Scabies: 3 Reasons to Avoid scratching Yourself

3 reasons to avoid scratching yourself

The Scabies itch Guidebook:

Here are some reasons to avoid over-itching and damaging your skin.

I know it’s extremely tempting to scratch your skin when you have Scabies. Even that is an understatement, it is RIDICULOUS how much these damn mites make you want to dig into your skin.

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

My recommendation is to avoid scratch as much as possible. I know I am going against the grain here by telling you should avoid doing what your body is screaming at you to do – but hear me out.

The 3 reasons are as follows:

1) You will spread the mites, everywhere.

A really big part of eliminating your scabies infestation is containment. You want the mites to stay on/in your skin until your treatments are able to kill them effectively at the source. You don’t want to be spreading the mites all over your house/car/workplace because you will likely reinfect yourself, or even worse infect those around you, which also will likely result in you getting reinfected later on. Not fun.

Every time you scratch your skin you’re likely to pick up mites and dead skin under your nails. Not only will you be spreading the mites across your body, you will be spreading them throughout your environment.

So say you scratch your heavily infested arms; chances are you will get some mites stuck in your fingernails or hand. There they will stay until you scratch yourself somewhere else – say your not so infested ankle – or touch something else in your environment like the door to your car. Now the mites will sit at their new location waiting to be picked up again by their favorite tasty food source (you) or by a new, unsuspecting poor soul.

In addition, with heavy scratching the mites and dead skin can be introduced into the open air. They will either fall directly to the ground and contaminate your carpet/couch, or they will catch a draft and float to who knows where. 

This is tremendously problematic because the mites can live for multiple days without food. This is doubly problematic if they are attached to pieces of dead skin as their lifespan will extend even longer because they have a food source to nibble on (your dead skin cells) for days to come.

2) You will put added stress on your skin.

Having scabies is rough on the skin. I mean bugs living in your skin, slurping your blood and leaving allergenic debris in their wake. Destructive, gross and nightmarish.

When you scratch at your skin you are only burying those issues deeper. You are embedding the scabies and their excrement deeper into the layers of your skin and you run the risk of secondary infection from opening up new wounds.

So while it’s temporarily relieving when you scratch (and I mean very temporary), you are actually just creating more damage and more potential for itching down the road since you will have to deal with skin irritation for longer. This also means you will have a harder time deciphering real scabies from post scabies since you will be guaranteed to continue to feel itchy long after the scabies have been killed off.

3) You will likely only make the itching worse.

I’ve already eluded to this. But yeah, pretty straight forward. The only thing scratching yourself provides is momentary pleasure.

It doesn’t make the itch go away – it actually makes it more intense.

The temporary relief it provides is nice but it also ensures continued long term discomfort. It could even help to spread the infestation.

10 Anti-itch remedies for scabies

10 anti itch remedies for scabies

Learn about a collection of natural remedies (like calamine lotion) to reduce itchiness

The Scabies itch Guidebook:

Here is a quick list of remedies to greatly reduce itchiness

1.) Use Caladryl (calamine) lotion

Caladryl is very effective itch reducer. You may have encountered it when visiting your grandparent’s house when you were a kid, as Caladryl has been used for generations to treat all kinds of itchiness. 

Oddly enough, this lotion has lost favor over recent decades. It has been mysteriously pulled from shelves of major suppliers and replaced by larger brand moisturizers.

This is not necessarily a good thing! In fact, it shows that Caladryl is, in fact, a worthy competitor to anti-itch lotions that the big industries are pushing.

I found this lotion to be the most effective that I tried for scabies. Highly recommended. You can check it out here.

2.) Shower in cold / lukewarm water instead of hot water.

Your hot showers might feel relieving, but they are likely to make the itchiness worse. Unfortunately.

This is because excessively hot water quickly dries out and irritates the skin. If you instead bathe in cold water you will soothe your skin as well as keeping the natural balance of oils (like sebum) intact.

Your skin is already suffering, don’t make it worse with irritating heat.

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

If you cannot handle cold water showers then start out warm and gradually decrease the temperature until it is just enough that you can bear it.

