The Top 8 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Scabies – Research Based

The Top 8 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Scabies

Scabies is a skin condition caused by an infestation of the mite Sarcoptes scabiei (also called ‘itch mite’). It is highly contagious skin condition causing discomfort and sometimes pain in affected persons. Symptoms of scabies are a severe and relentless skin itch, skin rashes, red bumps and blisters, and swelling on infected areas of the body. The intense itch can cause a person to scratch the skin areas infected by scabies causing secondary skin infections.

Children, young adults and the elderly are most at risk from contracting scabies and it is transmitted through direct physical contact. Scabies can affect most areas of the body, however, the hands, feet, waist, upper body, and around the genital area are the most common areas that get infested with itch mite.

If you suspect that you or a family member has become infected with scabies, it is important to get prompt treatment to get rid of the scabies mites and prevent further infestation.

The most common treatment for scabies is permethrin, however there are also a number of natural treatments that have been proven to treat the symptoms of scabies and kill the mite.

What is Scabies?

Scabies mites are also called the human itch mite and are so small that they can only be seen under a microscope. The American Academy of Dermatology says that the female mite burrows under the skin to live, feed, and lay eggs. The itchy red rash that scabies cause is the body’s reaction to the scabies mite.1

Contrary to popular belief, scabies isn’t caused by unclean or unhygienic conditions. Dermatologist, Dr. Amanda Oakley says that scabies is spread by close skin-to-skin contact, and sometimes coming into contact with bedding where the scabies mites are living can transmit the mites.2 Therefore, the disease is common in nursing homes, hospitals, and prisons. Among young adults, sexual contact is the most common way that scabies spreads.

Elderly and people with a weak immune system can sometimes suffer from Norwegian scabies or crusted scabies. This is a severe infestation of scabies. Dr. Adam Husney on WebMD says that the symptoms of Norwegian scabies include crusted sores around the affected area and it sometimes causes hair loss. Unlike regular scabies, crusted scabies doesn’t usually cause severe itching.3 Crusted scabies is also highly contagious.

Symptoms of Scabies

The most noticeable symptom of scabies is a very itchy skin with red rash. Dr. Melissa C. Stöppler says that even though the scabies rash covers large areas of the body, there are usually only 10-15 mites at any one time on the body.4

The rash, bumps, and blisters caused by scabies can be on the head, face, palms, and soles of the feet. Very often the skin between the fingers is a common place for the mites to tunnel into. It can be very difficult, if not impossible, to see the burrows that the mites make.

Sometimes, the itching that scabies cause can be so intense at night that it affects how well a person sleeps and can lead to anxiety issues and a loss in the quality of life. In fact, over time, the itchy sensation can be so intense that sleep becomes almost impossible.

To treat scabies, doctors often prescribe permethrin to kill off the scabies mites in one application. However, permethrin has some side effects like skin irritation or burning sensation and doctors are concerned that mites are becoming resistant to permethrin.5

Home Remedies for Scabies

There are many home remedies which can help to get rid of scabies and can alleviate the intense itch that scabies mites cause. These natural treatments aren’t toxic to humans. Also, mites don’t build up resistance to these natural remedies. An article in the Lancet said that scabies parasite resistance is increasing and plant derivatives provide promising future treatments.6

Let’s look at some of the best natural remedies for treating scabies at home. These treatments can help to soothe scabies itching and kill the parasite that causes scabies.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil can be used as a carrier oil for essential oils that can kill scabies mites and can prevent the mites from reproducing. Although coconut oil by itself doesn’t kill the mites, its antibacterial and antifungal properties can soothe itchy skin and prevent secondary skin infections from developing.7

The journal Dermatitis reported that coconut oil can help to reduce the symptoms of itchy skin and to keep the skin well-moisturized.8

However, to use coconut oil as a topical treatment for scabies, it should be used with essential oils like tea tree oil, rosemary oil and aniseed oil to help kill off the mites.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties which can kill the mites that cause scabies. Tea tree oil is an effective natural treatment against scabies because of its main component terpinin-4-ol. An article titled Therapeutic Potential of Tea Tree Oil for Scabies in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene showed that tea tree oil destroys mites and reduces inflammation caused by scabies. Tea tree oil can also help deal with the itching associated with a scabies infestation.9

Studies have shown that 5% tea tree oil can be just as effective as permethrin in getting rid of scabies mites.10

You can make an effective tea tree oil body wash to combat an infestation of scabies. To make 5% dilution, add 30 drops of tea tree essential oil to each fl. ounce (30 ml) of cold pressed carrier oil, lotion, natural butters or moisturizers. Remember that tee tree oil is extremely potent so initially start with a much lower dilution to see how your skin reacts to the oil. Initially just start with 10 drops of tea tree oil in each fl. ounce (30 ml) of carrier oil or lotion. Apply the tea tree oil mixture to your skin until the itch mites and scabies symptoms are completely gone.

