Scabies is a very uncomfortable, contagious skin condition commonly seen in children and young adults. It can spread quickly among people in crowded conditions who have direct contact with each other, such as in child care centers and nursing homes.
It is caused by a mite, known as Sarcoptes Scabiei, which can survive up to a month living on human skin. Scabies generally appear on the shoulder blades, buttocks, under the breasts, soles of the feet, around the waist, between the fingers, on the knees, around the genital area, near the elbow and in the armpits.
Common symptoms of scabies include intense pain, itching, rashes and redness around the infected area. There can be swelling and blisters, too.
The mites spread to others through close contact with an infected person, sharing personal items belonging to an infected person and sexual contact with a person who has an infestation.
Prompt treatment is essential to reduce the symptoms of scabies. There are over-the-counter as well as prescription medicines for scabies. However, you can start treatment at home by trying some simple natural remedies that use readily available ingredients.
The simplest way to soothe scabies itching and other symptoms is to soak the affected area in cool water for 10 minutes, pat dry your skin with a clean towel and then apply some calamine lotion, which you can buy from the market without a prescription.
Alternatively, you can place a washcloth soaked in cool water on their irritated skin and then apply some calamine lotion. Do this several times a day.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for scabies.
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil contains a compound called terpinen-4-ol that helps kill the parasite that causes scabies. Also, the anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, antiseptic, antiparasitic, antibacterial, antifungal and wound-healing qualities of tea tree oil help treat scabies.
- Mix one tablespoon each of tea tree oil and olive oil. Use a cotton ball to apply the solution on the affected area. Do this twice daily for two to three weeks. It will help decrease swelling and pain while speeding up the healing process.
- Alternatively, add 10 to 12 drops of pure tea tree oil to a bathtub of lukewarm water. Take a bath in this water twice daily for a few weeks.
Note: Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid using tea tree oil. Also, tea tree oil can irritate sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, test the treatment on a small area first.
2. Neem Oil
Neem oil is a botanical pesticide used to treat many skin problems including scabies. It contains antibacterial and antifungal properties that help eliminate bacteria and fungus trapped in the skin. The smell of neem oil prevents scabies from reproducing, which can greatly shorten the duration of the problem.
- Apply pure neem oil directly on the affected area and massage gently until the oil penetrates deep into the skin. Wait a few minutes and then take a bath. Do this once daily for several weeks to prevent the infection from spreading.
- Make an antiseptic cream by combining two ounces each of neem oil with an equal amount of freshly ground turmeric powder. Apply the cream on the affected area two or three times a day. This homemade cream helps soothe itching and speeds up the healing process.
3. Neem Leaves
Neem leaves can also be used to cure scabies due to their antibacterial and antifungal properties. Neem leaves help reduce itching and can clear the mites within only a few days.
- Make a paste out of a handful of fresh neem leaves by crushing them with a pestle and mortar. Wash the affected area thoroughly and then apply the neem paste. Let it dry naturally and then take a bath to wash it off. Do this daily to speed up the healing process.
- Boil some neem leaves in a cup of water. Let it cool to room temperature. Drink one tablespoon of the liquid three or four times a day. Repeat this for a week or two to make sure the mites and scabies are gone completely.
4. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper will burn and kill the mites, thereby relieving the problem of scabies.
- Mix one cup of cayenne pepper in hot bath water.
- Soak in the bath water until the water gets cold. Be sure not to get the water in your eyes, as the pepper will cause a burning sensation.
- Rinse off the cayenne pepper with cool water.
Repeat once daily until the scabies is treated.
Note: This remedy should not be used by people with sensitive skin.
Zinc will not directly treat scabies, but it will greatly help prevent fungal outbreaks and fight off secondary skin infections.
- Grind two or three zinc tablets into a fine powder. Add a little water to make a thick paste. You can also add a little bit of turmeric to make it more effective.
- Apply the paste on the affected skin. Leave it on for at least half an hour or until it dries naturally.
- Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
Repeat once daily until the scabies infection is gone.
At the same time, eat more foods rich in zinc like sunflower seeds, whole grain products, wheat bran, soybeans, and others.
Turmeric is a wonder herb with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can greatly relieve the symptoms of scabies.
- Mix one tablespoon of turmeric powder and a few drops of lemon juice and water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste on the affected skin and leave it on for about an hour. Then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do this once daily until you notice significant improvement.
- Mix one teaspoon each of turmeric and neem powder. Add some water to form a smooth paste. Dab the paste on the affected areas and let it dry on its own. After it has dried, take a bath or shower to wash it off. Repeat this once daily.
7. White Vinegar
The acidic nature of white vinegar changes the pH level of the skin. It has been found that any change in the pH level causes mites to die.
- Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water thoroughly in a bowl.
- Using a cotton ball, apply the solution on the affected skin.
- Leave it on for a few minutes. Then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
Repeat three times daily for 10 to 15 days to fight the infection completely.
8. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has antimicrobial properties and many natural medicinal properties that can speed up the healing process of scabies, insect bites and many other skin conditions.
- Apply fresh aloe vera gel on the affected skin. Leave it on for half an hour and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Repeat two or three times daily for a few weeks until you notice improvement.
- Grind a handful of calendula petals along with a pinch of turmeric powder. Add two tablespoons of aloe vera gel and mix it in well. Apply the paste on the affected skin and let it dry on its own. Do this twice daily for a few weeks for complete recovery.
9. Pure Lavender Oil
Pure lavender oil promotes skin cell regeneration and kills parasites like mites that cause scabies.
- Add five drops of pure lavender oil to warm bath water. Soak in this bath water for at least 15 minutes. This will help soothe the skin and provide some relief from the itching. Do this once daily for a few weeks.
- Mix equal amounts of pure lavender oil and rubbing alcohol. Apply it on the affected area and massage gently so that it penetrates and saturates the skin. This will help kill the mites and their eggs. Do this twice daily to speed up the healing process.
Bleach is another popular home remedy for scabies as it helps kill mites.
- Mix together one part of bleach and four parts of water.
- Spray this solution on the affected area twice daily.
Repeat the process for a few days.
Along with these remedies, it is very important to avoid contact with an infected person and his or her personal items. Also, keep the surrounding area neat and clean to prevent the mites and scabies from spreading.