Skin-related ailments are becoming quite common in countries all over the world. Unhygienic environments and dirty living conditions are the main perpetrators of skin diseases. While most skin diseases heal over time by simple treatments, some of them are highly contagious and can cause harm to you and those around you.
One such common skin ailment is scabies. It is a contagious skin disease that is quite common in most parts of the world. What distinguishes scabies from other skin conditions is that while most skin ailments arise from allergies or are genetic, scabies comes from mites. A particular mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei var hominis thrives on the upper layer of the skin where it survives and lays up to two or three eggs every day.
According to the U.K. National Health Service(1), scabies is more prevalent in areas that have large populations and do not have access to adequate healthcare. Countries such as Africa, South, and Central America, and Southeast Asian countries are most affected by this dreadful disease.
Common symptoms of scabies include irritation and redness of the skin, itchiness, blistering, sores from constantly scratching the skin, bites, or bumps on the skin, etc. Even though the ailment is severe and causes enormous discomfort to the skin, scabies can be treated by natural remedies.
In this article, we talk about simple ways to prevent and cure, rashes, and bites arising from scabies, while discussing how long does it take for the disease to diminish. We also have a specific section that deals with common queries about scabies and its cure.
How to Treat Scabies with Natural Remedies
Before we discuss the natural remedies to get rid of scabies, it is vital that you consult a doctor to know if the treatment would suit your body or not. Moreover, in case the disease persists even after the application of these remedies, seek assistance from a dermatologist at the earliest.
CURE 1: Essential Oils for Scabies
Essential oils have served as a treatment to cure a variety of ailments since ages. Various studies have pointed to the fact that essential oils can help relieve different types of ailments without any potential side effects.
In this section, we tell you about some of the most renowned essential oils that you can use to get rid of scabies.
1. Tea tree oil for Scabies
Constant scratching of the skin, redness of the skin, etc. are the main symptoms of this skin infection. Tea tree oil is an excellent topical treatment to deal with scabies. It helps reduce the itchiness and rashes on the skin. However, this oil may not be of use if the eggs lie deep into the skin.
A study(2) conducted in the year 2016 summarized the knowledge of tea tree oil for the treatment of scabies and its effect on the redness on the skin caused due to the disease. It was found out that tea tree oil promises quick relief from scabies and is a particularly effective remedy in cases where other treatments were not of much help.
Tea tree oil possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, as well as acaricidal properties, that are incredibly beneficial to get rid of scabies. This oil has been used to cure skin infections for a long time and since then has shown positive results.
The oil is quite effective in providing relief to patients from the constant itchiness due to mites entering their skin. However, more research in this field is required, and it is only after more studies that the effectiveness of tea tree oil to cure scabies can be proven.
How to Use?
You can purchase tea tree oil from your nearest local store or pharmacist. You can also get this oil quickly from your dermatologist.
While purchasing, make sure that you pay attention to the concentration of the oil in the package to know precisely if it is diluted, or if it is 100 percent pure. Gently apply the oil on the affected area around 2-3 times a day. Tea tree oil works best when it is applied right before going to sleep to relieve yourself from scratching.
2. Anise seed oil
According to several types of research, anise seed oil can reduce insecticidal activity. Anise seed oil is a kind of essential oil that possesses antibacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties. It is useful to reduce the redness of the skin and reduce the reproduction of the mites on the skin.
How to Use?
Anise seeds oil can be readily available at your nearest local store. While buying it, pay close attention to the amount of concentration that the oil contains. This would further determine the right dosage of the oil.
Apply the oil topically on the affected area, and let it get absorbed in the skin, leave it on the skin for 3-4 hours. Thereafter, gently rinse your skin with warm water. Repeat this activity for around 3-4 times a day until you notice improvement.
3. Clove oil for scabies
Clove is quite an old remedy to solve several physical ailments, such as toothaches, skin infections, digestive disorders, etc. Clove is known to have antioxidant, anesthetic, as well as antimicrobial properties that add to its healing powers. It is also an efficacious and a recognized insecticidal.
