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

What you need to know about healing your skin after scabies

So you’re cured of the mites. Congratulations. Big win.

Now let’s heal your skin.

This post discusses three paths to skin health. Take what you want out of it.

  1. Direct skin treatments.
  2. Diet & Nutrition.
  3. Supplementation.

1) Direct skin treatments

Firstly, irritants to avoid:

–   Long, hot showers. These irritate, dry out and strip the skin of natural oils (think Sebum). This makes you more itchy and slower to heal.

–   Over washing. A well nourished body maintains its own skin support. Washing too much disturbs the body’s skin maintenance procedures.

–   Stay away from synthetic soap additives! Damaging additives are found in almost all major brands that are producing bathing products. Dial, Proctor & Gamble, herbal essences . . . you name it.

Healthy skin applications:

Cold waterthis is perhaps the best thing you can provide for your skin. Cold water hydrates and closes your pores to promote healing. Limit washing and favor cold water when you do.

Coconut oil – Can’t go wrong here. Coconut is great for the body, inside and out. Apply it wherever you want relief.

Source Naturals skin cream – a great option for sensitive skin, this cream is gentle and contains Contains restorative compounds like DMAE, alpha-lipoic acid, ascorbyl palmitate (C-ester), Coenzyme Q-10, MSM.

Some other great pure oils and topicals that I won’t go in depth on include: Pure Jojoba oil, almond oil, raw cocoa butter and shea butter. All are very beneficial and pure products, no artificial irritants added.

Epsom salt baths – both relaxing and beneficial, epsom salt (Magnesium-Sulphate) provide nutrients and works to soften while helping to draw out contaminants in the skin. I recommend a few baths a week for about 30 minutes each. Use 1/4 cup and be mindful of the effects on your skin – if the water is too hot and too much salt is used dry skin could occur. Follow up the bath with a cold shower to close the pores and better seal in moisture. Best before sleep. Here are the salts I use.

2) Diet & Nutrition

Try eating lots of foods rich in bioavailable nutrients while you heal:

  • seafood
  • meat (pastured, non-hormone)
  • plant and animal fats
  • vegetables
  • tubers. 

Some other foods that are especially good for skin health/regrowth are:

Gelatin 

Gelatin helps grow new skin and build up its elasticity and suppleness. In addition to improving skin health, gelatin also boasts these benefits:

  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Contains essential Amino Acids
  • Aids the digestive tract
  • Is Anti-Inflammatory
  • Regulates hormones
  • Aids in liver function

You can create gelatin in homemade, mineral rich bone broths. Here is a guide on making bone broth. You can also buy gelatin online, I prefer NOW brand Gelatin. It comes powdered and you can mix it into drinks and soups. I started buying the 1lb container but have since opted for the economical 5lb option.

Colostrum

Colostrum is a powerhouse of immune support. This is because its clinically proven to help restore the gastro-intestinal tract. Our gut health is very important for proper skin functioning, and colostrum happens to be one of the better tonics for your gut. The best is sourced from grass-fed cows.

Collagen

Collagen deserves kudos here for skin health as well. Here is a list of benefits. I have noticed most of these in my 4 months now of taking collagen.

  • Reduces inflammation, body pain and joint discomfort
  • Rejuvenates skin tone. Healthy skin retains moisture better and is more elastic and less prone to develop fine lines, dark spots and wrinkles
  • Increases energy and physical endurance
  • Improves recovery time after exercise
  • Supports repair of skeleto-muscular injuries and post surgery recovery
  • Improves muscle tone/strength and joint flexibility
  • Reduces muscle soreness and pain after work out or physical activity
  • Increases nail strength. Stronger nails do not chip
  • Improves hair quality and thickness that gives more youthful appearance

Same as for colostrum, the best source for collagen is from grass-fed cows. Here is a top of the line source.

3) Supplementation

Here are some great supplements for skin health. 

Fermented cod liver oil/ high vitamin butter oil.

A synergistic combination of impressive superfoods – this combo provides extremely bioavailable sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin K2, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A. These are all very important compounds for skin health. Fermented cod liver has been consumed for ages and is well known for it’s effects on the skin and bodily function. Green Pasture’s makes the best product on the market – read the phenomenal reviews.

