Are you looking for a home remedy to stop a bug bite from itching? Well, go to your bathroom and grab your toothpaste!
There are many natural treatment options that have been suggested for bug bite relief over the years and the application of toothpaste is one of them. There are very many life hacks involving this product and you may be wondering whether toothpaste for mosquito bite is a genuine hack.
Fortunately, the answer to this question is a resounding yes! Toothpaste has always proven to be effective especially against the itch from bug bites.
In this post I’ll explain to you the reasons why people apply toothpaste on bug bites and why it works!
Toothpaste on bug bites: why it relieves itching & swelling
A bug bite often triggers a sudden irritating itch accompanied by mild swelling. This happens because most of us happen to be allergic to insect bites particularly the mosquito.
So why use toothpaste on insect bites?
The reason is simple. Some of the ingredients in toothpaste help relieve itching and swelling. The two main ones are menthol and baking soda.
Also, the astringent effect of toothpaste helps draw out the fluids from under your skin. This is why it can help with swelling.
The action of menthol & baking soda in toothpaste
Menthol in the form of mint or peppermint is one of the main active ingredients in many toothpaste brands.
It happens to be among the most effective and powerful natural pain relievers. Menthol is an organic compound and is contained in the plants of the genus, Mentha.
Menthol has three key properties that make it particularly effective against mosquito bites; analgesic, vasodilation and anti-inflammatory properties. When used in toothpaste, it has a natural analgesic or pain relieving effect.
When you apply the toothpaste to your skin, certain molecules called ligands get attached to the receptors in your cells thus triggering some changes. The ligand in menthol interacts with Opioid receptors in your skin consequently causing a numbing effect.
One of the immediate results of bug bites is often inflammation of the skin. Menthol helps alleviate inflammation and results in a cooling sensation. Menthol achieves this through the stimulation of thermo receptors that detect changes in temperature in your skin.
What most people do not know is that menthol does not actually change the temperature in your skin. According to Jewishworldreview.com, it merely causes a signal to be sent to your brain which will be interpreted as cold. As a result, the uncomfortable feeling of heat around the bug bite is significantly relieved.
The good thing about toothpaste is that it does not contain a high amount of menthol. Too much menthol is actually detrimental to the health of your skin as it can cause irritation and significant damage.
This is mainly because it does not improve the underlying conditions. Nonetheless, since bug bites themselves are not serious or life threatening for most people, toothpaste as a treatment option is advisable.
If your toothpaste contains baking soda, this is good news. Baking soda is an effective mosquito bite remedy.
Baking soda is alkaline in nature, which means it neutralizes the pH of the skin. Because the itch of a bite is due to an acidic reaction on your skin, baking soda can provide relief from itching.
How to use toothpaste on mosquito bites?
Apply a thin layer of toothpaste on the bite and let it dry. If it flakes off when you touch it, you can remove it with cool water.
If your bite is still itchy, apply witch hazel, apple cider vinegar or lavender essential oil. They are effective remedies to stop a bite from itching.
It is very important to note that not all toothpastes should be used for the treatment of bug bites. According to Livestrong.com, some of the ingredients used by toothpaste manufacturers can be harmful to your skin.
For this reason, it advisable to do a simple patch test to determine your skin’s reactions to various brands. I would recommend that you only use natural herbal or homemade toothpastes as they are often free from harmful ingredients.
Beat the itch of bug bites with ingredients that are already lying around your house, such as toothpaste! Make sure your toothpaste contains menthol and baking soda, as these are the main ingredients that will help soothe your bite.
There are many other natural treatment options besides toothpaste that you can adopt for bug bites including:
You can share your experiences with toothpaste on bug bites and also suggest other useful hacks in our comments section.
Caution: If you have a severe allergic reaction or if your bites are not healing, please consult your doctor. Very severe reactions to bites need immediate medical attention. Some reactions may be life threatening. In some cases, you shouldn’t apply toothpaste on a bug bite. Please talk to your doctor if you have any doubts.