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What Are the Different Types of Natural Scabies Treatments?

Anna T.
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Some different natural scabies treatments include tea tree oil and neem oil. Tea tree oil has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that may be able to kill scabies in addition to treating many other skin problems. Neem oil is often used as a pesticide in many natural insect killers and could also kill scabies on the skin. Some people also use a mixture of petroleum jelly and sulfur to help kill scabies. Witch hazel and lavender oil are other natural treatments that might be effective.

People who use tea tree oil to kill scabies typically either dilute several drops into water or bypass dilution and just use it directly on the skin. Diluting it with water may be best for people with very sensitive skin. It can also be mixed up with witch hazel, which can boost its healing effects. When neem oil is used for treating scabies, it is typically diluted in a warm bath. It can also be purchased in stick form, which may be applied directly to the irritated skin. A mixture of petroleum jelly and sulfur may be an effective scabies remedy for children because it is non-toxic and easily attained. In most cases, the mixture is applied directly to the skin and left on for several minutes before being washed off with either a wet rag or a bath.

Lavender oil may also be one of the most effective natural scabies treatments. A few drops are typically mixed into alcohol and then rubbed over the affected areas. This method may kill the eggs as well as the scabies mites. Some people also take care to eat certain foods when they are dealing with an outbreak of scabies. Garlic is a natural anti-parasite, and a person with scabies may benefit from eating lots of it until he or she is healed.

One of the biggest downsides to having scabies is that the itching tends to persist for a few weeks with natural scabies treatments or prescription methods. This may lead some people to believe that what they are doing isn't working, but this is usually not the case. A person with scabies may benefit from daily cool bath soaks, which can temporarily relieve the itching. Diluting bath water with calendula oil and slathering the skin with calamine lotion should also provide some scabies itching relief until the treatment has fully done its job. Scabies spreads very easily from person to person, so it is very important for anyone with scabies to thoroughly wash all of his or her clothing and bedding in an attempt to keep others from getting scabies.

How Long is Scabies Contagious After Treatment?

Scabies is highly contagious, but many people that have been infested by the mite may not even know. People that have never had scabies before may not develop symptoms for a month or two after exposure, but they could still be contagious during that time. If you have had scabies before, however, you might start to feel itchy within one to four days of exposure. Treating the mites at the first sign of itchy skin is the best way to prevent an outbreak in your home or place of work.

The level of contagion for scabies after it has been treated may depend on the type of treatment you are using. If you are using a natural treatment, like tea tree oil or lavender oil, there is not as much concrete data on when your contagion begins to wane. People that use prescription treatments, like the cream Permethrin, will no longer be able to spread the mites after their first treatment. If you are using a natural method to avoid the harsh chemicals of a prescription treatment, you will need to take extra precautions when coming out of quarantine. You may want to work from home, if possible, for as long as you can until all signs of scabies have disappeared.

Who is Prone to Scabies?

Because scabies can rapidly spread in close living conditions, it is common to have outbreaks in facilities where there are many people in close quarters for extended periods of time. Places like daycares, nursing homes, and prisons are common sites of infestation. If you work or spend time in those types of environments, you may be exposed to scabies at some point.

As soon as you have been exposed or developed symptoms, you should alert all sexual partners, household members, and anyone you have had prolonged physical contact with. You should gather all bedding and clothing to be washed in the days immediately preceding treatment, being sure to use as hot of a water cycle as possible. High temperatures are an effective way to kill mites that are not on the body, so you may need to do multiple loads of laundry as needed. Vacuuming and disinfecting the room of an infected person can also help to control the spread of mites.

How Do you Know if Scabies Treatment Worked?

It may be hard to tell if your natural treatment is working in the beginning, as the itching does not stop as soon as the mites are gone. In fact, it might seem like your symptoms are worsening during the initial treatment period. After the first week or two, the rash should start to look like it is healing. You will likely still be itchy, but the surface of the skin should improve. After a month of treatment, the skin should be close to completely healed.

If your natural treatment does not seem to be doing the trick, it might be time to visit your doctor and discuss alternative options. Some homeopathic treatments are great for reducing the itch, but they cannot kill the mites if they have burrowed into the skin. If strong creams and lotions tend to irritate your skin, there are oral options available as well.

Can Scabies Bites Appear After Treatment?

If it looks like you are having new bites crop up weeks after treatment, you may still be infested. This is especially true for people that have crusted scabies. Someone with crusted scabies is likely infected with a significant amount of mites and is considered much more contagious than someone with regular scabies. Crusted scabies may take several rounds of treatment before it is eliminated, and it may not respond to natural treatments at all. It is important to be aggressive with this strain of scabies to prevent the spread to others and reduce your own discomfort.

If proper measures were not taken to treat all members of the household, it is also possible that you have been reinfected by a newly contagious close contact. It is imperative to use an abundance of caution when dealing with all strains of scabies, even if the person does not initially have symptoms, or else you may end up in a vicious cycle of contagion. On the other hand, if you suspected that your rash was scabies, but it was not properly diagnosed by a doctor, you may be having a reaction to another environmental factor. If treatment has had no effect on your rash at all, you should see a doctor or dermatologist to properly identify the source of your itching.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to The Health Board. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By anon977080 — On Nov 07, 2014

I am wondering if castor oil mixed with eucalyptus and peppermint oils might do the trick. Oils absorb into the skin and if they are applied several times a day, especially after they have dried and/or are removed from washing, rubbing, etc., I would think that they would work fairly well at killing off the bugs. One thing I know is, when treating bugs, the treatment must remain in contact with the skin until the bugs are dead.

By literally45 — On Aug 30, 2014

Although these natural oils and things can help, I do think that at the end of the day, a long-term scabies problem has to do with a weak immune system. I realize that scabies is very contagious and the mites reproduce fairly quickly. I'm not saying that one shouldn't try to treat it with medications or remedies. It's definitely important to do that. But it's also important to strengthen the immune system. So cutting down on stress, eating healthier, exercising more and avoiding alcohol and tobacco will also help.

By ysmina — On Aug 30, 2014

Aside from tea tree oil, grapeseed oil is also great for getting rid of scabies. It must be applied on the affected areas. It prevents scabies from breathing, it suffocates them.

The issue with scabies is that since they burrow underneath skin and also leave eggs, it takes a long time to kill everything. Most people recommend using these natural treatments for at least three months.

It can also be confusing whether the infection is gone or not because the itching caused scabies can last even after scabies is gone. I think it's a good idea to continue treatment until the itching is also gone, just to be on the safe side.

By discographer — On Aug 29, 2014

Food grade diatomaceous earth is supposed to work for scabies. I'm not sure how it's used though. I guess it's applied on skin. I've previously heard that diatomaeous earth kills pests. The same applies to this situation.

Anna T.
Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to The Health Board. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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