From time to time, we all get an uncomfortable itch. But if the itching is persistent, it might turn out to be something called scabies.
Scabies is a skin disease that can make your life difficult. It’s estimated that over 300 million people around the world are infected every year. Seems scary, right?
If you suspect that you have scabies, don’t wait. Go and consult your doctor. Since scabies is highly contagious, you might infect your closest friends and family if you don’t get treated.
If by unfortunate circumstances you have been diagnosed with scabies, you are probably anxious. You shouldn’t be. Scabies is completely curable. To help you, I’ve compiled a list of home remedies for scabies that will ease your suffering.
But first, let me introduce you the culprit behind this disease.
What Causes scabies?
There’s a tiny mite called the Sarcoptes scabiei, known as the human itch mite. It has eight legs, a cream-colored body, bristles, and spines. The mite is so small that it looks like a speck if you look at it with naked eyes. This mite is a parasite, and it needs a host to live. In this case, you are the unfortunate host.
What happens after you get the parasite?
The female mite creates a tunnel in your skin. And then it deposits its eggs there. After 3-4 days, the eggs hatch and the larvae find their way to the surface of your skin. They mature for about 10-15 day. The new mites might spread to other parts of your skin or other hosts.
But what do they do afterward?
While the male mites remain on the surface on your skin, the females burrow into your skin to lay the eggs. And the whole cycle starts again. Sounds disgusting, I know.
If you ask yourself how many times this cycle can be repeated, the answer is - indefinitely. These parasites are not affected by soap and water. No matter how stubbornly you scrub yourself, you can’t remove them.
Moreover, you can infect other people with them. How is scabies spread, you ask? The mites can’t jump, but they can move from one person to another if you have direct, long, physical contact. For example:
Holding hands for an extended period
Sharing towels or clothes because the mites can live up to 36 hours without a host
People who have the highest risk for getting scabies include:
Children at school or daycare and their parents
People with weak immune system
Sexually active people with multiple partners
Animals can also get scabies, but it’s not the same mite that infects humans. You might experience some mild reaction if you get in contact with animal mites. But you shouldn’t worry for your health if your cat or dog has the parasite.
Signs and Symptoms of Scabies
When you get infected with scabies, your body reacts to the present of the mites. It also reacts to their saliva, feces, and eggs. If this is your first exposure to the scabies mite, the symptoms will appear in 2-6 weeks. In subsequent infections, your immune system reacts quickly. Symptoms might appear after 1-4 days. Typical symptoms of scabies are:
Severe and intense itching. It gets worse at night or after a hot bath. You can also have an itch at places where there are no mites.
A lumpy red rash on the tights, the stomach, buttock, armpits.
Burrow tracks – short, silver lines with a black dot at the end. These burrow marks may appear anywhere on the body. Most commonly you can find them between the fingers and the toes, on the palms of your hand, around the genital area, the breasts, the waist, on the soles of your feet and elbows.
Sores. They appear if you scratch at the infested area.
Thick crusts. These appear in cases of a severe form of scabies called Norwegian scabies. Infected people exhibit thick, gray, crumbling crust in which hundreds or even thousands mites live.
In babies and young children infected areas also include:
Palms and soles
Remember that you can spread the mites long before you know that you’re infected.
How to Treat Scabies?
The usual treatment for scabies includes permethrin cream. This is an insecticide that kills the scabies mites. But shouldn’t be the only one treated for scabies. All people with whom you’ve had close contact should also be treated even if there are no symptoms present.
Also, there are numerous home remedies for scabies that you can try to relieve the itching and the pain. But which are the most effective ones? Let’s see.
1. Neem Oil has Anti-Bacterial Properties
Neem oil is an old remedy for numerous skin conditions, including scabies. But why is it effective, you ask? Well, it acts as a natural pesticide, and it has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungus properties. Moreover, it influences the reproducing cycle of the scabies mites so that they can’t grow or breed.
There are several ways to use neem oil to battle scabies mite.
pure neem oil
1/8 cup of liquid soap
a hot bath
a neem-based cream
Add several tablespoons of neem oil in a bowl.
Add 1/8 cup of liquid soap.
Add the mixture to your hot bath.
Soak in the bath for 15-20 minutes.
Apply a neem cream after the bath (optional)
Repeat daily until you see some improvement.
A study has shown that neem oil is very effective in combination with turmeric powder. A positive result was achieved in 3 to 15 days in 97 % of the case. Here’s how to use it:
freshly grounded turmeric powder
Mix two ounces of neem oil with two ounces of grounded turmeric powder.
Make a paste.
Apply on the infected area several times a day.
Notes: Neem leaves also are an excellent remedy for scabies. But avoid neem products if you’re pregnant. There is no sufficient data whether neem is safe to use during the pregnancy. Neem also has some contraceptive properties, so beware.
2. Tea Tree Oil Kills Scabies Mites
Tea tree oil has numerous health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-parasitic properties that make it an excellent solution for scabies.
