Summer Bites: Home Remedies To Stop The Sting

Summer isn’t all sunshine and happy days, sometimes it downright stings! Whether the culprit is the sun, bugs or those stay-far-away-from plants, the result is the same: itch and pain.

Do you need medication or will a home remedy do? We all have  ‘tried and true’  remedies that have been passed down through the generations. The Internet is full of solutions, too. Who knows where some of them originated. You probably don’t care. You just want to know if they work!

We decided to look into some popular summer remedies in order to separate the stars from the duds.


Sunburns, bug bites, and poison ivy

“My best home remedy is to use milk compresses for sunburn. Mix ½ skim milk with ½ ice cold water and place on a compress for 15 minutes,” advises Dr. Debra Jaliman, author of Skin Rules. “The lactic acid in the milk is anti-inflammatory. Use ice on a bug bite. It numbs the c fibers which are the itch fibers. Use eggs whites as a mask to dry out oily skin (leave on for 5 minutes). Put oatmeal in a warm bath. It takes the itch out of poison ivy. It’s anti-inflammatory. Aloe Vera squeezed out from the succulent plant helps to take the redness out of a burn,” she explains.

Use ice on a bug bite. It numbs the ‘c fibers’ which are the itch fibers.  Put oatmeal in a warm bath. It takes the itch out of poison ivy. It’s anti-inflammatory.  Aloe Vera squeezed out from the succulent plant helps to take the redness out of a burn,” she explains.

Jellyfish sting

According to an article published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, home remedies such as vinegar, alcohol, meat tenderizer, baking soda and urine may be less effective at relieving pain caused by jellyfish stings than plain hot water and lidocaine.

“Some of the remedies promoted by word of mouth and online, such as vinegar, actually make the pain worse with certain species of jellyfish,” said lead study author Nicholas T. Ward, M.D., of the University of California San Diego Department of Emergency Medicine. “Current evidence suggests hot water and topical lidocaine, which is available at local pharmacies, may be more universally beneficial in treating pain from a jellyfish sting. Topical lidocaine, a local anesthetic, may also inactivate the stinging cells of the jellyfish, preventing further envenomation.”

Smooth skin and acne prevention

“Coconut water is key to keeping heat low in the body and cooling it off.  Plus, it nourishes the body with potassium and magnesium,” says Denise Baron, wellness coach and lifestyle expert.  “Watermelon pulp is also great for hydrating the skin.”

“The acid contained in tomatoes helps to balance skin tone, and they’re also high in vitamins A and C. So yes, tomatoes can help with a variety of skin-related issues,” explains Dr. Carly Stewart.

“Tomatoes provide a cooling sensation when applied to raw skin, which can be comforting and relieve minor pain. Tomatoes can also remove oil from your skin and help treat acne.  Most uses require you to mash a tomato into a pulp and apply to the desired area for 15 to 30 minutes. Combine with avocados for cleansing purposes.

To get your skin to glow, mix equal amounts of tomato juice and honey. Just be sure to rinse your skin thoroughly after applying, and only use organic tomatoes, as non-organic vegetables often have trace amounts of pesticides,” she advises.

Home remedies that may not work:

Stewart advises against trying certain home remedies:

  •  Putting butter or mayonnaise on a burn is more likely to lead to infection than it is to cure the burn.
  • Putting a cold steak on a black eye is not recommended. Instead, use a cold-pack or a bag of frozen vegetables if a cold-pack is not handy.
  • Apple cider vinegar has a number of medicinal uses, but drinking it will not cure heartburn.