Three Easy Home Remedies to Help Treat Scabies

October 18, 2017
Scabies is highly contagious and can spread easily among people in close contact with one another. To get rid of it, it's important to treat everyone who might be affected.

Scabies is a condition caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei parasite. This mite burrows into your skin, and the first symptoms can be hard to identify.

Scabies mites penetrate the skin and cause an allergic reaction. If you don’t treat it in time, this reaction can lead to a secondary infection. But, if you treat it quickly and effectively, scabies can be just a temporary problem.

It’s important to know that scabies is contagious and can easily spread through physical contact in families, classrooms, retirement homes, etc. That’s why doctors recommend treating anyone who might have been exposed.

Symptoms of scabies

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, the symptoms of scabies start between one and two weeks after the initial infestation. However, a reinfestation can cause symptoms within 48 hours.

One of the most evident symptoms is intense, hard-to-control itching, especially at night.

At first, small red blotches appear. If it gets worse, you may see scabs or flakes.

  • The mites look for folds and cracks in the body: between your fingers, wrists, elbows, butt, nipples and even your genitals.
  • However, you have to be careful because they can also hide in accessories like watches, bracelets, belts, and rings.

It’s extremely important to remember that these symptoms might disappear, but that doesn’t mean that you no longer have the infection.

How to treat scabies

If a doctor suspects a patient has scabies, they will first look for signs and symptoms of the infection, like the characteristic pimple-like skin rash. Then, they will take a skin scraping and examine it under the microscope. If a patient has these symptoms already, however, the doctor will start treatment even before confirming the diagnosis.

Treatment for sarna involves some topical medications that fight the infection and control the symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common medications are:

  • Permethrin cream (Elimite). This is a topical cream that kills the scabies mites and their eggs.
  • Lindane lotion. This is only for people who can’t tolerate other treatments.
  • Crotamiton (Eurax). Available as a cream or a lotion. You apply once a day for two days.
  • Ivermectin (Stromectol). This is an oral medication for people with immune system problems or who don’t respond to conventional treatment.

You should only use these medications with your doctor’s supervision. They will figure out what dose you should be taking and be able to inform you about side-effects and interactions.

Home remedies to help treat scabies

These home remedies to treat scabies shouldn’t replace conventional medical treatment. You can use them in conjunction with your medication to relieve some of the symptoms. Here are three options:

1. Aloe vera

aloe vera

Aloe vera’s properties make it a great option to soothe itching. It can also regenerate, reduce inflammation, and heal the affected areas. 

In a non-comparative study from the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, researchers found that aloe vera gel can be as effective as benzyl benzoate for treating scabies.

Thanks to its hydrating and repairing properties, aloe vera can help relieve your irritated skin. What’s more, it is safe and it doesn’t cause side-effects, even if you used it for an extended period of time.

Ingredients

  • Aloe vera gel

What should you do?

  • Wash the affected area well
  • Next, apply a generous layer of aloe vera and then wait 30 minutes
  • After 30 minutes, rinse with cold water
  • Repeat this process twice a day

2. Tea tree essential oil

Tea tree oil can also help soothe itchy skin, but it can’t get rid of the scabies eggs that are buried in the skin. However, a study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene found that tea tree oil shows promise for treating scabies.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of tree oil (15 g)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (16 g)

Utensils

  • Cotton ball

What should you do?

  • First, wash the inflamed zone well.
  • Then, mix the oils together.
  • Use a cotton ball to apply it to the affected zone.
  • Repeat this twice a day for three weeks.

Read more:

Tea Tree Oil: the Amazing Oil that Provides Many Benefits

3. White vinegar

white vinegar

There’s no scientific evidence that supports the safety and efficacy of white vinegar for treating scabies. However, it is a classic folk remedy for alleviating the itchiness and irritation related to scabies. If you want to try it, follow these instructions.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar (125 ml)
  • 1/2 cup of water (125 ml)

Utensils

  • Cotton ball

What should you do?

  • First, combine the water and vinegar in a container
  • With the help of the cotton ball, apply it to the affected area
  • Wait 15 minutes and rinse with warm water
  • Repeat 3 times a day for 15 days

Recommendations

  • If you’re itchy, have a burning sensation, and your skin is inflamed, avoid contact with other people
  • Don’t share your clothes or any other objects you use on a daily basis
  • Wash your bedspread and sheets with hot water or a high dryer setting to eliminate mites
  • If you can’t sleep with the itching and burning, or have cuts on your body, seek medical help immediately

Finally, don’t forget to use your medication for as long as your doctor instructs you to. While these natural remedies can help, they aren’t an effective treatment for scabies.

  • Gilson RL, Basit H, Soman-Faulkner K. Scabies (Sarcoptes Scabiei) [Updated 2019 Jul 22]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544306/
  • Thomas J, Carson CF, Peterson GM, et al. Therapeutic Potential of Tea Tree Oil for Scabies. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2016;94(2):258–266. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.14-0515
  • Strong, M., & Johnstone, P. W. (2007). Interventions for treating scabies. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD000320.pub2
  • Walton, S. F., & Currie, B. J. (2007). Problems in diagnosing scabies, a global disease in human and animal populations. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1128/CMR.00042-06
  • Górkiewicz-Petkow, A. (2015). Scabies. In European Handbook of Dermatological Treatments, Third Edition. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-45139-7_86