Research also has discovered that tea tree oil contains terpinen-4-ol. This is a component that effectively kills mites. Tests have determined that 5 % tea tree oil deals with scabies mites in three hours.
In addition to killing the mites, tea tree oil will speed the healing process and decrease the pain and the swelling.
tea tree oil
a cotton ball
Mix one tablespoon of tea tree oil with one tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl.
Soak a cotton ball in the mixture.
Apply the cotton ball to the affected area.
Repeat several times a day for 2-3 weeks.
Alternatively, you can add tea tree oil to your bath.
pure tea tree oil
a bathtub with lukewarm water
Add 10-12 drops of pure tea tree oil to the bath water.
Take a bath.
Repeat twice daily for a few weeks.
Here’s a video you can watch.
If you use tea tree oil for scabies, you should know that it’s effective on the mites that are on the surface on your skin. It doesn’t seem to be very efficient in killing mites that have burrowed in your skin or their eggs.
Also, you should avoid swallowing any tea tree oil since it’s toxic and it can irritate your skin. It’s also not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers.
3. Turmeric has an Antiseptic Effect
We already mentioned turmeric when we talked about neem oil. And there is a reason for that. Turmeric is an amazing herb that has antibacterial, anti-fungus and antiseptic properties. It reduces inflammation thanks to a compound called curcumin, and it’s also effective against itchiness and rashes. It’s also known for its ability to promote healing and to repair damage skin.
Here’s how to use it for treating scabies.
Measure a tablespoon of turmeric powder in a bowl
Add several drops of lemon juice.
Mix the ingredients to make a thick paste.
Apply the paste.
Leave it for an hour.
Rinse with lukewarm water.
Repeat daily until you start to feel better.
Another way to treat scabies is to use only turmeric powder.
half a cup of turmeric powder
a cup of water
Measure half a cup of turmeric powder in a pot.
Stir until it’s smooth.
Bring to boil.
Reduce the heat.
Let is simmer.
Wait until it has the consistency of a paste.
Apply the paste to the affected area.
Repeat daily until you see an improvement.
Notes: Here’s one more recipe for turmeric cream that you can use. But beware that turmeric is not recommended for people with gallstones or bile-duck blockage. It’s also not recommended for pregnant women since there’s a risk of miscarriage.
4. Cayenne Pepper Numbs the Skin
There’s a compound in cayenne pepper called capsaicin. It has an amazing effect when you apply it to the skin – it reduces the pain and numbs the nerves. That’s why cayenne pepper is an excellent way to deal with the unpleasant itching.
People who have used cayenne pepper as a home remedy for scabies claim that it burns and kills the mites. However, there isn’t much scientific date behind these claims.
Mix cayenne pepper with severer drops of water.
Make a paste.
Apply to the skin where you can see the burrows.
The best way to use cayenne pepper is to add it to your bath. Here’s how to do it.
a bathtub with hot water
a cup of cayenne pepper
Add the cup of cayenne pepper to your bathwater.
Wait until the water gets cold.
Rinse with cool water.
Repeat daily until you see an improvement.
Notes: Make sure that no water gets in your eyes. Cayenne pepper may cause a burning sensation. It’s not recommended for people with sensitive skin.
5. Aloe Vera Speeds the Healing
Aloe vera has been a known remedy for skin disorders for centuries. It has anti-microbial and anti-pesticide properties that make it ideal for treating wounds, bites and various skin disorders.
A study compares aloe vera and benzyl benzoate, a traditional remedy for scabies. It turns out that aloe vera is just as effective as benzyl benzoate. Moreover, it doesn’t have undesired side effects.
fresh aloe vera gel
Apply fresh aloe vera gel on the infected area.
Wait half an hour.
Rinse with lukewarm water.
Repeat three times a day.
Alternatively, you can mix aloe vera gel with turmeric and calendula.
aloe vera gel
Crush a handful calendula petals in a bowl
Add a pinch of turmeric powder.
Add two tablespoons of aloe vera gel.
Mix the ingredients.
Make a thick paste.
Apply the paste to the infected skin area.
Leave it to dry.
Repeat twice a day.
Notes: Consult with your doctor first if you’re pregnant or nursing. Aloe vera can have an effect on your blood sugar levels, too.
How to Prevent Scabies?
No one wants to deal with scabies, so what can we do to protect ourselves? Well, there are some simple rules to follow:
Avoid direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
Avoid contact with things used by an infected person.
If a person has Norwegian scabies, avoid all possible contact.
If a family member is infected, start treatment immediately. It’s recommended that you’re treated at the same time with the infected person to avoid reinfestation.
Clothes and bedding used by the infected person should be machined washed and dried.
Items that can’t be washed should be placed in a closed plastic bag for several weeks.
There’s no denying it - scabies is not something you want to talk about or experience. But having scabies doesn’t mean that you don’t have an excellent personal hygiene or that your home is dirty. It just takes one infected person to get the disease.
What do you think about these home remedies for scabies? Have you ever had scabies and how did you deal with it? Tell us more in the comments. And don’t forget to share these home remedies with your friends.