Best Bug Bite Cream and Ointment To Soothe Bug Bites

I once had a bug bite I was blissfully unaware of on my forearm. My mother, the ever-present jokester, gave it a scratch and then looked at me, totally dead-eyed and said, “I activated it”.

She laughed, I laughed, we all laughed. But then I slowly realized that what she’d said was true; she had activated it, and for the next four days that stupid mosquito bite became the bane of my existence.

Why do bug bites – particularly mosquito bites – itch, tingle, burn and swell? More importantly, why hasn’t someone come up with a miracle cure to get rid of bug bites instantly?

While we have finally accepted that we can’t answer all of these burning questions, our team can assure you that there are some excellent bug bite cream and ointment options we came across in our quest for the answers to them.

So join us today as we talk about bug bites, why they’re particularly annoying, and which bug bite creams and ointments our experts recommend above the rest to soothe them.

What Is Bug Bite Cream And How Does It Work?

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Many of us have anti-itch ointments and creams in our cabinets, but do you have the right medications?

Sadly, there’s no instant cure for a bug bite. The good news is, however, that most bug bites can be soothed using over the counter bug bite cream and ointment products that don’t require a prescription.

These creams and ointments come in a number of varieties, and often work similarly and with a single goal – to soothe the bug bite’s itch and to reduce the swelling.

But what causes this swelling and itching to begin with?

You might be surprised to learn that the mosquito bite on my forearm was not actually caused by the mosquito. It was caused by my own body reacting to the foreign substance that was injected into my skin from the mosquito’s saliva when she bit me. (Yes, she, because only female mosquitoes bite).

And this is true for all of us when it comes to most non-venomous bug bites from spiders, gnats, mosquitoes and chiggers.

All humans and animals produce an amine known as histamine. This substance plays several important roles in our bodies, aiding in digestion, working as a neurotransmitter, and acting as part of an immune response to foreign substances in your body.

And this is where allergies come in.

For some lucky people, allergies are a rarity. They only occur on occasion and in severe situations. For others, the changing seasons or a passing cat can lead to an allergic reaction. This is caused when your histamine mistakes something like pollen or animal hair for something dangerous and overreacts.

This can lead to swelling, watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, and other unpleasant symptoms.

Histamines also often react to foreign substances like bug bites, as we mentioned above. So, when that mosquito bit me, the histamine in my body rushed to the area like bouncers in a club and caused swelling in the blood vessels and skin in an effort to rid the area of the invading substance.

What resulted was an uncomfortable and consistent itchiness and redness that didn’t go away for days and required me to purchase and use nearly an entire tube of bug bite cream.

The truth is, many people react to bug bites differently based on their unique histamine levels and production. Some people don’t have any reaction to bug bites while others, like me, may have mild swelling or bumps, but not have itching until someone “activates” it (thanks, mom).

Thankfully, most bug bites are harmless and our histamine reactions are normal, and a sign that our bodies are working hard to protect us from things that shouldn’t be entering our system.

Still, that doesn’t stop bug bites from being itchy and annoying. And this is where bug bite cream and ointments come in handy.

Bug bite cream and ointment products work using ingredients that soothe the itch and sometimes even reduce inflammation around the bite.

While they may not take the bug bite away, they can help it to heal faster by reducing your urge to itch the bite, which can lead to prolonged symptoms and even a secondary infection.

However, not all bug bite cream products are made equally. Some contain natural ingredients while others are chemical based. Some bug bite cream products contain steroids to help reduce inflammation, and some more heavy-duty bug bite cream products will need to be prescribed by a doctor for more severe reactions.

And this brings us to the next topic of discussion. Do bug bite creams work for all types of bug bites?

Let’s find out.

Does Bug Bite Cream Work For All Bug Bites?

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Bug bite creams work on a number of bug bites, but not all bug bites.

Just as bug bite creams are not created equal, not all bug bites are created equal. Some insects and their bites are completely harmless while other bites may be venomous. This includes bites from arachnids like the brown recluse, the black widow, or the hobo spider.

