Homemade Anti-Itch Spray

Homemade anti-itch spray recipe

Oh summer… how I love thee. With the fresh peaches for cobbler, long days for family activities, abundance of fresh veggies at the farmers market and the extra time with family, summer is almost perfect…

Except for the mosquitos… or the occasional poison ivy… or itchy peeling sunburn.

It seems that itchy skin is an inevitable part of summer in some way or another.

Of course, homemade bug spray helps ward off most of the mosquitos, and homemade sunscreen helps avoid the sunburn in the first place, but it seems that at some point, someone forgets one or the other and ends up with itchy skin.

I always seem to be a magnet for mosquitos, so even just a couple minutes of cutting the boys’ hair outside or taking out the trash is usually enough to leave me with a few bites.

The solution?

Homemade Anti-itch Spray…

This anti-itch spray contains a mixture of potent natural remedies that helps eliminate itch immediately. I’ve tried it on mosquito bites, poison ivy, sunburn, chiggers,  and even stinging nettle burns and good results.

The essential oils can be left out for use on pregnant women or children, but I’d still recommend checking with a doctor before using if pregnant or if you have a medical condition.

The secret ingredient is menthol crystals. I use these potent natural crystals in my pain relief lotion bars and my soothing shower melts for cold relief. Menthol is naturally cooling and soothing and is often used in salves, balms, mouthwashes, liniments, lozenges and other remedies.

I make this in a 4 ounce spray bottle, but you could easily double the recipe or cut in half to fit your container size.

Anti-Itch Spray Ingredients

How to Make Anti-Itch Spray

  1. Carefully heat the witch hazel extract in a small saucepan until warm to the touch (about 130 degrees). This is to melt the menthol crystals and salt, which melt at about 115 degrees F.
  2. Add the salt and stir until dissolved.
  3. Using tweezers or gloves, add the menthol crystals to the witch hazel and stir until dissolved. Avoid touching menthol with your hands, as it can sting eyes or other sensitive areas if you touch them after.
  4. When menthol is dissolved, add the aloe vera gel, apple cider vinegar and essential oils (if using) and carefully transfer to a spray bottle for use.
  5. This will store for months at room temperature, but I prefer to keep in the refrigerator for extra cooling of itchy skin. This is one remedy I like to keep on hand, especially in the summer.

Ever struggled with itchy skin? What worked for you?

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Reader Comments

  1. Last night I came out of denial as to why my skin itches. Coconut oil! This stuff is drying out my skin and making it HURT so bad. It seems like everyone in Western Civilization touts what a good moisturizer CO is. A found a blog with many comments of others sharing how CO has almost ruined their skin. Truly – I share this to liberate those who don’t understand why they itch so much – it could be the coconut oil if you use it as moisturizer. For some of us it really, really dries our skin. Not saying it’s like this for everyone.

    • Using any oil over dry skin will create a barrier that locks moisture OUT, making skin even drier. But if you put oil on top of wet skin (or better yet, make a cream of oil + water), moisture will be locked in. Hope that helps.

      • Yes. I know this. But with coconut oil this understanding is not applicable for my skin. I did use it with water already on my skin and I also combined it with shea butter – and still it dried me out bad. I would use coconut oil to wash my face – lots o’ water – and put my Weleda moisturizer on afterward and the next day the skin on my face would be a dried out sponge. It is not a universally effective moisturizer for all and that makes sense.

        • It’s not for everybody. It’s like when people tell me to deep condition pre shampoo with organic virgin coconut oil and how soft it leaves hair but I have done this and it actually doesn’t help my hair at all. It feels as if it leaves it dry and fragile. So it works for them but not for me. The same thing seems to go for you. Coconut oil is not your friend. There are other oils out there so maybe you can find something else to use that your body will like better. Good luck. New natural products are complicated to perfect for your needs but you might be able to get it just right eventually.

          • Not wanting to be off topic again as far as thread etiquette goes … but thank you for your support. I found online that I am not alone. I will keep eating CO. I have ordered me some avocado oil and will see how that goes. From what I read, people love it for their hair and scalp. 😉

    • Coconut oil has been a life saver for me!!

  2. Hi there Is there an alternative to using the menthol crystals? I am allergic to menthol. Thank you

    • They are the main active ingredient. This may not be the best recipe for you, but you could try experimenting for alternatives…

      • Thank you! I did see your reply on Facebook! I will try the peppermint or eucalyptus oil. Strangely, I’m not allergic to the therapeutic grade of of either of these oils but when they are ingredients in other things, I am. Maybe that would be true for the menthol crystals as well. Thank you again!

  3. Would Calendula hydrosol work in place of the EO?

  4. I am having a horrible 2015 this year because of a truckload of mulch I got to “dress up” my mother’s flower beds at her house. It’s now 9 weeks later and I’m still overrun with poison. I’m told it’s systemic in my system now. Clear up a large batch in several places and it starts all over again several other places on the body. I’m ordering the menthol crystals now to make this- hope it helps. Thanks.

    • I know, I know, you’re sick of advice for systemic poisons. I have more than 20 years of experience with Gulf War Syndrome. The most major relief I’ve gotten is from stinging nettles (Uritica dioica). Crazy, right? That ubiquitous plant that grows on the edges of woods with tiny little stingers that gives you a terrible rash if you walk through it. If you dry those pesky leaves and make a delicately tasting tea out of them and drink it, it helps clear your skin. (About 1 TBS of dried leaves to 8 oz of boiling water, steep for a few minutes). Once my tea is made I use the warm wet leaves and slather them on any problem areas of skin. You can get a delicious high dose of stinging nettles if you drink some liquid chlorophyl. Just kidding, it’s not delicious, it tastes rather like pond scum, get the mint flavored one, it’s much better. I make an wonderful anti-itch balm the main ingredient is olive oil infused for two weeks with dried stinging nettles.