This is a challenge for people who love their hot showers, so if you are one of those people and are unwilling to go cold, at least consider turning down the temperature a few notches and ending your shower with cold water to cool off the skin.

It seriously helps.

3.) Be picky about your soaps and detergents. 

Commercial soaps can also strip off your skin of natural oils.

Most of the soaps in the supermarket have ingredients that are known skin irritants and often create inflammation and eczema-like symptoms.

Soaps that have these ingredients include Dial, Irish Spring, Neutrogena, Axe, Old Spice, Bed Bath & Beyond…

By avoiding the irritants and instead using a soap that will reduce your scabies symptoms you will make you feel much better.

I recommend that you instead use a sulfur soap cleansing bar that will help keep the mites at bay.

4.) Pop an antihistamine. 

Antihistamines block your bodies histamine response to allergens.

Taking an antihistamine will temporarily relieve your itch because the itch of scabies is caused by your bodies allergic reaction to the mites and their debris.

It is good to take antihistamines before bed if you are really losing sleep because of the condition.

Chlorophen-12 is a very effective antihistamine and comes in 12-hour extended-release tablets. You can find it here.

You could also pick up Benadryl tablets and/or Benadryl skin cream.

5.) Try soaking in a colloidal oatmeal bath

Colloidal oatmeal is simply oats ground into an extremely fine powder. It has properties that comfort the itch very well.

When added to bathwater, it creates a milky cloud that stays in the water and doesn’t just sink to the bottom of the bath. Since it is ground so finely it sets into the skin, nourishing it and keeping the itch away.

Run your bath with lukewarm water, and while the tub is filling, add a packet (two to three cups) of colloidal oatmeal under the faucet to help disperse the oatmeal.

You may have the urge to take a hot bath, but this will only irritate the skin and remove moisture from your body, so a warm bath is preferable.

Some good ingredients to add to your oatmeal bath are, of course, colloidal oatmeal, then baking soda and coconut oil will add a nice finishing touch to the bath that also really helps out your skin.

Feel free to take upwards of three baths a day. After a long soak, it is good to wash off a bit in cold water to keep your skin nice and cool. 

*Note: Some people have moderate to severe gluten allergies. If this is your case try out a gluten-free option for this oatmeal bath. Here is a link to a gluten free colloidal bath packet.

6.) Take Epsom salt baths.

Another great soaking option for the itch is to take an epsom salt bath.

Epsom salts, also called magnesium-sulphate, reduce inflammation, help keep your mineral contents in check (it is important to get enough magnesium, especially if you are taking calcium, as calcium can diminish magnesium amounts in the body.

If you like to take a super hot bath that is okay, as the heat will help the salts to absorb into your skin better, but it could also leave your skin a bit dryer than you’d like. To remedy this be sure to rinse off in cold water after your bath to keep your skin comfortable. 

Feel free to add other ingredients to your bath. Baking soda is always a good option, as well as oils like neem oil, jojoba oil, and tee trea essential oil.

7.) Drink lots of water

Pretty straight forward.

You are made of water and you need to keep ingesting it so your body stays healthy.

This especially holds true for the health of your skin! 

It’s pretty much guaranteed that if you don’t drink enough water your skin will be dry and you will be itchier. 

I don’t have a specific amount of water that I recommend. That’s because we all have different bodies and require different amounts. Also food plays a role, as some people meet their water requirements more easily by eating water rich foods like fruits.

Just drink enough! Also, carrying a water bottle around makes it 10 times easier.

8.) Clean up your diet

Some foods will make people more prone to itchy skin. 

Issues like psoriasis and dermatitis are often food related, and what you eat could make the difference between skin that is ravaged by itchiness and skin which doesn’t react hardly as much.

Overall you want to avoid foods that contain natural histamines (your body is already creating enough to combat the mites) and foods that you are allergic too.