While bug bite cream can help to soothe itching and pain from bites like these, it’s likely you’ll need something stronger than your typical over the counter ointment, and you’ll likely need a doctor visit.

But don’t worry – though some bug bites from venomous critters like spiders can make you ill, there have been no reported deaths from spiders in the United States.

But it isn’t just the bugs that can cause different bites in people. As we mentioned above, people also have different immune responses to certain foregin bodies, and some histamine reactions can be more powerful than others.

For severe bug bite reactions, it’s best to forgo using bug bite cream and ointments and to seek the advice of a doctor.

We should also note here that bug bites are not the same as insect stings. Insect stings include bee stings, wasp stings, and scorpion stings.

These types of stings can have a serious reaction that can lead to something known as anaphylaxis, which is a life threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

Though rare, some bug bites like mosquito bites, fire ant bites, and even gnat bites can lead to anaphylaxis as well.

Again, this is something that cannot be fixed with a bug bite cream and requires emergency medical attention.

With that noted, bug bite cream and ointment can help soothe mild and typical reactions to bug bites and bug stings.

But what are the best bug bite cream products available to soothe those bites and stings quickly and effectively?

We have you covered with our favorite products below. Keep reading!

Best Bug Bite Cream You Can Buy Over The Counter

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Bug bite creams are readily available and you can often find them at the store or order them online.

Bug bite creams are easy to find and simple to use, though not all of them contain the same ingredients and some may not work as well as others.

Some of the most common bug bite cream and ointments include the following:

Hydrocortisone Cream

Hydrocortisone Cream is a steroid based topical cream commonly available both over the counter and through a prescription, depending on the percentage of the steroid in the ointment.

This product works in a number of ways, but it overall helps to calm your body’s natural reaction to a bug bite by soothing itching, cooling the skin, reducing redness, pain and swelling, and creating a barrier over the skin to stop the itching.

Hydrocortisone cream is very effective, though it can be hazardous if not used as directed. Because this product contains a steroid, it can lead to skin thinning over time with excessive use and should only be used sparingly.

Aloe Vera Lotion

If you’re looking for an all natural form of bug bite cream or ointment, you may want to look for creams that include aloe vera. Aloe vera naturally contains a number of vitamins and minerals that can help reduce swelling, cool the skin and alleviate itching.

Best of all, aloe vera is very healing. It contains natural antibacterial properties that not only soothe itchy bug bites and stings, but also helps them to heal more quickly.

Calamine Lotion

This product works in a number of ways, but it overall helps to calm your body’s natural reaction to a bug bite by soothing itching, cooling the skin, reducing redness, pain and swelling, and creating a barrier over the skin to stop the itching.

Calamine lotion also often hardens over time, leaving a crusty paste over the bite that can serve as a reminder for people to stop itching. Along with using calamine lotion as a bug bite cream, many people also use this product as a pain and itch reliever for chicken pox, poison ivy rashes, poison oak rashes, and more.

Other Common Ingredients In Bug Bite Cream:

Other active ingredients you might find in bug bite creams include:

  • Menthol
  • Baking soda
  • Witch Hazel
  • Essential Oils
  • Oatmeal
  • And Sulfur

While these may be some of the most common ingredients in bug bite cream and ointment products, they are not the only ingredients or the only options.

Let’s take a look below at some of our favorite bug bite cream options you can choose from when it comes to healing those annoying bug bites.

Cortizone 10

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When looking for a bug bite cream that is highly effective, many people would recommend Cortisone 10. This is one of the most popular bug bite creams on the market and contains hydrocortisone as the active ingredient to help reduce itching and swelling.

The above product can last for up to 10 hours and provides relief from bug bites, rashes, inflammation and irritation. Along with hydrocortisone, this bug bite cream also contains antioxidants, melatonin and lavender to help calm and heal the affected area.

Sallyeander No-Bite-Me But Bite Cream

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If you’re looking for a more natural remedy for bug bite cream, we would recommend the above product by Sallyeander. This bug bite cream not only helps soothe itching and irritation from bug bites but it also helps prevent bug bites in the future.