  5. Thanks Katie! I’m always every mosquitoe’s favorite person too and can’t wait to try this.

  6. Just curious, Katie, which one lasts longer and works the best against mosquitoes? This recipe or the one you wrote about that’s like calamine lotion?

    thanks again,
    Lori

    • Honestly, I think that it might vary from person to person. I would be inclined to try to the calamine, but this one might be better for you.

  7. I do not see Calendula essential oil as an option on MRH website? Would it be under another name? Thanks!!!

  8. The Calendula Essential Oil link does not exist. Not sure Mountain Rose even sells it. I searched for it on their website.

  9. To Kathi:
    Sounds like they ‘mulched’ up a bunch of poison oak/ivy/sumac! How horrible!
    Wonder if you could go back to them and get them to admit where they got the plants from?
    Anyway, I really feel for your pain and itchiness!
    Unfortunately for me, the only thing that seems to get rid of poison oak is antibiotics, those HORRIBLE things!!! I HATE using anti’s, but in your circumstances, MY choice would be to use them. I have tried MANY things, but none seem to rid it fast enough….usually two to three WEEKS of suffering.
    A local made product here in Oregon is Tecnu, available at most all stores…there is a wash and cream which I have used with some success…mostly herbal ingredients

    • In reference to itchiness from poison oak and ivy…..
      My son is a hiker and has had is share of run-ins with poison oak and ivy, and he says the best thing to put on it right away is mud. Go down to the creek (if you’re near one) and get some mud and pack it on the itchy skin. It takes away the oils that are secreted from the plants. I’m wondering if using bentonite and water to make a mud would work too?

    • You might try thyme as its a natural antibiotic. Boil water and pour over a sprig of thyme in a coffee mug, steep 3-5 minutes, remove thyme and drink. You can use a bit of organic honey to sweeten to taste.

  10. Thanks everybody for the poison suggestions but my problem is I didn’t know I was in it (since I bought mulch). I’m highly allergic to it so I know exactly what each plant looks like and I’m careful to stay away . But I’ve still never found a good solution once I have it. It just keeps spreading on me like wildfire and everything I’ve ever purchased doesn’t seem to do any good. Suggestions from drug stores, doctor’s offices, holistic physicians, homeopathic remedies, old-wives remedies and on and on. None of them gives me much relief. I’ve just learned my lesson – no more mulching flower beds anymore.

  11. Have you tried Zanfel? This product saved my butt, literally, when I had poison oak. And other times when I got it on my arms. It takes the poison oak away and relieves the itch. Seriously.

  12. Thank you for the recipe, Katie!

    Every summer, my skin always becomes itchy with the rising heat and, especially, in direct sunlight. (This never happens to me in other seasons.) Although I’m not sure why this happens, I’m really hoping this can give me the needed anti-itch relief. Thanks again, Katie!

  13. As soon as the heat hit, I got a heat rash that kept spreading and sometimes it will itch like crazy! I just now made this recipe, and I can feel it tingle on my skin, which is nice! My husband and I thought the vinegar the dominant smell, so I added 5 drops of clove oil (numbing) and some mint oil (even though it has menthol in it already), and the smell was much nicer–completely masked the vinegar. Thanks too for providing a link to the menthol crystals–I’d been looking for them, because I’ve been thinking of doing some experiments with making cough lozenges.

    • And I actually added another whole teaspoon of menthol crystals to a tablespoon of additional witch hazel to add to the batch I just made last night, because we both thought it needed more menthol. The vinegar smell came back, however (sigh) but the cool tingle lasts much longer now 😉

  14. A basic paste of baking soda and water helps my itch when I get bitten. We’ve also tried placing the goey side of banana peels on the mosquito bites. This isn’t the most appealing (ha ha) way, but in a pinch, I found it worked when my daughter got over 25 bites all over her legs from a camping trip. She almost went crazy with the itch, but the banana peels calmed the itch immediately. Baking soda paste is a little more convenient b/c you can make it fast and it doesn’t fall off when you stand up.

    • When I’m actually in the woods and get bitten, I like to use the juice from jewel weed also known as touch-me-nots (Impatiens capensis). I break open the stems and smear the juice from the stem over the itchiness. This is especially useful for poison ivy. It’s rare to find poison ivy rarely grows where there isn’t some jewel weed in the vicinity. That’s nature for you, both the cause and the cure in close vicinity.

  15. i need to know if I don’t have a menthol crystals what can I use instead I have vinger tea tree oil witch hazel is all I have

  16. could I use Himalayan pink salt or sea salt in place of the natural salt?

      • Hello I am trying to make this for my 2 year old son who is dealing with eczema and constantly itching my question is can I use the fresh aloe plant instead of the store bought gel only because of the added ingredients in it that might trigger him. Will it cause it to mold?

  17. Jewel weed which grows near streams and creeks, and plantain which grows in most gardens might help for itch, bug bites, poison ivy, etc.

  18. Will the menthol sting on eczema? Especially when the area has open cuts from scratching?

    Also, could the calendula EO be substituted with more lavender EO?

    Thanks!

  19. My favorite for bug bits is just Epsom salt and water. I mix it in a jug and dip in cotton balls and it works great.

  20. Can you use Himalayan Salt in place of the natural salt?