The temptation to scratch an incessantly itchy bug bite is very, very real. But! All that scratching is fruitless, because the bite will inevitably still be itchy once you pull away, with the added uncomfortable bonus of being more irritated, too. Instead of taking matters into your own (literal) hands, Andrea Suarez, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Houston, recommends reaching for a pimple patch.
"I know you've heard of these pimple patches, but you've got to try them on a mosquito bite," says Dr. Suarez in a recent Instagram post. "The hydrocolloid helps to absorb that inflammatory stuff that makes it very itchy and swell up, and it also serves as a barrier preventing you from scratching. It almost takes the itch away immediately."
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- Andrea Suarez, MD, board-certified dermatologist in Houston
What makes mosquito bites so uncomfortable is the inflammatory response, explains Ivy Lee, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Pasadena, California.
"When we get bug bites, usually we're mostly bothered when we can see the reaction and the hypersensitivity inflammatory reaction or we can feel the reaction, which is usually itchy and sometimes painful," says Dr. Lee. "And that all rises because of inflammation. So the most effective way to treat them—well, besides obviously preventing it in the first place—is to target that inflammation."
As Dr. Suarez explains in the video, your body's inflammatory response is what causes a bite to fill up with fluid. And because hydrocolloid patches work by absorbing excess fluid, applying them to a bug bite is genius.
Grab any pimple patch you have on hand, or pick up the Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Variety Pack ($14). It comes with 26 patches—12 Original, 12 Invisible+, and two Surface (which are big rectangles).
"You can leave [the patch] on overnight, wake up the next morning, and the mosquito bite is practically gone," says Dr. Suarez. "Highly suggest trying hydrocolloid next time you get a mosquito bite." And because hydrocolloid patches shouldn't be left on for more than eight hours, once you take it off, you can treat the bug bite with cortisol cream, an antiinflammatory topical steroid.
So if you're prone to bites and want instant relief, be sure to keep pimple patches on hand.
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