A particular study(3) published by the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, found out that clove oil was extremely effective in killing mites. Clove oil is one of the most effective essential oils that can be used to get rid of scabies.
How to Use?
You can use clove oil for treating scabies in a variety of ways. However, it is essential that you dilute the oil before using it as it may harm the skin if used directly. Make sure that you purchase good quality clove oil. Do some research before you purchase one or consult a doctor.
Adding a little bit of clove oil, say 5-6 drops, in warm water while bathing can help you get relief from scabies. It helps soothe the itchiness. Clove oil can only be applied topically on the affected area. Do not forget to dilute the same before application. Additionally, you can add clove oil to your lotion or moisturizer during and after your treatment of scabies.
To achieve best results, use this oil daily. However, in case your body begins to show any side effect from its own, discontinue the use of the oil and seek immediate medical assistance.
4. Rosemary oil
Rosemary essential oil is of great use while treating scabies. It is an excellent remedy to reduce parasitic infestations and can help you prevent the development of any secondary infection on your skin. Rosemary oil can also go a long way from relieving you from the constant pain and itchiness that results from scabies.
How to Use?
The best way to use rosemary oil is to apply it topically. You can apply it right after you take a shower, just before bedtime. The effects of this oil will begin to show in no time.
5. Lavender oil
Lavender oil is an excellent remedy that promotes the regeneration of skin cells. If you want to kill parasitic mites in your body and get rid of the redness on the skin, lavender oil would be the perfect solution.
How to Use?
Lavender oil has to be applied topically on the affected areas. It may be noted that in case the oil does not show any noteworthy results in a few days, consult a doctor to find out about alternative remedies.
CURE 2: Herbs to Treat Scabies
The use of herbs to cure chronic ailments is not new to mankind. They serve as an excellent natural remedy to heal several bodily discomforts and are a great alternative to over the counter prescriptions or antibiotics that may have the potential to cause harm in the long run. It may be noteworthy to know that scabies can be treated using herbs. These herbs are readily available in the market and are a do-it-yourself remedy to obtain relief from skin disease.
One of the best natural remedies to cure scabies is turmeric.
Turmeric contains antioxidants that help prevent the spread of inflammation. While affected by scabies the fats present in the cell membrane diminish or degrade due to the reaction with oxygen, turmeric helps prevent such degradation by containing the spread of the infection. Turmeric improves the response of the immune system to treat scabies, thus inhibiting the infection from reaching internal organs.
Curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its yellow color, has immunomodulatory properties. This means that it can increase the response of antibodies in the body to contain the infection. This property of turmeric is primarily responsible for showing quick improvement from scabies as well as ensuring a speedy recovery.
How to Use?
Turmeric can be best used by making a paste and combining it with other herbs and natural remedies.
For instance, to cure scabies, you can add turmeric to ginger oil to reduce boils on the body. You can also make an ointment consisting of turmeric, mustard oil, onion, as well as hemp leaves to relieve persistent and chronic itching on the skin.
Remember, in case you are already on a medical prescription, consumption of turmeric can cause side effects. Pregnant women should avoid turmeric during their pregnancy or lactation.
In case you have diabetes, avoid turmeric since it is a blood thinning agent. Ensure that you consult a doctor before using this natural remedy to avoid any potential harm to the body or escalation of the disease.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has been one of the most common remedies to cure skin infections like scabies since times immemorial. Aloe vera is known to have a soothing as well as a healing effect on the skin and alleviates severe itching. This 3000-year-old natural remedy has negligible side effects and is used as a standard household treatment to get rid of skin disorders.
A particular study(4) conducted in the year 2009 revealed that aloe vera was equally efficient as benzyl benzoate, a conventional medicine that doctors suggest using during scabies. Even though it was a small study conducted on only 16 participants, it tells us how aloe vera can be useful in getting rid of the effects of scabies.
