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What Are the Best Home Remedies for Scabies?

Essential oils made from tea tree and neem have medicinal properties to help skin problems.
Oil derived from a neem tree can stop mites from breeding in the skin.
A cold compress may offer relief for itching and pain.
Permethrin, a prescription medication, is often used to treat scabies.
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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 25 June 2014
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Scabies is caused by mites that dig under the skin, resulting in itching, rash, and blisters. Extremely uncomfortable and very contagious, this skin condition is often treated with a prescription medication called Permethrin. This topical ointment is actually an insecticide which can have some very negative side effects, so some people may prefer to use home remedies for scabies infestations.

One of the best home remedies for scabies is tea tree oil. This essential oil, extracted from the leaves of the Australian tea tree, is known for having medicinal properties and is often used for skin problems. It is readily available in many stores that sell homeopathic remedies or online. Tea tree oil can be added to bathwater or applied directly to problem areas to kill the scabies mites.

Neem oil is considered another of the best home remedies for scabies. Also known as margosa oil, this essential oil is derived from the neem, an evergreen tree native to India and other parts of southeast Asia. Like tea tree oil, it can be added to a bath to help soothe scabies symptoms and stop the mites from breeding. It is also available in lotions and soaps.

Another home remedy that has been shown to be effective in fighting scabies is sulphur. Sulphur has been used since ancient times to treat scabies and is considered safe to use on children. Ointments or soaps containing sulphur should be used on the affected areas several times a day.

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In addition to killing the mites on the body and treating the physical symptoms of scabies, it is extremely important to rid the environment of any mites that could cause re-infestation. Keeping infected skin covered by long sleeves or pants can help limit the spread of scabies. Any clothing, towels, or bedding that has been in contact with the infected person or people should be washed in hot water, dried in a dryer, and ironed. Carpeting and furniture should be vacuumed. Sinks, counters, and floors should be cleaned and disinfected, as well as showers and bathtubs that may be exposed.

Certain home remedies for scabies will not get rid of the infestation, but can be helpful in reducing the symptoms. Adding oatmeal to a bath can help soothe the skin and stop itching. Application of a cold compress may also help with the itch. Over-the-counter lice treatments may be used to kill the mites on the skin, although they will not affect the ones under the skin.

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Discuss this Article

anon956950
Post 10

I hear that hot water and bleach works very well!

anon356849
Post 9

I just found something that worked on these damn scabies!! I got them while cleaning out the closet of a friend's mom, who passed away.

I have had this now for six very miserable months. I have used the Permethrin Cream three times now. That is one application and then again in one week. Three times. I got very short term relief, not to mention skin that turned to shoe leather.

I forgot to mention that the majority of mine are the Norwegian type, which are much more difficult to get rid of and usually required the Ivermectin, which I really did not want to take. I don't have medical insurance and my primary doctor was fine with the cream, but dislikes giving the pills so wanted me to see a dermatologist.

So, out of desperation, I have tried many things that were already in my medicine cabinet. I found the scent of tea tree oil revolting and had to remove it. Anyway, I had about run out of ideas as far as any cream or lotion, when I saw one tube that k had overlooked.

Topricin! This stuff is fantastic! You will see those damn things die within minutes and begin to come to the surface. It is an over the counter, anti-inflammatory pain relief cream. And it is a miracle!

It is not the cheapest stuff- about $15 for a 2.0 oz. tube, but it is a thin cream so it spreads easily. It is odor free, not greasy and dries nicely so you can wear clothes after applying. You can use it several times a day. And it also has the pain relief benefit. I don't know about itching since I don't have that with the Norwegian type, but this type is incredibly painful.

I can't believe how well this worked. I was actually able to just wipe some of the bugs away with a tissue. And I could see them in the bottom of the shower. Can I tell you that this is the first time in months I have felt clean! How I wish I found this months ago.

Now I don't know if it kills the eggs. I will have to see how it is in a week, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. I also plan to contact the company that makes it and let them know.

