From pesky mosquitoes to poison ivy, spending time in the great outdoors can wreak havoc on your skin. But before you spend a fortune at the pharmacy, try one of these natural home remedies for bug bites, hives and itching

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Insect repellent

The best way to treat bites is to avoid getting bitten in the first place. But forget spraying poisons on yourself. The essential ingredients of this homemade insect repellent have been shown in numerous studies to keep stinging insects—notably, mosquitoes—far, far away. Keep in mind, however, that if you’re in an area with a high rate of mosquito-transmitted diseases, such as West Nile disease, you may need stronger protection.

• 15-20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
• 15-20 drops lemon essential oil
• 15-20 drops lemongrass essential oil
• 15-20 drops citronella essential oil
• 2 tablespoons carrier oil (olive oil or any massage oil)

1. In a small pitcher, mix the essential oils with the carrier oil.
2. Put into a spray bottle and use as needed. Do not use on small children or infants.

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