The product works to soothe bites and prevent pests from biting again like mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and black flies. You can order it in two ounces or eight ounces, and the product is safe enough to use on children and even infants.

It works using essential oils like mint, rosemary, cedar and lemongrass to repel pests while moisturizing ingredients help soothe itching and irritation.

After Bite Bug Bite Cream

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Another product we like is a product called After Bite. This product comes in a few different solutions. Some contain sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda), while others can be ordered in an extra strength solution with Diphenhydramine. This product also provides a less intense bug bite cream safe for use on children.

We like the variety this bug bite cream offers and that it is made in a long tube ideal for those on the go.

Mite-B-Gone Sulfur Bug Bite Cream

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Mite-B-Gone bug bite cream is a sulfur-based bug bite cream that works for soothing a variety of bug bites and skin irritations. It can also be used on acne and even fungus irritations.

It works using natural ingredients like 10% sulfur, essential oils, and sunflower seed oil to help keep skin healthy and soothe irritations.

We like that it works without using chemical ingredients and that it is even recommended by dermatologists.

This bug bite cream can help soothe bites from bugs like mites, mosquitoes, chiggers, ants, flies, and other pesky insects.

Nature’s Willow Bug Bite Cream

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Last we have a bug bite balm by Nature’s Willow. This is an all natural bug bite cream that is made with white willow bark and includes ingredients like essential oils, menthol and helichrysum to help reduce inflammation and help stop itching. It can also be used on other minor skin irritations and rashes.

This product works well on a number of bites and stings including bee stings, horse fly bites, chigger bites, fire ant bites, spider bites and mosquito bites.

This bug bite cream is safe to use on children over the age of two, but is not recommended for infants.

Recipes For How To Make Your Own Bug Bite Cream

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You can make your own bug bite remedy using household ingredients like oatmeal.

Bug bite creams are not only available over the counter or through your doctor. In fact, many people already have all the ingredients they need to make a soothing and effective bug bite cream right in their own home!

If you’re ever in a pinch and need something to quickly soothe annoying bug bites, here are a few home remedies we recommend you use.

Baking Soda And Water

The old baking soda and water remedy for a homemade bug bite cream is something that seems to have been passed down generation after generation, and for good reason; this method really works!

Baking soda contains alkaline components which help to calm and soothe bug bites by normalizing your skin’s natural pH Balance. Baking soda can also help reduce inflammation, itching, and even prevent infection.

For best results, make a baking soda and water paste that is thick enough to spread onto your skin without being watery.

Allow it to dry and let it sit for 10 minutes.


Honey is more than just an amazing sweet treat! This incredible substance also has anti-bacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce itching, swelling and redness of bug bites. It can also help wounds heal faster and reduce the risk of infection if you’ve scratched to excess.

Oatmeal And Water

Like honey, oatmeal contains natural healing properties and can help reduce itching, swelling, redness and irritation. For single bites, combine a few oats with water to make a thick paste and apply it directly to the affected area.

If you have lots of bug bites on your body, go ahead and make a nice oatmeal bath. Fill your tub and pour about a cup of oats directly into the tub and soak in the bath for about half an hour.

Pure Aloe Vera Gel

Most of us know that aloe vera oil helps with sunburns and skin irritation, but did you know that pure aloe vera is also an excellent natural bug bite cream? In fact, many bug bite cream products actually contain aloe vera as one of the active ingredients to help reduce itching and swelling. Aloe vera can also help the bug bite heal more quickly.

Crushed Ice

Crushed ice does not contain any anti-itch properties or antibacterial properties, but it can help reduce inflammation quickly and numb the area to stop itching. This is a great go-to if you’re fresh out of other ingredients or bug bite cream and need a quick fix.

Of course, don’t leave the crushed ice on the affected area too long. A minute should do the trick to help ease irritation temporarily.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is today’s wonder juice. It’s used for nearly everything these days from cold remedies to weight management. But did you know it can also make a quick and easy bug bite cream solution?

