DIY Bug Bite Anti-Itch Relief Cream

Rob and I were recently in Massachusetts visiting with friends and family. One of Rob’s close friends, Brian (and his family), hosted a fantastic get together at their home. We ate pizza, drank some delicious craft beers from Newburyport Brewing Company, and sat out by their awesome firepit catching up, playing “name that 80’s movie” music trivia, and making s’mores (it’s a must whenever a fire presents itself).

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until late into the evening when I realized the “critters” had emerged and were enjoying the flesh on my exposed shins and feet. However, it only felt like one or two bites until bug spray was then liberally applied.

It took about 36 hours for the real impact to emerge…and holy cow! When I woke up, I felt like I needed to itch the skin right off my legs. I probably had about 10+ bites on EACH foot and shin. Now, I pride myself on having a pretty high pain threshold, but lemme tell you, I was having almost no success with my typical “mind over matter” approach.

                                Behold the bug bite infestation (and my very white legs)

It was in a moment of desperation after having a near-sleepless night that I decided I needed to do something more to calm the itch than simply aloe, vinegar, or baking soda. So, in the early morning hours, I started searching the interwebs for some DIY anti-itch relief cream recipes. My desire to go the DIY route was two-fold: 1. I’d recently started incorporating essential oils more into my beauty and cleaning regimen, 2. I was in a manic state of itching that I couldn’t see putting on clothes to venture out to the drug store for Calamine lotion.

I ended up creating my own recipe, which was a combination of two posts from The Hippy Homemaker and The Herbal Academy (mainly because I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand and, as Rob tells me, “you like to tinker”).

It took just a couple minutes to make and, once applied, I immediately felt the urge to itch subsiding. Hallelujah!

In addition to easing my bug bite itch, this could also be used for those of you who, like Mike, encounter other itch-inducing enemies (see poison oak or ivy) when you Get Outdoors. Plus, the best part is that this can be placed in the fridge and kept for a couple weeks.

Ingredients to make your own Anti-Itch Lotion

I felt the Dogfish Head Flesh and Blood IPA was appropriate, given the amount of itching I was doing…

2 Tablespoons (Tbsp) Baking Soda (aides to counteract many bug bites, stings, and poison from some plants)

1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) Bentonite or Pink Kaolin/Rose (Bentonite focuses on drawing out the poison, whereas pink and red kaolin helps relieve the itch)

Witch Hazel (clean, soothe, reduce the itch and help it keep longer)

15 total drops of your favorite essential oil(s) (each oil has its own beneficial properties, but here are a few I used or would recommend)

  • Lavender – antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic
  • Peppermint – reduce itchiness and inflammation
  • Chamomile – reduce inflammation, natural antihistamine
  • Eucalyptus – cleansing

1 can or bottle of your favorite craft beer


Combine the baking soda and clay in a bowl. You can use one or both of the clays, depending on desired use and availability. If using both, just split the measurement out. In one post, they mentioned avoiding using a metal spoon or mixing in a metal bowl, as it may react with the clay. 

Slowly add in the witch hazel until you have a paste-like consistency, then mix in your essential oils.

Apply a small amount to cover the affected area and repeat as needed.

Open up your craft beer, sit back, and enjoy the itch respite. For me, I felt the most appropriate beer to consume was Dogfish Head’s Flesh and Blood IPA.

Store in a small glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a couple weeks (Bonus: The coolness of the lotion feels great on your bites or rashes).

Affiliate Disclosure: The Brewmance may receive a small monetary compensation for links to products from this post. However, we will never recommend products or services we haven’t personally used or support. 

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