Mosquito bites are an unfortunate part of all those fun Summer barbecues and beach trips, but Allure has tips for keeping those red spots at bay.
Beach bonfires, sidewalk cafes, lawn concerts: our favorite warm-weather activities are all fun and games until we wake up the next morning covered with mosquito bites. The worst part? We're not supposed to scratch them, no matter how irritating the itch. "With sun exposure, the mark of a scratched mosquito bite can last up to three months," says dermatologist Erin Gilbert.
Red welts all over my legs until September? No, thanks. When I was little, my mom would slather a baking-soda-and-water paste over my skin to relieve the itch, and while it worked, it was messy. Gilbert has an easier fix: Rub an ice cube over the mark for one minute, then let it rest for another 60 seconds, alternating both for a total of 10 minutes. "You don't want to keep the ice on for too long, since it can cause histamine release," which is what causes the swelling, she says. If you're looking for something over-the-counter, then try 1 percent hydrocortisone cream instead of calamine lotion, which has no molecular effect, Gilbert says. She also recommends Tricalm, a steroid-free gel with strontium, an element found in leafy green vegetables that reduces the sensitivity of nerves that cause itching. (Full disclosure: Gilbert consulted for the manufacturer during the product's development.)
Want to make the bites disappear? "Covering them up with makeup is completely reasonable. Just be sure the area is clean first," Gilbert says. Use a medium- to heavy-coverage foundation ("you want it to stick"), like Dermablend Smooth Indulgence Foundation Medium Coverage Long Wearability SPF 20 Sunscreen ($26), and top with setting powder. One last thing: if you did scratch a bite and it's starting to heal, then be sure to cover it with sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
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