How to Use?
Make sure that you use good quality aloe vera gel to avoid chances of adulteration. Apply fresh aloe vera gel on the affected parts of your skin. Leave the gel on the skin for around half an hour to a couple of hours. Thereafter, rinse the gel off with warm water. Do this thrice a day for a few days. You will soon begin to notice a significant improvement in your skin condition.
3. Neem Leaves
It is well-known that neem has remained one of the common remedies to cure several bodily diseases for ages. Its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties are enormously beneficial in getting rid of scabies and its adverse effects. The analgesic characteristics present in neem’s active components help you get instant relief from scabies.
In a particular study conducted by the Zoology Department, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt, in the year 2008, the efficacy of neem seed extract shampoo was investigated in the treatment of scabies in dogs. It was found out that the dogs were utterly free from scabies after 7 days of constant treatment from the use of the shampoo. Also, no significant side effects were shown.
Neem not only help get rid of scabies in a natural manner; it also helps soothe the skin in addition to numbing the severe pain and relieving itching on the skin. It also prevents the occurrence of any secondary infection that might be caused due to scabies.
Neem does not directly attack scabies; instead, it interferes with the breeding of the mites on the skin and prevents their reproduction. Over time, the population of such mites decreases, and the patient begins to see positive changes on the skin.
How to Use?
Neem, today, is available in a variety of forms, such as lotions, creams, soaps, and shampoos. It can also be applied topically. Another convenient way to use neem is to add a few spoons of neem leaf power to your warm water before you bathe. Repeating the use of neem in its varied forms for around 3-5 times a day can surely help you get relief from scabies.
For further precaution, you can also clean your surroundings, such as wardrobe and bedsides with neem liquid soap to prevent the breeding of mites.
4. Cayenne Pepper for scabies
A study(5) in 2010 found out the effect on cayenne pepper in alleviating skin conditions and related pain. It showed that participants showed a positive reaction towards the application of cayenne pepper. The cream proved to be quite useful in diminishing the chronic soft tissue pain when it was used for around 3 weeks. Cayenne pepper is an excellent remedy to get relief from scabies. It helps reduce the itching and pain from the skin ailment and desensitizes the neurons in the area where it is applied topically.
How to Use?
Cayenne pepper can be obtained easily from any local store. Mix cayenne pepper with some drops of water to make a thick paste. Apply it on the skin where you spot the burrows.
Another way to cure scabies is to add cayenne paper to your bath. Add a cup of this pepper to the water. After using this water rinse yourself with cold water. Repeat this for a couple of times in a day for a while until you begin to see any improvement.
Here is a word of caution, consult your doctor before applying cayenne pepper to your body since it may cause a burning sensation to people who have sensitive skin. Besides, make sure that the cayenne pepper water does not get into your eyes.
Scabies is an extremely itchy skin condition that should be treated well within time. One of the best remedies to treat scabies is by using garlic. Garlic is known to have antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, as well as anti-parasitic properties. A particular compound known as Allicin helps get rid of several sorts of infections.
How to Use?
It is recommended that you do a skin test before you use garlic on the affected areas. Apply the paste on a small portion of your skin. If the area burns, add a little olive oil to the mixture to balance it. In case you have sensitive skin, make sure to consult a doctor before using garlic as a remedy to cure scabies.
Other Beneficial Remedies to Treat Scabies
Apart from herbs and teas, there are some alternative remedies as well that can help you treat scabies yourself. However, before using these remedies, ensure that you seek the advice of an experienced medical practitioner to avoid any potential side effects.
Sodium borate, commonly known as borax, is a common household item used for chores, such as laundry. Borax is used to kill unwanted pests and fungus. It performs a twofold function while getting rid of scabies: it acts as a poison that kills when ingested by the mites, and secondly, it dissolves the shield of wax that acts as a protective layer that prevents the mites from drying out.
How to Use?