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)

Vitamin B5 is another skin restoring power house – amazingly effective for acne, but also important for general skin ailments. Pantothenic Acid plays an important role in energy storage and release and provides nutritive support for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. This is good news for your skin. All of the important nutrients we are taking in to support skin cell regeneration and immune function – this stuff helps it get where it needs to go and makes sure it operates efficiently. 

KAL inc. makes a great B5 product. I take their 1000mg capsules.

Pantothenic acid also is available in a variety of foods, the richest sources being:

  • Organ meats like liver & kidney
  • egg yolk
  • broccoli
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • chicken
  • mushrooms
  • avocado
  • sweet potato

Evening primrose oil

Evening primrose oil contains gamma-lineoic-acid (GLA). GLA fantastic for skin health and is helpful for many other ailments. It’s benefits include:

  • Helping Skin problems (eczema, acne, psoriasis)
  • Aging problems
  • Heart disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Weight control
  • Pain relief (via a compound called phenylalanine)
  • Disease prevention
  • Symptoms of menopause

Evening primrose oil is one of very few sources of GLA – and is the most abundant source known. The gamma-linoleic acid, linoleic acid and other nutrients in this oil are essential for cell structure and improve the elasticity of the skin. NOW Foods is a cheap and trusted source. You will notice a very quick responsiveness from your skin to this supplement, I found it to be very effective.Zinc

Zinc is an important component of healthy skin. It is also required for proper immune system function, as well as for the maintenance of vision, taste, and smell. We need zinc for a huge array of body processes. If you consume the foods I recommended in step #2 then you should have your bases covered on zinc. As a reminder, some zinc rich foods include: oysters, pecans, brazil nuts & egg yolks. You can also choose to supplement it, try to consume at least 15mg of zinc a day.

If you choose to supplement for Zinc I advise buying a Zinc-magnesium-calcium-vitamin D combination supplement. All of these compounds are important for day to day health, including skin health. Magnesium is especially essential!

Probiotics

There has been a lot of buzz in recent years concerning probiotics. With recent advancements in technology we now know that there are over 100 trillion organisms living in our body at any giving moment. The body itself is comprised of roughly 10 trillions cells – that means that for every one cell in your body there are 10 living organisms!

The immune system is predominantly located in the gut – about 75% – this is also where most of the organisms take residence. Did you know that these organisms send direct signals to your body that effect immune responses? If we are unhealthy the gut is largely occupied by pathogens. These pathogens harm our immune system and digestion. For this reason I recommend reconstituting your gut with healthy organisms that benefit our immune system and whole body. I advise anyone to really take the time to read up on and invest in probiotics as a healthy gut leads to healthy skin as well.

Not all probiotics are the same – quality is important as there are varying bacterial species sold and quality assurance is important since they are living organisms.

I recommend products from these companies:

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is highly present in our skin and deficiencies are more rare than you might think though, so I advise supplementing it only if you are not maintaining sufficient intake through diet. One element of vitamin E – tocotrienols – is hard to get, and red palm oil is one of the few choices for a source.

If you do decide to supplement Vitamin E, it is very important you buy the right stuff. Not all supplements are created equal, and the divide is especially relevant for this supplement. Too often vitamin E products are synthetic – which the body absorbs inefficiently. I recommend the supplement Unique E, as it is naturally sourced.

Foods containing sufficient amounts of Vitamin E include:

  • Spinach
  • turnip greens
  • chard
  • sunflower seeds
  • almonds
  • bell peppers
  • asparagus
  • collards
  • kale
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts

*Vitamin E is fat soluble, so it is important to eat these foods with plenty of fat to boost absorption.

Conclusion

So there you have some tips for healing. If your skin is looking as bad as mine was some of these tips should be helpful. I hope you heal well, and leave us some info about your recovery in the comments!

Scabies and hot showers

Is it a good idea to take hot showers when I have scabies?

Short answer, no.

Yes it feels good. Yes you get (temporary) relief. But it might do more harm than good.

For one, hot showers will not help kill scabies and can actually make your itching worse.

Hot water will dry out and irritate your skin which is further damaging it’s already challenged state. The water strips away natural oils from the outer layer, and without those oils your skin becomes dry and irritated.

