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Which essential oil for bug bites is best?

Essential oils offer a wide range of benefits. Some reduce nausea or ease headaches, while others provide bug bite relief. Depending on your needs, one essential oil could serve more than one purpose at once. When it comes to bug bites, though, the best one is the Handcraft Tea Tree Essential Oil. It can soothe itching and help prevent nasty bites from becoming infected.

What to know before you buy essential oil for bug bites

Type and purpose

Essential oils are highly concentrated compounds that come from plants. If you’re looking for bug bit relief, there are many oils to choose from, including:

  • Menthol and peppermint provide relief from headaches, migraines and painful or stinging bug bites.
  • Tea tree is antibacterial and antifungal, so it helps lessen inflammation and fight bacteria growth.
  • Lavender is a multipurpose oil used to fight fungal infections, reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality and soothe itchy bites.
  • Basil has anti-inflammatory properties, which can prevent bug bites from swelling.
  • Chamomile has minor healing and anti-inflammatory properties when applied to bites.
  • Camphor provides a warming feeling that aids in reducing itchiness.
  • Lemon grass can decrease inflammation and prevent bacteria growth on and around the infected site.
  • Rosemary can be used to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.


There are three main ways to use essential oils. People can apply them topically or ingest them for their benefit. Or they can use aromatherapy candles, compresses or sprays.

If you’re dealing with insect bites, the best way to apply the oil is by massaging it directly into the skin. However, you should never apply a highly concentrated essential oil in its base form. This is because, according to the Mayo Clinic, it could cause issues, such as skin irritation, allergic reactions or sun sensitivity.

Instead, dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil, which is also extracted from plants. That way, it’s safe to apply it to your skin.

Several common carrier oils exist, including unrefined coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil and argan oil. Argan oil can help with skin inflammation, thus maximizing the effects of your chosen essential oil.

Before using any essential oil, check the instructions to see what it suggests in terms of application. Sometimes, the bottle indicates how many drops or teaspoons of carrier oil you should mix together.

For example, it might suggest adding 10-15 drops of essential oil per 6 teaspoons of carrier oil for a half percent dilution. Most containers come with a dropper that makes it easy to dispense the liquid in precise quantities.

Never apply essential oil to broken or damaged skin, as this could exacerbate the problem. After applying the oil topically, use a soft cloth to absorb the mixture and lightly pat or massage the affected area to soak up any excess.

Side effects

It’s possible to be allergic or sensitive to certain essential oils. For example, people with tree nut allergies sometimes experience a negative reaction when using oils derived from them, such as almond or coconut oil.

When used topically, common side effects of essential oils include:

  • Skin irritation
  • Burning
  • Blistering

Generally, these effects only happen when the individual does not dilute the essential oil enough. However, people with extremely sensitive skin might also experience these side effects. If any side effects occur, gently wash the area with water to remove as much of the oil as possible.

What to look for in quality essential oil for bug bites


Always check the label before purchasing any essential oils to make sure it’s 100% pure or organic. Some contain other ingredients that won’t work as well for what you need. Others will already be diluted with a carrier oil, so if you dilute it, it might not have the desired effect.

Also, see if the container indicates when the oil was distilled and when it expires. The label should also include any warnings associated with the oil, which is worth knowing before use.


Concentrated essential oils usually come in bottles with capacities ranging from 5 to 15 milliliters. Since you only need a few drops to treat bug bites topically, even a small bottle can last many months. If you need a larger container, you can also find these oils in 1 fluid ounce.


It’s not uncommon to find essential oils in sets. These sets typically contain between two and six different oils, making them ideal for those who want to use them for specific reasons.

For example, one set could feature one bottle each of lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree essential oil. This means you could help fight insomnia, find headache relief and promote healing all in one set.

Just know that not all of the oils in the set help with bug bites. If you want something very specific, it might be better to get an individual container.

How much you can expect to spend on essential oils for bug bites

A single bottle costs around $5, while a set can cost $10-$20.

Essential oils for bug bites FAQ

How should I store essential oils and carrier oils?

A. Store the oils in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat. The cupboards or drawers in a bathroom or kitchen are good options. For opened containers, make sure the lid is on tight since exposure to the air can cause chemical changes to the oil and reduce its potency.

How else can I treat bug bites?

A. You can use a cool compress or oral antihistamine to reduce swelling and itching. Calamine lotion also provides relief and helps soothe sore or swollen bites.

What are the best essential oils for bug bites to buy?

Top essential oils for bug bites

Handcraft Tea Tree Essential Oil

Handcraft Tea Tree Essential Oil

What you need to know: This pure tea tree oil is highly concentrated and serves as a great natural remedy to bug bites.

What you’ll love: Available in 4 fluid ounces as well as 10 milliliters, this premium oil does not contain any additives or fillers. It comes with a sturdy glass dropper to make dispensing easier.

What you should consider: It’s undiluted, so you need a carrier oil.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top essential oils for bug bites for the money

Cococare 100% Natural Peppermint Oil

Cococare 100% Natural Peppermint Oil

What you need to know: Made with Mentha piperita, this all-natural peppermint oil provides instant relief when applied topically and can help alleviate itching.

What you’ll love: Offered in either 1 fluid ounce or 30 milliliters, this organic oil is great for soothing nasty bug bites and reducing inflammation. For maximum relief, it should be diluted with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or almond oil.

What you should consider: It can cause irritation to sensitive skin.

Where to buy: Sold by iHerb

Worth checking out

Artnaturals Aromatherapy Top-6 Essential Oil Set

Artnaturals Aromatherapy Top-6 Essential Oil Set

What you need to know: This set of essential oils features tea tree, sweet orange, peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus and lavender oils.

What you’ll love: Available in counts of six, eight, 12 and 16, each bottle is undiluted and all-natural. Since there are several oils, they each provide targeted relief to different issues, including insomnia, stress, low energy and irritated bug bites. They work great topically or in a diffuser.

What you should consider: They do not come with a dropper.

Where to buy: Sold by iHerb


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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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