Here is a list of foods you might want to avoid or cut down on during your scabies infestation because they are high in histamines:

  • Red wine
  • Aged cheese
  • Citrus fruits
  • Fermented foods (sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt)
  • Bacon (and other cured meats)
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Artificial food colors and preservatives
  • Spices
  • Alcohol
  • Vinegar

Other foods that commonly cause allergic reactions, often involving skin irritation include:

  • Tree Nuts
  • Milk
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • colorings, additives

9.) Wear the right materials.

Clothing matters when it comes to keeping the itch at bay.

It’s hard not to become hypersensitive to what materials affects your skin while you have Scabies. Here I will list some to avoid and some to wear.

Clothing materials to avoid: 

  • New clothes, regardless of materials. They often have additives (ex. formaldehyde) on them to avoid creasing,
  • Latex
  • Wool
  • overly tight clothes

Materials to wear:

  • cotton
  • dye free / perfume free 
  • silk
  • linen
  • Loose clothing

10.) Stay cool.

Try to stay away from hot and muggy environments. Sticky and sweaty = itchy. 

Turn on your AC if it’s hot. Take a cool shower if you’re hot. Shed layers if needed.

Do what you can to keep your skin at a comfortable temperature at all times.

 

Return to Guidebook

Scabies: A guidebook to handling the itch.

Links to the guide below

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Section #1: 10 Anti-itch remedies for Scabies

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Section #2: Scabies: Three Reasons to Avoid Scratching Yourself

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Section #3: How to Itch Your Skin Without Spreading the Mites

3 Fast Facts about Tea Tree Oil and Scabies

Tea Tree Oil and Scabies

Updated 3/10/2018

Should I use Tea Tree Oil for Scabies?

There’s a lot of debate concerning what works to kill scabies mites.

Anti-viral essential oils like, tea tree and clove, are common considerations. Especially for people who prefer a natural remedy for scabies.

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

Tea tree oil certainly makes sense. It’s been used for thousands of years as a disinfectant and antiseptic. Tea tree is effective for the treatment of candida and all sorts of infections – including ringworm, sunburn, acne, athlete’s foot, toothaches, and pyorrhea. This is not an exhaustive list, either. It’s just plain powerful stuff.

Its antiseptic action is thought to be one hundred times more powerful than carbolic acid (and unlike carbolic acid, it’s safe for humans to use).

But the most important question for scabies is:

Is tea tree oil effective at entirely eliminating scabies mites?

Below we’ve listed three of the most important questions and considerations concerning tea tree oil and scabies.

does tea tree oil kill scabies?

1.) Does Tea Tree Oil Kill Scabies Mites?

Yes, it does. When scabies mites come in contact with tea tree oil they die.

But, there’s a catch.

It is true that, if properly exposed, tea tree oil will kill scabies mites. And according to clinical studies, they die fast.

This issue is that it is difficult to properly expose the mites to the oil.

Our skin and all of its layer provide a challenge that a controlled petri dish does not. While there are many “surface walkers” on our skin at any given time, there’s also plenty of momma mites deeply burrowed and protected.

And they are protected by more than just skin layers.

There’s a bigger issue still.

Scabies mites secrete a chemical concoction via their saliva that shields them from chemical attack.

Scabies mites aren’t so dumb, after all. They still plague us in the 21st century for a reason.

They’re evolved for this. They know how to protect themselves.

If you’ve been infested for awhile you’ve likely seen the track marks they leave behind. This shows that they’re able to burrow they’re way from place to place without being fully exposed.

And they don’t always have to come to the surface if they don’t want to.

Because scabies have their protective barriers of saliva they’re well protected in there.

So much so that soaking in a bath that’s got high concentrations of tea tree still might not kill them.

But, guess what. It gets worse. (I’m sorry, I know scabies are one of the most terrible things ever, I wish I could tell you that it gets easier)

Their eggs are even MORE protected.

That adorable little mite that’s yet to hatch is protected by an eggshell that can withstand most things thrown at it.

2.) Can Tea Tree Essential Oil Cure my Scabies?

I’ve already covered why in the first section, but to recap:

  • Tea tree oil does kill unprotected and vulnerable scabies mites.
  • But is ineffective when it comes to treating deeply burrowed mites.
  • Is also ineffective at killing unhatched mite eggs.