What’s the solution?

Cold showers. They keep your pores closed and your skin refreshed, which is important for your body’s response to scabies. 

Cold showers also have surprisingly underrated benefits.

Benefits of cold showers include:

  • Strengthens immunity
  • Keeps skin and hair healthy
  • Improves circulation
  • Relieves depression
  • Increases testosterone
  • Increases energy and wellbeing
  • Increases fertility

Source

But what if you hate cold showers . . . 

While that list above has some great (somewhat questionable) benefits listed, you still might not be able to bear an ice bath.

If that’s you then here is a good solution:

Start your shower with warm water, the less heat the better. Heat opens your pores for cleansing, but don’t overdo it. Too hot and you are doing damage.

Once you’re clean then gradually lower the temperature – it should be considerably colder by the time you shut the water off.

If you start your shower warm and gradually lower the temperature it removes the shock element, and it’s really not so bad after that. 

The most important thing is to end the shower cold. If you want to reduce how itchy your skin is, leaving the bathroom with already cold and soothed skin makes you far less irritable.

If you want more tips on reducing itchiness then check out 10 Anti-itch Remedies for Scabies.

After you have been cured feel free to return to hot showers. But when while your skin is still under attack I highly recommend that you in the least make an effort to end your showers with cold water.

For more information on treating scabies check out these popular posts:

A Simple 3 Step Guide to Eradicate Scabies

How to Buy Over the Counter Permethrin Cream Online

Life Without Scabies Youtube Videos 

 

 

5 Early Signs & First Symptoms of a Scabies Infestation

So you think you might have scabies, huh? For your sake, i hope you are wrong!

But, it’s good that you are here investigating.

Because if you do in fact have scabies it is important that you detect it and treat it as fast as possible. Yes, ASAP! The longer it goes untreated the worse you will feel and the more likely you’ll be to spread it to other people.

Below you will find first indicators that the scabies mites could be present.

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

Sign #1: An uncontrollable itchy feeling that’s spreading

You might think you had a good idea what feeling super itchy was like before ever picking up scabies.

But after awhile, there’s no way to lie to yourself any longer.

The itchy feeling we get as sufferers from these mites is horrendous.

A few telltale signs of an early stage scabies infestation:

  • You have a spot or two, maybe a broad area of your body, that will not stop feeling itchy no matter how hard or how often you scratch it. Yes, it doesn’t matter if you spent all night digging your fingernails into your skin. It just won’t. Go. Away.
  • While the itching doesn’t go away completely, if you feel way more itchy at night, then that’s a telltale sign. During the day you are active and distracted. Because of the activity, the mites don’t move as much. And even if they do, you won’t notice them as much. But at night time, that’s when they’re the most active. If it’s terribly itchy and keeping you up at night, it’s probably scabies.
  • It is spreading. For me, it started around my crotch and between my thighs. I thought it was just an allergic reaction or something. Maybe from the clothes i tried on at the mall. But then, it just kept spreading, in all of it’s terribleness, all over my body (accept my face and scalp.) By a few weeks into it, I was consumed in itchiness all over. Don’t wait that long before getting treated.

Sign #2: Rashes. Bumps. Zigzag marks. Oh No!

At first, you were just itchy. Incredibly, excruciatingly and uncomfortably itchy. But just itchy nonetheless.

Then, while you were indulgently digging into your thighs with your nails, you noticed something.

Red bumps? Red lines?

No, not just the redness from your far too intense scratching. A different kind. Like something you unearthed that was there all along beneath your skin.

My friend, this is their marks.

  • Those bumps. Those are their little homes, where they lay their little eggs.
  • Those lines. They are their burrows, where they dig and dig too move around and find greener pastures, ahem – tasty dead skin – to feed on.

If you’ve started to see red marks appear and you are still hesitant to diagnose them as scabies, take a look at where they’re located.

In the beginning those raised little bumps and ridges are likely to appear on parts of your body where the skin folds over itself or touches itself on creases.

Think between your legs, your toes and your fingers. Inside your elbows and wrists. Genital areas and under your breasts, if you’ve any.

Scabies prefer these areas to breed in and call home.

Sign #3: “Wait, am I not the only one around who’s scratching themselves?”

