Judith has dealt with insect bites more times than she would have liked. She wants to help others remedy the pesky itchiness and scarring.
Relieving the Itch
While you're waiting for your bite to become "inactive" - ie not itch - take an anti-histamine or use a hydrocortisone cream (you can buy 1% hydrocortisone cream over the counter).
Flea Bites: Adding Insult to Injury
Dealing with flea bites can be distressing. First, there's the unbearable, irresistible itching. Then there's the mark that's left behind. I'll leave you to deal with the itch as best you can (although some quick tips are to be found to the right); this is an article about the marks that are left once the itching has gone.
Just one can look awfully ugly as it moves from a pink bump through to an angry red mark and finally a puce welt. If you are unlucky enough to be the victim of a serial biter, the itching can drive you mad, but the lingering bite marks that add insult to injury. Fortunately, there are a few tips you can follow to speed up your return to a blemish-free body.
Four Step Approach
Often people refer to flea bites as “scars”. The good news is, those dark purple marks are not scars; they are not permanent, and you can get rid of them. If you let nature take its course, the bites will be gone within a few weeks. However, sometimes a few weeks is too long, particularly if you have an important upcoming event. Of course, you could just cover up - that way, you've quite literally got it covered. That's not always possible, particularly if you've already bought an outfit that exposes your bites.
If you have to uncover, but you're feeling too embarrassed, you need quick treatment. Here’s how in four steps (these tips should work for other insect bites too).
Step One: Exfoliation
By the time your bite is no longer itchy and red, and if the skin is unbroken, you can speed up recovery by using gentle exfoliation. Once the bite is healed, use a gentle scrub over the bite. Exfoliating should speed up the turnover of skin cells, thus helping the skin to heal faster.
Make sure you don’t exfoliate if the skin over the bite is broken as this may simply introduce an infection and make matters worse.
Scrubs to try:
- A gentle facial scrub
- Baking soda paste
- Sea salt
- Oatmeal paste and washcloth (see right)
Step Two: Moisturising
Once you have exfoliated, and at regular intervals through the day, apply some moisturiser to the mark. Rub it into the skin gently.
Any mild moisturiser should work, but ideas, from wholly natural to commercial, include:
- Bag Balm
- Olive Oil
- Aloe Vera
- A paste of sandalwood and rose water
Step Three: Apply Sun Screen
A tempting idea in summer is to cover up a flea bite with a suntan. It seems sensible that the mark would become invisible if your skin darkened. Sadly, it doesn't always work like that. As new skin forms over the flea bite, it may become hyperpigmented. Hyperpigmentation means that the bite mark will be likely to go darker than the surrounding skin when exposed to sunlight.
So, if you do go out in the sun, make sure that in addition to your normal suntan lotion, you apply a total sunblock to your bite marks. The other alternative - perhaps healthier in the long run - is to cover up with a good quality fake tan.
Step Four: A Healthy Diet
As ever, good health starts from the inside, so while you're treating your bites with the first three steps, make sure you eat well. Plenty of fruit and vegetables are always beneficial for health, but these three nutrients may help speed healing up.
- Zinc – to reduce healing time and shrink wounds (try pumpkin seeds, cashews and spinach)
- Vitamin A - promotes cell growth and healthy skin (orange and yellow vegetables and fruits- like peppers, carrots and apricots contain vitamin A)
- Vitamin C – traditional favourite for its healing property (find iit n citrus fruits and dark leafy greens)
- Bromelain – an enzyme present in pineapples, this boosts immunity and reduces inflammation.
- Turmeric - this spice is said to lower inflammation and promote speedy healing.
Prevention Is Always Better Than a Cure
It's not always possible to avoid flea bites - you may have picked them up outside your own home. However, if you suspect that you've been bitten at home, don't ignore the problem. Take steps to deal with any fleas sooner, rather than later. Fleas don't just go away, they breed and they breed quickly. The best solution to flea bites is to avoid the problem by keeping up with your pet's flea treatment - for his sake as much as for yours.
How Long Will the Marks Last?
It's difficult to predict how long a bite mark will last. If you're exceptionally strong willed and managed to resist scratching away at your bite and you're one of life's quick healers, you're going to heal faster than someone who dug their nails in.
On average, it should take a two or three weeks to see your marks fade away for good. Follow the tips above, and you may see a quicker solution.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2015 Judi Brown
Judi Brown (author) from UK on March 02, 2015:
I'm like your husband - I'm walking biting insect bait! Someone told me it's due to having sweet blood - I wish mine would turn sour!
Thanks for reading and voting - hope you don't need to use the advice though!
Mary Craig from New York on March 01, 2015:
I'm one of those fortunate individuals who has never had a flea bite while my husband has had many. You've made some good suggestions that give "the suffer" a good alternative to trying to cover up those flea tracks. Not only does he get aggravated by the itching but there' always the "look at this" statement. Getting rid of the marks faster will make us both happier.
Voted up, useful, and interesting.