Unfortunately, scabies mites burrow deep enough into the skin to hide from essential oils.

The protective saliva barrier they use to protect themselves and their eggs makes their eradication harder still

I learned this first hand the hard way when I was infested. I tried natural approaches to cure scabies for multiple months. Lots of neem, clove, coconut and tea tree oil. But the infestation lingered.

And what did I get out my tea tree use? More months of scabies.  And now whenever I smell it I’m reminded of scabies. Not the best association to have.

The best way to kill scabies (and the only way that we recommend on this site) is to use oral ivermectin and/or permethrin cream. Simultaneous use of both is highly recommended.

If you want to learn more about ivermectin and permethrin treatments follow the links below:

3.) How Tea Tree (And other Essential Oils) Can Help with Scabies

With all of that said, tea tree still has a lot to offer in your treatment regimen.

Tea tree and the vast majority of natural treatments won’t be able to kill the eggs. No, it won’t cure your infestation. But tea tree’s outstanding properties are great for supporting your skin. It’s called “first aid in a bottle” for a reason.

Tea tree oil can be used as an all natural disinfectant that can be used to treat the outside of your skin and your environment.

Below are some effective blends and applications that utilize essential oils.

Make a Pillow / Mattress Wipe

Wipe your mattresses and Pillows with a mixture of:

Tea tree Essential oil

Lavender Essential oil

Dilute oil with warm water.

Let pillows and mattress dry in the sun or under presence of heat

Blend your Own Essential Oil Scabies Ointment

If you don’t want to gather all of these ingredients, use what you prefer.

  • Combine carrier oils in a glass measuring cup. Heat until warm.
  • Add essential oils and whisk until blended.

Rub this ointment onto affected areas often. Ointment will be very concentrated, so be cautious.

Note that this ointment will help the symptoms, but not be a cure by itself!

Hopefully this article helped you. If you have any questions, comments or recommendations of your own please let us know in the comment section below!

How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

How to Get rid of scabies at home fast

How to get rid of Scabies, fast.

This post has been a product of months of suffering, struggle, confusion and, finally – clarity and freedom.

I struggled with scabies for so long, but it didn’t have to take that long…. And it wasn’t for a lack of effort that it did.

I researched as much as a could. I toiled every day trying to get rid of the bugs. But it took me awhile to find the information i needed – the information that actually cured me.

To find that info I had to first sift through info that didn’t work. The advice I originally found may have sounded compelling and gave me hope, but it was ultimately misguided and incomplete, to say the least.

I spent a good amount of time and money trying these cures that ended up being nothing more than a bandaid. The methods just kept the mite population subdued, but never got rid of them entirely.

Although the advice I tried initially didn’t cure my scabies, it wasn’t because people weren’t trying to give good advice. There intentions were wholesome. Most people online sincerely want to both help themselves get cured and support others to do the same. We all want that.

In the end the misinformation available online is due to a lack of knowledge and wishful thinking.

Let’s get right into it

Now, like i said, there is a lot of misinformation on the internet concerning scabies. The very first thing I want people to know is that natural scabies treatments are highly unlikely to cure your scabies infestation on their own. They just don’t do the trick.

Yes, natural remedies will not rid you of scabies by themselves.

For one, they don’t pack enough of a punch – otherwise powerful remedies like neem and tea tree oil may be effective for 99% of viral, bacterial and parasitic infections. But for scabies, they just don’t cut it.

And why is that?

This is because scabies, throughout their evolution, have developed effective protective measures to thwart off attempts to kill them.

They burrow deep and create protective enzymes in their spit that they surround their borrows with. This keeps them sealed in and attempts at killing them sealed out.

While your tea tree and bleach baths may kill roaming scabies on the surface (sometimes called “surface crawlers”), they won’t be killing the fully burrowed mites and their eggs. You might feel some temporary relief, but you can bet the colony is still churning and burning out new little baby mites to continue conquering your epidermis.

