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How do you deal with insect bites — both preventing them as well as keeping yourself from scratching at them? If you have any big events (for work or play, like an interview or a wedding), do you cover them?
I recently got bitten (allllllllll over my legs), and so this has been a matter of interest. (And I think all of my searches comparing different bug bites has resulted in my getting all the targeted ads!!) (I think it was mosquitoes, with an outside possibility of a poison oak rash.)
We haven’t talked about this in a super long time (back when a reader wondered how to look professional and cover her bug bitten legs) — so let’s discuss. (Somewhat amusingly, reader comments in 2009 all said things like “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but wear a pantsuit instead of a skirt suit.”)
How to Prevent Insect Bites
Preventing Insect Bites at Your Home
We bought this highly-recommended Thermacell mosquito repelling device — it’s pretty small and has a zillion positive reviews. It does have to be charged, though, and somehow we always seem to forget to bring it outside with us when we go (or when we do remember, it isn’t charged). We also have a Dynatrap running during summer months, which does seem to do a pretty good job of preventing mosquitos (I don’t remember our exact model). Two other things that I’ve tried: these LED bug light bulbs, which I think are working well because I kind of forgot that we’re using them, and (if it’s just mosquitos), small fans can also keep away mosquitoes because they’re pretty weak when it comes to flying (this is the one pictured at top).
How to Prevent Insect Bites on the Go
I’ve bought various bracelet bands and stickers over the years, particularly when the kids were small — I’m not a big fan of how they smell, but I think the next time I go out to eat on a rainy day I’ll try to loop one around my ankle. (Am I the only one who gets eaten alive while eating outside at restaurants?) I don’t remember exactly which brand we’ve bought, but this one looks like a good one to try. I remember not liking the stickers when the kids were small, but I might try this brand with citronella oil. (Ohhhh – I love that they show it stuck on a plastic part of a stroller, that would have been a better solution when my boys were young.)
When we remembered to spray ourselves, we did like this spray — it didn’t smell too awful, and it seemed to keep the bugs away.
How to Deal with Itching from Insect Bites
This was the part that killed me — I haaaate the itching. I tried to put Cortizone cream on the individual spots and wear pants when the weather allowed (it was hot!). It’s of limited help, but something else you can do is scratch a non-bitten part of your body, like your arm — I think you get the satisfied feeling of scratching something without threat of breaking open more skin.
In the aftermath of my recent bug bite palooza, though, I had texted some of the girlfriends I’d been dining with, and one of them swears by StingEze — it arrived too late for me to try it during the height of my itchiness, but it’s in my arsenal for next time. Ditto for this weird suction product, The Bug Bite Thing, which appeals to me because it doesn’t contain any chemicals; instead it removes insect venom, saliva, and other irritants. (That one found me on social media!)
How to Cover Up Insect Bites
Obviously, your focus should be on healing the skin — plus no one wants to slather your legs with concealer. But if you have a big event coming up like a wedding or an interview, I’ve heard good things about this waterproof body concealer, but haven’t tried it yet myself. You might also want to try this summer shine body lotion. (Oh, and I forgot that Sally Hansen makes a leg makeup product as well, and this Dermablend body foundation also has SPF 25.)
Readers, what are your best products and tips to deal with bug bites, whether it’s preventing them, relieving a bug bite’s itch, or covering up insect bites?