Since you’ve been paying so much attention to your itchy body, you maybe haven’t spent much time looking around at your friends and family.

Or if you have been looking at them, it’s in fear that they might see you acting odd with all your fidgety, itchy maladies.

But take a closer look.

If you do have scabies, they didn’t fall out of the sky.

Someone gave them to you. And chances are that it could be someone close to you. And they are probably showing first signs of an infestation as well.

So take a look around.

Look at your family, at your co-workers, your friends; anyone who comes in close contact with you from day to day.

Are they mindlessly digging into their skin? Are they complaining of a strange itch? Are they expressing lost sleep due to staying up all night scratching? Are they meticulously peering at their skin?

Are they showing early symptoms?

If you encounter others with these symptoms, well, take that as an early sign.

Better yet though, ask them. And tell them what you know about scabies and the early signs we’ve discussed already.

It’s easier to keep quiet and avoid potentially embarrassing subject matter, but if it’s really an infestation happening around you, everyone needs to know.

Everyone needs to get treated or they will likely just re-infest one another.

Sign #4: In the past few months have those in your family traveled or frequented new places?

This isn’t something that can give you insurmountable evidence of an infestation, but it’s a thought provoking question which could give you clues and a stronger conviction that it is in fact scabies that’s bothering you.

Think of all the places you’ve gone lately.

Out of country trips? Out of state trips? Out of home Trips?

All of them.

New gym membership? New daycare for the kids? New animal care clinic? New doctors office visits?

These are all heavily trafficked areas that are often hosts to scabies. For more ideas of places that you might have picked up mites from, check out this post on our How do you get Scabies page.

If there’s one or many potential places that pop into your mind, do some investigating and see if there’s been known issues with scabies there.

Sign #5: There’s confirmed cases of scabies in your community

So we’ve examined quite a few early signs of a scabies infestation.

If you’re still reading then you probably have a good hunch that this is what’s been ailing you.

At this point, if your still worried that it might be all in your head, it’s a good idea to visit or, better yet, make some phone calls to places in your community that you’ve visited in the last 2 or 3 months.

You’re gym maybe, or your child’s daycare.

Just call and ask if there’s been any reported cases of scabies recently.

If they say yes, well, that’s probably a clear sign that your itchy scratchy nights as of late are a sign that you’ve recently picked up our dreaded friends the scabies mite. You’re early symptoms will surely turn into a full blown unbearable infestation if you don’t act soon.

For more information on treating scabies, check out some of our other posts below.

And best of luck to you.

Further Reading: 100 Tips for Scabies Treatment

Further Reading: A Simple 3 Step Guide to Treating Scabies

Further Reading: How to Buy Over The Counter Permethrin Cream Online

Further Reading: A Guidebook to Handling the Itch

Some Quick Tips on How to Clean for Scabies

Cleaning your environment is an essential aspect of a complete scabies cure.

While getting rid of the mites in your skin is challenging enough, what can be even more of a problem is avoiding re infestation.

If you’ve read around a bit on the Topix Scabies forum or elsewhere online then you have undoubtedly read complaints from people along the lines of “Scabies can not be cured” or “Permethrin and Ivermectin won’t work, nothing works!”

But that is far from the truth.

People have been cured, some very quickly, with these medications for decades.

Why these poor people online can’t seem to shake their infestation comes down to two simple factors:

1) They aren’t using the medications correctly. (I’ve already covered that in this post.)

or

2) They aren’t doing a good enough job of keeping their environment clean.

An unclean environment = an constant risk for re-infestation. You don’t want to fall into the same miserable trap as th hopeless people I mentioned before. So let’s go over some tips that will help you to out in your quest for cleanliness.

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

#1) Practice Simplicity. Remove unnecessary stuff.

Anything you don’t think is necessary to keep in your life during this process – stow it away.

House hold items like excess furniture, clothes, bedding, towels, rugs, blankets, couches. Store them in a spare room if you can, or if you have no spare room just wrap fabrics up in plastic so they are as easy to disinfect. 

Remember, everything you come in to contact with it’s a good idea to disinfect. All it takes is a squirt bottle that you can carry around, this this permethrin spray.

The more clutter there is the more you have to clean and the more risk that mites will be hiding away. I mention more about this in the post 100 Practical Tips for Scabies.



