Earlier this week, we highlighted a number of natural ways to treat mosquito bites.
You had so many suggestions for remedies we left off our list that we just couldn't ignore them.
We selected 12 mosquito bite treatments from the comments on our original story and asked Dr. Neal B. Schultz, a board-certified dermatologist in practice in New York City, whether or not they'd do the trick.
Here's how your mosquito bite remedies measure up:
You may have used this on a skinned knee -- and that's because hydrogen peroxide is best used for cleaning, says Schultz. While it may be helpful in preventing infection, it's not likely to do much for the itch, he says.
Alcohol evaporates, and evaporation creates cooling, says Schultz. Cooling in turn gets to the brain faster than the itching sensation, and will offer some temporary relief. It also causes drying, he says, which can result shrinkage of the bites and ultimately a reduction in the swelling.
Because most hand sanitizers are alcohol-based, they work similarly to plain rubbing alcohol, says Schultz. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/4062240707/" target="_hplink">Mr. T in DC</a></em>
Baby oil is often mixed with citronella essential oil as a way to keep skeeters at bay to begin with, says Schultz. It may work by masking our natural odors that attract bugs to us. But it's not likely to treat itch or inflammation, he says. <em>Photo from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Johnsons-Baby-Oil-591-Pack/dp/B000056JC0/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1340382584&sr=8-13&keywords=baby+oil" target="_hplink">Amazon.com</a></em>
Unseasoned Meat Tenderizer
There are enzymes in this spice mix that break down the tough protein in meat. "[Insect] venom is mostly protein," says Schultz, "so the meat tenderizer works by breaking down the poison that's been injected." A well-known treatment for jellyfish stings, meat tenderizer can be made into a paste with water, or applied directly to bites or stings. <em>Photo from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Adolph-Adolphs-Unseasoned-Tenderizer-44-5oz/dp/B0015AO7YO/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1340382859&sr=1-1&keywords=unseasoned+meat+tenderizer" target="_hplink">Amazon.com</a></em>
The chemical properties in garlic are likely to kill off bacteria, but applying it to a mosquito bite might cause <em>more</em> discomfort before it relieves any. "If you can handle it, go with it," says Schultz. "The stinging sensation will pass after a couple of seconds." <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/clayirving/2747603970/" target="_hplink">clayirving</a></em>
Like baking soda, ammonia will help neutralize the pH of irritated skin, says Schultz. Although it might sound a little scary (it did to us!), he says the small amount used on a mosquito bite doesn't worry him. "I think the upside" -- namely, itch relief -- "outweighs the downside. Everything in life is a balance." <em>Photo from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/James-Austin-Co-51-Ammonia/dp/B002M8NEDS/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1340383244&sr=8-7&keywords=ammonia" target="_hplink">Amazon.com</a></em>
Most brands that claim they'll keep you dry are made with aluminum, which would act as an astringent, even on bug bites, explains Schultz, helping to draw fluid out. But it's not exactly natural and not anything Schultz says he had heard before. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/caveman_92223/3402902714/" target="_hplink">Caveman Chuck Coker</a></em>
Oatmeal baths are well-known for <a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/oatmeal-uses-skin-synd" target="_hplink">soothing irritated skin</a>, but Schultz says he thinks they're better for all-over itch, like poison ivy or chicken pox. If you like it though, there's no reason not to try it for mosquito relief. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/prettyinprint/2957402023/" target="_hplink">prettyinprint</a></em>
"Probably the chemicals and fat in regular soap can be a little soothing," says Schultz, "but I'd be afraid of causing [more] irritation." <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/soapylove/190305833/" target="_hplink">soapylovedeb</a></em>
A number of people said they swear by a piece of tape over a bite, but we've got to admit, we're a bit stumped as to why! At the very least, the tape would keep you from scratching, and scratching only leads to more itching, so that's a start.
Ketchup (And Mustard!)
"I'd like to offer a challenge to our readers," says Schultz. "I'm going to put mustard and ketchup in the same category and say that I have no idea why either of these work, but they do. I would be very grateful to find out why." Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet them to @HealthyLiving and @BeautyRxSkin. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/theogeo/372905014/" target="_hplink">theogeo</a></em>
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