Good luck everyone! I hope it works for you too. --Joanne

anon330717
Post 8

Clove and most other essential oils don't mix with water unless adding a salt or carrier and in a bath are likely to hit the skin directly causing a burn or other reaction. It is best to dilute with a carrier such as coconut or olive oil.

anon315638
Post 6

My boys picked it up from who knows where. We have done two permethrin treatments. but a few days after the first (mind you, everyone in the house was treated at the same time) they were still scratching uncontrollably so I did some research for hours on end and found using tea tree oil and/or sulfur soap was used to kill the mites.

So I went and got 100 percent tea tree oil and sulfur soap. I mixed the tea tree oil with olive oil -- three parts tea tree oil to 10 parts olive oil. We bathe with the sulfur soap and rub down with the oil mixture every night before bed. They stopped scratching almost instantly and their "spots" looked a lot better just one time.

A week later, we treated with permethrin again and continued with the sulfur soap and tea tree oil mix the night after. So far, so good, as we are still using this and will for two or three weeks from the last permethrin treatment.

anon314937
Post 5

I used providone iodine to kill the mites and it also helped to heal and dry up the sores. I put it into a spray bottle with a little bit of water to keep it from drying to fast. I applied it from head to toe, then washed it off. I was careful to keep out of my eyes. I did this twice a day for 25 days.

I had difficulty with reinfection from my home. On day 13, I started using borax in my laundry, carpets, bedding and furniture. I used six bottles of iodine and two boxes of borax for a family of three. No one in our family is allergic to iodine, so this worked great for us.

anon302608
Post 4

I used three permethrin treatments which did nothing but fight them off for a few days. After that failed, I went to the natural store and bought a bar of 3 percent sulfur bar soap (commonly used to treat acne I guess) and natural lotion with 5 percent tea tree oil. I literally felt better immediately (that skin crawling restless feeling had gone away) and by the second day my skin was almost back to normal.

Sulfur kills mites and dries the skin out but the tea tree lotion moisturizes and kills the mites as well, so your skin ends up with the right amount of moisture. I washed my body first with the sulfur bar (try to keep the bathroom door open and ventilated because it stinks and might dry out your throat) then used a bar of natural lavender soap (scabies don't like it and it smells better) then I would dry off and put the tea tree lotion all over (I tested it on my arm a few hours prior to make sure I wasn't allergic).

The tea tree lotion is very potent so you might want to try not to breathe it in and use it in a well ventilated area as well. Maybe even go outside for an hour while your skin absorbs it. I just did this once or twice a day until I felt better. This costs maybe 10 dollars, and asking for those products is not as embarrassing since they are very specific and you don't have to explain what they are for.

burcidi
Post 3

@anamur-- That's right, mites can't stand changes in pH. That's why taking a bath with baking soda in hot water would work as well. Hot water in general is great for killing mites and relieving itching. Aloe vera is also great for itching but it won't kill the mites.

A friend of mine said that taking a bath with an all natural dish soap works really well also. I've never tried this but I think it would work as well. I've heard it being used for other kinds of skin infestations, so why not.

serenesurface
Post 2

@ddljohn-- I completely agree with you. I was not okay with using oils on my son to treat scabies when he picked it up from his kindergarten either. He already has really sensitive skin and it was in terrible condition due to the mites. He had little red bumps all over his arms and he wouldn't stop scratching which made it worse.

Thankfully, my mom came to my aid and told me to dilute some apple cider vinegar with water and apply it on the areas where the mites were biting every couple of hours. I did this and it really worked. The mites went away after three days of using vinegar.

I looked this up later and learned that mites require a certain pH level to survive. Apparently anything that changes the pH level will cause them to die. This is exactly what the vinegar was doing because it's acidic. And since I diluted it, it didn't bother my son at all.

ddljohn
Post 1

Clove oil also works really well for killing mites on and under the skin. I used it several times before when I stayed at my friend's house which was infested with mites.

One thing to remember about clove oil, neem oil or tea tree oil is that it can be too strong for sensitive skin. For example, I can't use tea tree oil at all because I have an allergic reaction to it. I realized this when I used an acne treatment with tea tree oil in it.

When I use clove oil, I always mix it with another oil to dilute it so that it doesn't irritate my skin. It's absolutely necessary to dilute it when using it on kids or toddlers. These oils generally get absorbed by the skin so it can be dangerous if it's too much. That's why baths are probably better because the oil is very diluted in bath water so there is less risk of skin irritation.

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