#2) Deep clean everything

Surfaces – Use disinfectant sprays. Spray down anything you or other infested people come in contact with.

This Permethrin spray is very effective for this. So is Eco Living Scabies & Bed Bug Spray. Make sure to reapply after every use of an item.

Pets – We love our pets and we love to pet our pets. But for our sake all this petting is going to do the opposite of helping us contain the mites – your pet will spread them to whomever they come in contact with.

Though scabies are unlikely to actually live off of your pets bodies it is highly likely that they can carry the mites on their fur for a long time if left there. You don’t want that. 

As a solution you can either get your friends or relatives to pet sit, wear gloves when you pet your animals, or give your animals a good washing. Ideally wash with a strong solution, like this Sulfur concentrate pet dip for baths.

Carpets – With counter tops a quick swipe of a disinfectant will do the trick. Especially if you have thick carpets like shag. It’s a good idea to borrow or buy a steam cleaner.

The heated water and soap will kill off any mites that are currently calling your carpet home, not giving any mites a chance to burrow and wait.

How to Avoid Losing Sleep From Scabies

Sleepless nights can be one of the worst symptoms of Scabies

If having Scabies isn’t already stressful enough – then add on weeks of ruined sleep schedules.

With such a ridiculous amount of missed Zzz’s you’ll likely be in a huge pit of despair. I know the feeling very well.

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

How to prevent losing sleep from Scabies

While it isn’t possible to entirely get rid of the itch associated with the mites, there are some things you can do.

These solutions include being very proactive about reducing your bodies allergic reaction which causes the itch, as well as keeping your skin cool and healthy.

Learn about methods for counteracting the itch

In my post 10 Anti-Itch Remedies For Scabies I’ve laid out a thorough list of effective ways to soothe your skin and reduce internal reactions involving your bodies histamine response (which is what leads you to feel itchy).

If you follow all of those tips there is a good chance you’ll be able to diminish some of the intensity of your itch and sleep scratch free through the night.

But this isn’t always the case – a lot of people have very strong reactions to scabies mites, and need additionally help if they don’t want to go mad from sleep deprivation.



Invest in a healthy sleep aid

I stand by the benefits of melatonin and magnesium for sleep, and a great natural sleep aid by Prime Choices has a good dosage of both, as well as some other sleep promoters like valarian root, Vitamin B6 & Chamomile

Find Prime Choices Nutrition – Deeper Sleep on Amazon.

Conclusion

I hope this post helped you find ways to get a good sleep during your infestation. Though it isn’t the most important thing in dealing with scabies (having the right treatment regimen is) having good rest gives you some peace of mind that is so easily lost while you are fighting these horrendous mites.

 

The very first thing to do when you get Scabies.

Before you panic,

Before you tear your clothes off and hop in the shower,

Before you start cursing at the person who gave it to you,

Before you start researching the hell out of these weird bugs online (whoops, looks like you already are),

… Before you do anything, CUT YOUR NAILS!

Related: How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

It is so simple and it can make a real difference in how fast and how far the mites spread.

Why?

Because every time you scratch yourself with long nails you are likely to pick up mites, potentially hundreds, from infected parts of your skin. Then, as you continue to scratch or touch things in your environment you will be spreading those mites all over the place.

So please, cut those nails!

That is all. Please refer to the other posts on this website to get a handle on your infestation before it gets worse.

How to Get Rid of Scabies at Home Fast

5 Early Signs & First Symptoms of a Scabies Infestation

How to Buy Over the Counter Permethrin Cream Online

Scabies: How to scratch your skin without spreading mites

The Scabies itch Guidebook:

So if you really just can’t find a way to control yourself and stop scratching, here is a way to scratch more safely. And by safely I mean limiting the amount of scabies mites you are spreading across your body and in your environment.

Coat your hands (especially under your nails) in essential oils such as clove or tea tree oil before you go to bed, or anytime you have the desire to scratch. Scratch at your leisure and remember keep your fingers oiled up.

This way any scratching will potentially kill mites instead of providing a safe ride for them to other parts of the body.

It will still not be good for your skin, but this method eliminates the potential for spreading the mites further around your body/environment.

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