The best mosquito bite reliever
Summer means fun in the sun, backyard barbecues and -- unfortunately -- mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites, it draws out blood and leaves behind its saliva. The saliva acts as an anticoagulant, which causes your immune system to send histamine to the bite. The histamine causes redness, swelling, and -- worst of all -- itching.
Luckily, there are ways to soothe those itchy little bumps without breaking the bank.
If you're dealing with the discomfort of mosquito bites right now, or even if you just want a preemptive remedy for the inevitable cost of summer fun, read our buying guide for the best mosquito bite relievers, including our favorite from a top brand, Benadryl Extra-Strength Cooling Anti-Itch Gel.
Considerations when choosing mosquito bite relievers
Type of reliever
The two primary types of mosquito bite relievers are topical and tools. Topical relievers include things like creams and ointments. These contain different kinds of medicines and applying them to your mosquito bites can help to reduce inflammation and rid you of that itching sensation. Tools are less focused on the symptoms and more on the bite itself. They are used to actually remove the mosquito's infectious saliva from under your dermis, which can relieve the itch and redness as well.
The most important decision you need to make is the active ingredient that you want treating your mosquito bite. Here are the most common ones available in mosquito bite relievers:
Antihistamine is probably the most popular of the remedies. Logic dictates that if histamine in your system is causing your discomfort, an antihistamine should relieve it. This tends to be the case in most situations, which is why antihistamine is a favorite choice.
Zinc oxide doesn't help reduce inflammation of the dermis. It does, however, tend to lessen the frustrating itching and burning associated with mosquito bites.
Hydrocortisone is a topical steroid. It is effective at reducing swelling and redness. In addition to working well on mosquito bites, it works for almost all other forms of skin irritation, insect-borne or otherwise.
Tea tree oil is an essential oil. It helps with defending against swelling and bacteria. The antibacterial properties also assist in keeping infections from taking hold in the affected areas.
Baking soda is a popular remedy for some. Because of its properties that help to reduce itching and swelling, it's also included as an ingredient in some other bite relievers.
Pramoxine is a local anesthetic. It numbs the area, which helps reduce discomfort. It doesn't do anything to reduce redness or itching in the long-term.
Many topical relievers give off a strong smell. However, you can find some that are advertised as scent-free. Some find the smell of tea tree oil and other natural remedies to be calming, but you can easily find options without any scent if you prefer.
Mosquito bite reliever prices
Most mosquito bite relievers cost between $5 and $25. Hydrocortisone, zinc oxide, tea tree oil, and baking soda are the least expensive options. Antihistamines and pramoxine are the more expensive options.
Q. How long do most mosquito bite relievers take to work?
A. The answer depends on the product you're using. For most, the inflammation and redness will be present for days. The itching and discomfort, however, is often gone almost immediately after using a mosquito bite reliever, be it topical or a tool.
Q. Should I use a mosquito bite reliever if I haven't consulted a medical professional?
A. Unless you have a severe allergy to any of the active ingredients in mosquito bite relievers, you should have no problem using them without speaking with a doctor first. They are intended as over-the-counter remedies.
Mosquito bite relievers we recommend
Best of the best: Benadryl Extra-Strength Cooling Anti-Itch Gel
Our take: The most trusted remedy from the most trusted brand in the business.
What we like: No bad smell and no color makes this a great solution for a common problem.
What we dislike: Some complained of a watery consistency to the gel.
Best bang for your buck: After Bite
Our take: An all-in-one solution for all your itching needs.
What we like: The fact that this treatment also works on poison sumac, poison ivy, and poison oak makes it a superb value at a low price.
What we dislike: Some don't like that ammonia is an active ingredient.
Our take: Worth a try as an "out of the box" solution.
What we like: Works on all different types of insect bites without the use of abrasive chemicals.
What we dislike: Most effective within 12 hours of bite.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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