Related: How to Avoid Losing Sleep from Scabies

What’s the solution then?

My family is all about natural treatments when they are called for. But you have to be practical when dealing with issues that are outside of the immediate natural remedy scope.

Scabies are a real nuisance that require serious treatment methods. If getting rid of scabies was as easy as we wish it was then it likely wouldn’t have picked up the nickname “the seven year itch.”

The best (and only) cure that I recommend to get rid of scabies is to use oral ivermectin and/or topical permethrin cream.

Oral ivermectin

If you have pets or livestock you’ve likely came across ivermectin over the years.

When ingested it enters the bloodstream, where the mites get to it and consume it. The molecular structure of ivermectin disables pivotal important functions of the mites effectively incapacitating them until they die.

They eat it, they die.

And while ivermectin results in a death sentence for mites, it is safe for humans to ingest at low levels and is easily disposed of by the body.

Here is a very thorough explanation on the application and use of ivermectin for scabies.

You can get ivermectin from your doctor or buy it yourself over the counter here. Keep in mind if you buy it over the counter it’s not marketed for humans, but it works. You’ll just make sure that it does not have added ingredients for heart-worms. The one I linked to does not. Use at your own risk!

5% Permethrin cream

Permethrin is another somewhat common household product. If you live in tick or mosquito country, you’ll know what i’m talking about. It’s very effective when used for treating scabies.

Permethrin cream goes on topically and absorbs into the skin. It bypasses the mites defenses and kills live mites on site.

Permethrin cream is the most commonly prescribed treatment by doctors. Enough is dispensed to do two or more treatments. It is of upmost important that you follow through and do two treatments. This is because permethrin cream, just like every other treatment available, will not kill all of the eggs.

Their eggs are just too well protected.

The first treatment will kill the adults. Next you must wait for the eggs to hatch and then kill them before they can repopulate. Two treatments is almost always enough to get rid of a scabies infestation for good.

You can buy permethrin cream online without a doctor here.

Cleaning your home and work environment is of upmost importance when getting rid of scabies

Re-infestation is not a fun prospect.

Nothing is worse than getting your treatment right – only to get infested again right after you’ve got rid of your scabies.

To prevent this you’ll have to ensure that you’re home, work space, car and any other locations that you frequent are entirely disinfected. Just as important, make sure that the people and animals in your life are also have taken care of (or are taking care of) their risk of scabies and getting rid of the mites if they need to.

That part is hard.

It’s hard enough to keep your car, work and home clean. But to have to talk to friends, family and co-workers about scabies? Ugghhh. I hated doing that.

But you need to.

When I got infested so did my family and some of my friends. And it came from my work to start with. So I had to deal with this from three fronts.

If I had just disinfected MY things and MY body, i would have cured myself. But for how long would that last? Many of those people didn’t know that they might have mites or didn’t know how to treat them if they did.

It’s shitty, but you have to educate those around you to ensure that everyone gets cured and stays cured.

Cleaning your surroundings

Now some for some cleaning details.

While treating your skin for scabies you’ll have to get rid of all traces of scabies from your immediate and extended environment.

This includes deep cleaning:

  • Your house
  • your car
  • your work office
  • your clothes
  • your mattress
  • your pets
  • tabletops and surfaces
  • floors
  • anything else you come in contact with

All of this stuff needs to be taken care of to avoid reinfection.

Below are some recommended cleaning and preventative supplies:

Treat your clothes and possessions often and thoroughly until your infestation is completely gotten rid of.


Now that you have your immediate environment covered there are some steps to take for your extended environment.

  • Do your best to stay away from people who you know might be infected. And make sure they know how to get treatment.
  • If possible, take a vacation away from your environment. Go to a different space for 2+ weeks and treat yourself.
  • Stay away from places that are commonly associated with the spread of parasites like scabies. You might have picked up your mites from one of these places. First, get to know this list of places post thoroughly. It lays out 13 places you are most likely to contract and share scabies.

Conclusion

This post covers the general protocol for treating scabies. The rest of this website will give you an even broader view of the best ways to deal with this plague.

Good luck.