How to Get Rid of Dark Spots From Mosquito Bites

Prevention is the best medicine, but if you get spots, you can fade them

Mosquito
Wikimedia Commons

Summertime is a favorite season for many, but it has one glaring negative aspect: mosquitoes. And if you live in a warm climate, these pesky insects could be around most of the year. The simplest skin trauma—including a bug bite—can lead to skin discoloration. If you’re a mosquito magnet, you are not only annoyed by the resulting itching, but your skin can also end up riddled with equally annoying little dark spots.

What Happens When Mosquitoes Bite

When a mosquito bites you, it injects an anticoagulant into the skin to make the blood thinner and flow easier and longer so it can feast on enough of your blood. In reaction, the skin releases histamine, causing an inflammatory reaction. The skin gets red and forms a bump. If left alone, the swelling and redness often go away quickly. If you scratch or rub the bite or if you have an allergic reaction, the little bump can swell considerably, be extremely itchy, or become infected as a result of scratching it.

Prevention

The best solution is to discourage the mosquitoes from biting you by creating barriers or repelling them.

If you’re avoiding your own backyard because of mosquitoes, Dr. Frank Lipman, an expert in the field of integrative medicine and founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, suggests planting a bug-proof garden. Several plants have scents that keep bugs away.

Try planting lemon basil, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, citronella grass, eucalyptus, pyrethrum, and chamomile.

Bugs are attracted to fragrance, so avoid wearing too much perfume or heavily scented product, including scented hairspray and lotions, if you plan on being outside during mosquito season, especially if you are going to be outside around dusk, when mosquitoes are the most active.

When you go out, especially in the evening, wear long sleeves and pants if the weather makes that possible. But wearing clothing from head to toe is not always practical on hot, humid days, so you will probably need to use an insect repellant. If you want to stay clear of insect repellents with DEET and other potentially harmful chemicals, try a natural pre-blended repellant like Burt's Bees All-Natural Herbal Insect Repellant. You can also use your own blends of essential oils as a repellant. Lipman recommends essential oils like citronella, lemongrass, and peppermint oil diluted with a bit of jojoba oil.

Resist the Itch

Mosquito bites can often be extremely itchy, but try your best not to scratch it. Scratching the itch of the bug bite might provide temporary relief, but it also causes more skin trauma, and this can lead to hyperpigmentation. Scratching can also allow bacteria from your fingertips and under the fingernails to get into the small break in the skin caused by the bite and cause an infection.

Anti-Itch Relief

But you don't have to just suffer through the itching. When you get a mosquito bite, cleanse the area with a gentle soap or cleanser. Use a soap that is specially formulated to relieve itching from poison ivy like Buy Burt's Bees Poison Ivy Soap.

 

If the mosquito bite itching persists, try an anti-itch cream that will relieve the pain and itch of insect bites. There are a variety of options available, but a good option is Benadryl Itch Relief Gel because it provides cooling relief for all types of itches from insect bites to minor burns. You can also try a hydrocortisone cream if your itching persists. Cortizone 10-Maximum Strength relieves itching fast and is gentle on your skin.Some sufferers have found that After Bite also helps to relieve the itch of mosquito bites.

Calamine lotion is often suggested as a remedy for insect bites, but it’s debatable whether it really stops itching. Calamine lotion seems to help more with a rash or irritation caused by the mosquito bite. Women who are pregnant or nursing shouldn’t use calamine lotion.

It’s also a good idea to ask your doctor if calamine will interact with any medicines you’re taking. You can also try these options:

  • Apply ice to reduce swelling.
  • Aloe vera is an anti-inflammatory that can be used to soothe a bite and lessen the itching as well as help heal the skin. Dab the gel or juice on the bite.
  • Mix baking soda and water until you make a paste and apply to bites. You can also use baking soda toothpaste.
  • Make a paste of aspirin and water and apply to bites.
  • Rub the affected area with an onion slice immediately after the bite to stop the itching. Onion is an anti-inflammatory. But be careful; if you rub it on after scratching the area, it will sting.
  • Take a colloidal oatmeal bath to soothe itching.
  • Rub tea tree oil on the bite. Tea tree is an antiseptic and can kill bacteria and reduce allergic skin reactions.

When Dark Spots Appear

If you couldn’t resist the urge to scratch or had an inflammatory reaction that caused hyperpigmentation spots, you can try using lightening ingredients. Some recommend using hydroquinone for fading dark marks, but it can be problematic for people of color. You can also use treatments like these specifically created to heal scars:

When using fade creams or ingredients to fade marks, only apply the lightening agents to the dark spots. Don’t apply to the unaffected skin.

Natural Ingredients for Fading Dark Marks

If you'd rather go natural, try these options to reduce hyperpigmentation:

  • Vitamin E applied to bite marks helps reduce redness and helps the skin heal.
  • Rosehip seed oil helps reduce the discoloration and even out skin tone.
  • Licorice is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that also has skin-lightening properties.
  • Coconut oil can lighten dark marks.
  • Tomato exfoliates and lightens the skin.
  • The juice of lemons and limes is a natural skin lightener.
  • Papaya helps fade dark spots and even out skin tone. Green papaya can be mixed with lemon or lime juice to help lighten spots.

    Precautions

    When you use any product, whether a cream or a natural option, you should follow these suggestions for the best results.

    • When applying a substance for lightening spots, leave on for about 10 minutes and then rinse. It could take two to three months for spots to fade.
    • Make sure that the topical ointment used is hypoallergenic and won’t cause an allergic reaction and cause further inflammation.
    • When using any ingredient, be sure to do a patch test in a small area like the inner elbow to make sure you will not have an allergic reaction, which will only exacerbate the problem.
    • Whatever treatment you decide to use, always protect the treated area with sunscreen. Apply sunscreen whenever the area will be exposed to the sun. Sun exposure can make the dark marks worse. In addition, some people find that sun exposure also causes a bite to itch again.