Another Type of Skincare: When Mosquitoes Attack
I hail from the UK, where growing up in the drizzle and grey meant that those buzzing little pests, mosquitoes, were rarely a problem for me. You might get them on the odd dreary camping holiday, but they were generally not too much of an issue for me until I moved to hotter, more humid climates. I lived in Spain for four years, where not only were there normal mosquitoes to worry about, but there were also the dreaded Tiger Mosquitoes. These little buggers made it all the way over to The Land of the Siesta from Southeast Asia, thanks to transport and trade being what they are these days: international. Tiger Mosquitos feed during the day, so you can never escape their ominous buzz.
Of course, loving the itching and scratching as much as I do, it made logical sense to move over to another country which enjoyed hot and humid summers – South Korea also is home to evil in winged form, so naturally I decided to go there as part of my next adventure. Mosquito season is well and truly setting in here, and I’m currently feeling the smart of their bites on my poor little hands and legs. Anyone who has felt this knows that a bite from these beasts is pure hell – and sometimes your reaction can be a serious one, with itching lasting for days at a time, and your skin puffing up in small welts as a reaction to the mosquito’s feeding.
Asian Beauty has solved many of my skin woes, and I’m a huge fan of natural remedies when it comes to a lot of skin/health/body issues such as pain management or headache relief. Changing your diet or making the most of nature’s seemingly magical resources has helped me out with everything from toothache to migraine. So when my bites were particularly bad, and another round of my mosquito cream did absolutely nothing for me, I got to thinking – can any of the ingredients I put on my face every single day be as effective in soothing these bites, as they are in curing my skin’s ills? The simple answer is: yes. Here I’m going to run through some ingredients which are common in many AB products, and how you can use them for relief against those nasty bloodsucking pieces of work.
First up, it’s good old aloe vera. I’m sure you’re not surprised to see this on the list – aloe is famously effective in soothing and treating our skin. After sunburn, my aloe gel provides welcome relief and reduces redness. Aloe on a bite will not only get rid of the scratching urge (at least for a while), but it will also help your body in healing the wound more quickly. At home I use my trusty aloe plant and apply the freshly cut pulp, but here I don’t have one. Luckily aloe vera gels, mists, creams, and you name it, are readily available at very low prices for situations like this. A small dab of soothing aloe vera gel worked wonders for me, and if nothing else, put me off scratching for at least an hour.
There are so many ways to use aloe vera gel and I highly recommend getting a tub just because of how versatile it is – it’s an absolute staple in my cabinet and on any holiday, it’s the most important part of my routine I take. I am currently using it as a sleeping pack and it’s working wonders on my skin. I love the stuff.
Aloe products you can use:
- Soothing Gel from almost any big name AB brand (choose a high aloe content)
- Aloe soothing mist
- Nature Republic Aloe Gel Cream
Next up, let’s talk about honey. Honey has natural antibacterial ingredients, so is very good in its raw state and is often recommended as a remedy for acne and other skin problems. It prevents bacteria growth and has anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it’s so good for mosquito bites. The best form is pure and raw, but if you’re like me and don’t own a pot (it’s madly expensive in Korea), or you value your precious AB products more than something you spread on your toast, there are some high honey-content products that will certainly do the trick.
I recently purchased the Scinic Honey All in One Ampoule after reading rave reviews about it all over the internet. Honestly, though, I’m underwhelmed by it (more on that later). I’m happy to say, however, I’ve finally found an effective use for it! Dabbing a small amount on my pesky bites stopped the itching sensation, even when it was getting to unbearable level. I left some on before going to bed, and did certainly feel my swelling reduce – mosquito bites can sometimes take weeks to go away for me, and I can already feel some of my current ones (from two days ago) are on their way out. Take that, suckers!
Honey products you can use:
- Scinic Honey All in One Ampoule
- Shara Shara Honey Bomb
- Real honey! Raw, natural honey is the best you can get
Tea tree oil is a god amongst ingredients. It has antiseptic properties, and is used for treatment with a whole host of dermatological issues. In my case, it’s helped considerably with icky toe fungus (sorry for TMI, but hey, you’ve got to know this stuff is the real deal). Mosquito bites can become infected – especially because we full on refuse to leave them alone – so tea tree oil can help prevent infection. Tea tree oil slightly stings, too, which actually works as a small distraction from your biting hell!
This said, be very careful with tea tree oil in its pure form. It is strong stuff. It can be especially dangerous for those with sensitive skin. Tea tree oil is easily diluted, and mixing it with coconut oil, or other oils, is often a way to retain efficacy whilst making the product safer.
Tea tree products you can use:
- LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence
- A’PIEU Nonco Tea Tree Oil
Lastly, but by no means leastly, let’s move on to the final AB ingredient I’m going to talk about today – the one, the only, the revered, the godly…SNAIL. I know how much this little guy means to many in the AB community. Snail products are a regular in my daily routine. It helps my skin keep that ‘jjang, jjang!’ as they say here in Korea (it’s supple and bouncy), and as snail mucin has properties that help boost cell regeneration and reduce scarring, it should help both at the initial bite stage, and later on when trying to speed up the healing process on the skin. Especially if you’ve been naughty and scratched that horrid lump to death! Due to the high amount of snail products available, I’d say you should be more selective when it comes to what you put on the offending area. Many creams, gels, essences, and so on, have many other ingredients that could harm, rather than help. Going for a product with a high level of snail mucin, and few other ingredients, is a much safer option.
COSRX Advanced Snail Mucin 96 Essence sprang to mind immediately when I considered what snaily goodness might do for my angry bitten hands and legs. Because it has 96% snail mucin, it is basically pure slime trail. It has a cooling, refreshing feel to it, and by morning, the smaller of my mosquito bites were definitely feeling the benefit. They were almost not there any more, and certainly weren’t itching like some others I hadn’t caught in time, acquired during the day. I wish I’d taken pictures of proof, but at the time I was much more concerned in getting these damn welts out of my lovely skin, rather than documenting the evidence. I will have to add photos in the future to show you just how much I love snails, and what they did for my fiendish bites.
Some other snail products with a high mucin content are:
- Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence
- Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule
I’m also interested in trying some other ingredients such as bee venom and rose oil, but I haven’t felt so adventurous when all these other ingredients work so well and really help out my poor skin, while soothing it and, best of all, being a natural remedy. Hats off to you, Korea – I’m under your beauty spell and will continue to test how else these wondrous products can be used outside of giving me the skin I’ve always wanted!
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