Simply soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and hold it on your bug bite for relief of swelling and itching. Apple cider vinegar can also help clean and sanitize the bite, especially if you’ve been scratching it.

Garlic And Coconut Oil

Garlic has incredible healing properties and can help reduce swelling, itching and even help wounds heal more quickly. However, raw garlic applied directly to the skin can be irritating and cause burning.

Experts recommend that you dice fresh garlic and mix it with coconut oil, then apply this paste directly to the bite for a soothing and quick bug bite cream solution.

Chamomile Tea

Last, we have chamomile tea. Chamomile is a flower that is related to the Daisy family, and these types of flowers have healing and soothing properties that are excellent for wounds, rashes and bug bites.

If you have chamomile tea bags, go ahead and brew a cup. Take the bag out and squeeze away the excess water, then apply the bag directly to your bug bite. This will help soothe itching and reduce swelling.

Some experts suggest freezing the tea bag when you’re done to give you a nice, cool bug bite soother down the road.

If you’re looking for more bug bite cream home remedies, this video below has other great tips and tricks.

Bug Bite Prevention – Tips For Being Proactive

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Preventing bug bites can mean wearing full coverage clothing.

No matter where you live in the United States, bug bites are inevitable. And while some people have little to no reaction to bug bites, many people do. Bug bites are annoying, and soothing them with bug bite cream can certainly help to alleviate the irritation.

But the best way to go about bug bite treatment is to prevent them from happening at all. While it’s always a good idea to be prepared for bug bites and have bug bite cream on hand, we also suggest you be proactive and prepare for going out when you know bugs are going to be present.

Below are a few bug bite prevention products we recommend to help keep those pesky bugs off of your skin.

OFF! DEET Bug Bite Spray

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One of the most popular types of bug repellent that you may want to use in conjunction with a quality bug bite cream is a product that contains DEET. While DEET can be controversial, most experts agree that in moderation it is safe and effective when it comes to preventing bug bites.

Most importantly, it can help prevent bites from occurring that could lead to illness like West Nile Virus transferred from mosquitoes or Lyme Disease, which can be transferred from tick bites.

The above order includes two sprays that go on dry and provides long term protection. It is safe to use on children and adults but should be kept out of reach of children when not in use.

Bug Soother Spray

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If you prefer a more natural approach to bug spray, we would recommend trying Bug Soother Spray by the Bug Soother Store. This product is made with natural ingredients and it even has a pleasant scent. You can choose between lemongrass or vanilla, and rest easy knowing this product is safe for children and even pets.

It is also environmentally friendly and contains active ingredients like lemongrass and essential oils. It includes castor oil, Vitamin E, purified water and vanilla. We really like that it comes in both a travel size and larger family size variation for people to use at home and on the go.

Different Types Of Bug Bites – When To Use Bug Bite Cream and When To See Your Doctor

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Not all bug bites are equal, and some may be more dangerous than others.

As we discussed briefly in the beginning of this article, not all bug bites are the same, and not all people react similarly to bug bites.

Remember, some bites contain venom that can cause you to become sick or even go into anaphylaxis, and this is something that cannot be helped with bug bite cream.

If you believe you have been bitten by a venomous insect or spider, it’s best to contact your doctor immediately for further instructions.

What You Should Know About Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a serious and life threatening allergic reaction that can come on suddenly. It requires immediate medical attention. Stings and bites can lead to anaphylaxis, and while rare, it can even be caused by mosquito bites.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Difficulties breathing
  • A rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety or feelings of distress
  • Clammy skin
  • Collapse
  • And Loss of consciousness

If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or someone you love after experiencing a bug bite, call 911 immediately.

Otherwise, caring for bug bites is relatively simple. While there is no cure or magic product to make them go away instantly, there are many types of bug bite cream and ointment products and plenty of home remedies you can use to soothe these irritating bites and help them to heal more quickly.

So, which bug bite cream home remedy have you tried before? Tell us which has worked best for you in the comment section below.

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