you.
Besides taking measures to kill off the beg bug population that is booming in and around your mattress, you may also wish to look into using an anti bed bug lotion. It won’t solve your problem by itself, but it can ward off at least some of those “vampires of the mattress” and help you get a good night’s sleep (for once!).
There are a number of possible anti bed bug creams and lotions to choose from that will give you some relief. Read on to find out more about them.
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If you read the online reviews, or talk to people who’ve tried it in person off line too, you’ll find they’re quite mixed on anti bed bug lotions. Partly, that’s because there are different lotions (some more/less effective), and partly, because there are different bed bugs (some more/less immune to particular lotions.)
In general, understand that there are lotions out there that are quite effective at killing bed bug bite itch, and some that will at least minimize the chances of getting more bites or of getting large numbers of bites in a single night.
The most basic “lotion” you can use isn’t a lotion at all. It’s just plain soap. Take a bar of soap, wet it, and rub it till you create a thick lather on your hands. Then smear that soapy lather over your bed bug bites. Rub it in hard, and don’t rinse it off: just let it dry where it is. That will give some anti-itch relief, believe it or not.
Read on to learn about specific bed bug lotions and how they can be an effective tool in your ongoing war against bed bugs.
For Your Body
There are as many chemicals and substances unpleasant to bed bugs as there are unpleasant to people, so it isn’t surprising that a host of anti bed bug lotions exist. Some of these are natural, some are re-purposed household products, and others you may need to buy just for the occasion.
Here are some of the most commonly used anti bed bug lotions, repellents, and itch soothers:
- Mix witch hazel lotion with organic apple cider vinegar. This is an all-natural anti-itch lotion for bed bug bites.
- Aloe vera gel/lotion placed on bite areas can help you avoid scars later on, if you put it on right away. If you can’t see a bite mark, just rub aloe vera on the “itch spot.”
- Mix essential oils, such as lavender or rosemary, with rubbing alcohol. Then rub it on your bed and on your self to act as a bed bug repellent.
- Make a paste from ordinary baking soda and water to cover a bed bug bite rash and soothe the pain. After it dries on your skin, peel it off. You can also use oatmeal (but get the powdered or “Scottish” variety.)
- Lemon juice, with or without witch hazel in it, can also help fight the itch.
- Rubbing alcohol alone or diluted with water, applied to exposed areas of your skin before you sleep, can help keep the bed bugs away.
- Calendula creams can help ward off the bed bugs. If you’ve never heard of it, look for it in the band aid aisle. It is used to disinfect minor wounds in those with weak immune systems (besides to protect people from bed bug bite wounds.)
- Bathing with chamomile soap just before bed may also repel bed bugs. We doubt if drinking the tea will do as much, whatever other health benefits that may get you.
We should also mention that simply rubbing an ice cube on the bite will numb that unpleasant sensation, and that you can take oral antihistamines or pain relievers to help as well.
But if you want to know about calamine lotion and topical medications, read the next two sections.
You may, perhaps, have had your complaints about calamine lotion in the past, but then again, you probably never used it as an anti bed bug lotion.
All studies and experts seem to agree that mosquito repellent won’t repel bed bugs. Bed bugs are a bit more determined to suck your blood than are mosquitoes, it seems, and will crawl up and sit right in the repellent while biting as usual.
Calamine lotion can help you against bed bugs in the following ways:
- Repel at least some bed bugs, to lower your bite count if not eliminate it.
- Cut down on the itch of existing bites.
- Dry out rashes caused by bed bug bites and heal them, faster than otherwise.
- Tones bed bugs’ skin to bring out its natural beauty. Just kidding.
Medicated topically applied creams are not going to keep the bed bugs from biting. But they will definitely help get rid of the itch.
A steroidal anti-itch cream, bought over the counter, can do very nicely. Look for something with hydrocortisone or cortisone as an active ingredient.
With a doctor’s prescription, you could get even more powerful relief, from a heftier cortico-steroidal cream. And if itching and swelling is bad and continues for a week or two, better see your doctor.
Some medications to consider buying include:
- Cortizone 10 or any other similar cream containing cortico-steroids, as mentioned already.
- Anti-itch creams that contain pramoxine or dephendrydramine. These are good if your rash is “tender.”
- Creams/lotions with benzyl alcohol as the active ingredient. These are great for immediate itch relief.
- Alka-seltzer. Yep. Dip a piece of cotton into a rather thicker than usual Alka-seltzer-and-water solution, then rub it on your itchy areas for relief.
- Benadryl or another oral antihistamine to relief pain and itching. Take it before bed since it can cause drowsiness.
The Top 3 Lotions I Can Buy
What are the top three anti bed bug lotions?
That’s a very opinionated matter, of necessity, but we’ll go out on the proverbial limb and recommend these three:
- Calamine Lotion: We feel this natural solution is easily accessible to most, even if many don’t already have it in the house, and works as well as anything at repelling bed bugs and healing their bites.
- Calendula Cream: This is much in the category of calamine lotion, but just a bit harder to find. If you do find it, however, it’s a good one.
- Hydrocortisone Cream: This is only good for fighting the itch, not for warding off the biters. But it’s great at what it does.
I Want the Best Bed Bug Lotion
If you are just going to use one anti bed bug bite lotion, we would again site our top pick: calamine lotion.
But, the real story is that you are going to have to experiment a little to see which anti bed bug cream or lotion or homemade solution works best for you.
In sum, we can say that having a good anti bed bug bite and anti bed bug itch cream/lotion on hand is great. It’s a good piece of the puzzle, a true weapon in your anti bed bug arsenal.
But we can’t say that just putting some cream on at night will kill all the bed bugs that have been bothering you or that it will 100% for sure prevent all new bites. The effectiveness on stopping the itch is much more solid, though.
Combine calamine lotion for prevention with a hydrocortisone cream for existing bites and any few new ones that the calamine doesn’t stop, and we feel that’s about the best approach you can take. But a hundred other specific strategies could be cobbled together as well, and who knows if one of those would work best for any particular bed bug beguiled individual?
You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.