You can also make a soothing cream for scabies by mixing 15 drops of tea tree oil with 1 tbsp. coconut oil. Apply to the scabies in the morning and before going to bed until the itching and the rash have gone completely (again – start from a smaller amount of tea tree oil to see how your skin reacts).

You can also dab a drop of tea tree oil directly onto an itchy spot to relieve the itching caused by scabies.

Neem oil

Neem oil has a pungent smell which can help to repel scabies mites and it is also a natural antibacterial pesticide to stop the infestation of scabies.

A study published in the journal Veterinary Parasitology showed that the components of neem oil cause human itch mites to die off and helps to treat scabies.11 Other studies have shown that a mixture of neem oil and turmeric can cure scabies.12

To treat scabies effectively, you can massage some neem oil directly into the affected skin area. Leave the natural remedy for a while and shower or have a bath (because of its smell). Do this daily to get rid of scabies for good.

You can combine neem oil with turmeric to make an effective scabies cream to relieve the symptoms of scabies. Mix 2 oz. neem oil with ground turmeric powder to form a smooth paste. Apply the natural scabies paste to the scabies rash two times a day to help soothe itching and treat the infestation. Please remember that turmeric can easily stain clothing and other items.

Clove oil

A study published in the journal PLoS One found that clove oil is very effective in eliminating scabies mites. In fact, clove oil was just as good as benzyl benzoate, a popular drug to treat scabies.13

To treat scabies and soothe itchy skin, you can combine 7 drops of clove oil with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Mix well, then gently apply to the rash to get rid of the itch. Repeat twice a day until the scabies is gone.

Rosemary oil

Rosemary essential oil can help treat scabies due to its antimicrobial properties.14 Although this won’t kill off the scabies mite, it can help to heal damaged skin and prevent infections from developing. It is also one of the best essential oils to relieve pain and inflammation.

To relieve itchy skin and help speed up the healing process of scabies, mix 7 drops of rosemary oil to one tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to the area where the scabies rash is prominent. Continue to do this until the scabies rash has gone completely.

Anise seed oil

You can use anise essential oil as an effective home remedy for treating scabies because of its natural insecticidal properties. It also has antibacterial compounds and therefore can prevent infections caused by scabies. The book Herbal Treatment for Dermatologic Disorders says that anise seed oil is used to treat scabies and head lice.15

WebMD says that a mixture of anise oil, coconut oil, and ylang-ylang oil could get rid of head lice.16

You can make a natural scabies cream by putting 4 drops of anise seed oil and 3 drops of ylang-ylang oil in 1 tbsp. coconut oil. Apply this as a topical treatment to the infested scabies area to get rid of the mites.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a wonderful natural product for many skin conditions including scabies. Aloe vera also contains properties which can help to soothe itchy skin and heal skin that has blisters caused by scabies.

Apply aloe vera gel directly to the affected skin area to treat scabies infestation. One small study found that aloe vera gel was just as effective as benzyl benzoate in treating scabies.17 Aloe vera gel will also help to soothe the skin and reduce the itching the scabies mites cause.

Cayenne pepper

It might surprise some people, but cayenne pepper is an effective home remedy to relieve the itchy symptoms of scabies. The reason for this is that capsaicin, the compound that makes cayenne pepper spicy, desensitizes the neurons in the skin making the skin itch less.18 There is also some anecdotal evidence that the cayenne pepper also kills the itch mites, but there is no scientific evidence for this.

To make a home remedy with cayenne pepper to reduce the itching caused by scabies you can mix a little water with cayenne pepper to make a paste. Try a little on your skin to test for sensitivity. Remember that it is natural that the paste will sting a little at the start. Apply the paste to the skin areas where the mites are living to get relief from itching.

Alternatively, you can buy a cream containing capsaicin and apply this to get a relief from the itching caused by scabies.

How to Prevent Scabies

Scabies is a highly contagious skin disease and if one family member has it, then there is a chance that other family members will also be infected. Therefore, preventing further outbreaks of scabies is essential in getting rid of the problem.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following to prevent and control scabies:

  • Any bedding or clothing used by the infected person should be washed in hot water and dried using the hot dryer cycle.
  • Items of clothing that can’t be washed should be dry cleaned.
  • Clothing and bedding can also be stored in sealed plastic bags for a week. This is enough time for the scabies mites to die.
  • Persons with crusted scabies should avoid close contact with others.
  • Thoroughly clean and vacuum rooms used by persons with scabies.

Medical herbalist, Richard Whelan recommends keeping your hands and under your nails as clean as possible to avoid spreading or being infected with scabies. You should also wash your hands with a tea tree solution to kill off any scabies mites that may have got onto your hands.

Read these related articles:
1. Itching All Over the Body – Causes and Natural Treatments
2. Effective Home Remedies for Lice (Based on Research)
3. How to Tell If You Have Intestinal Parasites and What to Do About That
4. Powerful Antibiotics That Don’t Require a Prescription


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