A common remedy for scabies is to take a bath in hot water to which two cups of borax and one cup of hydrogen peroxide has been added.
Another remarkable way to use borax is to wash all your laundry to prevent the breeding of mites. You can also sprinkle borax on mattresses, carpets, and furniture, vacuum it after one hour of its application. Borax can be poisonous if ingested. It can also irritate your eyes and should, therefore, be used cautiously.
2. Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar for Scabies
Vinegar is one of the most common remedies to treat the effects of scabies. It is an acidic substance that lowers the pH level of your skin, thus making it difficult for mites to use your skin as a breeding ground. Baking soda works the same way. Since it is alkaline, it inhibits mites to breed on the skin by increasing the pH level.
How to Use?
There are a lot of ways to use apple cider vinegar and baking soda to treat scabies. The most common way is to apply it topically on the rashes and the affected areas. All you have to do is make a thick paste by mixing baking soda or vinegar with a few drops of lemon juice or water and rub the mixture gently on your skin.
Additionally, you can also add it to water and bathe in it. After which you should rinse yourself with cold water. This will help you get relief from the constant itching and redness of the skin. For best results, repeat for around 2-3 times a day.
Tips to Prevent Scabies
If you or one of your family members is suffering from scabies, take immediate action to get rid of the disease since it is highly contagious and may affect you in no time.
In this view, here are some of the valuable tips that you can keep in mind to prevent the spread of this dreadful disease:
- Wash all your clothes with disinfectants like neem shampoo every day. Make sure you dry them on high heat so that it becomes difficult for the mites to survive.
- Store certain items, such as stuffed animals and mats, in sealed plastic bags. This will starve the mites and help you prevent getting this skin infection.
- During sexual intercourse, make sure your partner is not suffering from scabies. Using protection is the safest way to avoid skin and other infections.
- Resist your desire to scratch the affected area since scratching may open the wounds and may lead to secondary infections.
- Keep an ice pack on the affected area now and then to reduce inflammation on your skin to soothe your nerves.
- If you are taking a borax bath or neem water bath, do not apply any other cream or lotion on the affected area after the bath. Use only a soft towel to dry your body and avoid rubbing your skin vigorously.
Scabies has become a common skin ailment these days owing to the unhygienic environments in which a majority of the world’s population survives. Inadequate medical attention worsens the situation.
In this section, we deal with some common queries regarding scabies and how you can prevent the infection.
1. Is scabies a dangerous disease?
Scabies is a skin infection that is caused by the breeding of mites in the skin. It is a contagious disease which makes it all the more dangerous. It may be stated here that scabies does not go away on its own. Medical assistance is imperative. Maintaining hygiene, however, can help you prevent the signs and symptoms of scabies.
2. How to identify the signs of scabies?
Scabies cause your skin to be red. They also lead to severe itching. You may also notice tiny blisters and bumps on your skin. All these signs can make you wary of skin infection like scabies.
3. Are natural remedies effective in preventing scabies?
Natural remedies such as using essential oils and disinfectants are quite useful in relieving the pain from scabies. Most of these natural remedies come with zero side effects. However, it is strongly recommended that you seek the medical advice of a doctor before choosing these alternative remedies.
4. How can scabies be prevented?
Well, simple precautionary measures such as avoiding direct contact with persons suffering from this disease, regularly washing, avoiding crowded places where there is a risk of developing the infection can help you keep signs of scabies at bay.
Scabies is a severe medical condition that is caused due to the breeding of mites on the skin. One has to seek medical assistance or use natural remedies to get rid of this contagious skin disease. Even though medical treatments, such as over the counter prescriptions work best, natural remedies are a great alternative to get relief from the signs and symptoms of scabies. If your situation does not get any better with home remedies, you should undoubtedly reconsider the use of medical assistance.
Even while using these natural remedies to cure scabies, ensure that you are not on medical prescriptions as some of the treatments might cause reactions, that may do more harm than good to your body. Take good care of your skin.