1. Cold Compress
Most dermatologists advise a simple cold compress as the most effective way to deal with the itching and swelling of hives. The cold temperatures can reduce inflammation to the site and calm the body’s reaction to the allergen. Ice or a cold compress will also reduce the itchy and swelling.
- Handful of ice cubes or ice pack
- Hand towel
- Plastic bag
Place the ice cubes or ice pack inside a plastic bag, then cover with a towel. Apply to the area with hives for no more than 10 minutes at a time to avoid damage to the skin. Repeat as needed, as often as twice an hour.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a popular hives remedy for the simple reason that it works. Baking soda has anti-inflammatory properties and it will help reduce the itching. Another reason that baking soda is one of the great home remedies for hives is that you almost certainly have it on hand already.
- 3 Tablespoons baking soda
- Medium sized bowl
- Several cups cool water
Combine the baking soda and water in the small bowl until you have a thick paste. Then apply to the area that has hives. Leave on for about 30 minutes then rinse off. Alternatively, you can run a bath of cool water and add a half to one cup of baking soda, and soak for about 30 minutes.
Oatmeal is a great general skin soother, and it works as a home remedy for hives by decreasing inflammation and also helping the skin retain moisture. This helps your skin heal more quickly. Make sure you don’t use the instant oatmeal that is packed with sugar and flavoring. While that variety is delicious, it won’t help your hives. Use unflavored, plain oatmeal to treat hives.
- 2 cups oatmeal
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Small bowl
Combine the oatmeal, cornstarch and enough water to make a paste in the small bowl. Apply to the hives, and allow the oatmeal mixture to sit for 30 minutes. Again, if the hives cover so much skin surface that a paste is not practical, add about 3 cups of ground oatmeal to a lukewarm bath and soak for 30 minutes.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another excellent of these home remedies for hives. It has antihistamine properties and because of its pH level can help balance skin’s immune responses. The vinegar will smell strong at first, as it dries the smell will fade away.
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- warm bath water
Add the apple cider vinegar to the warm bath water and soak for 30 to 40 minutes once a day. You can also create a diluted liquid with one cup water and two tablespoons apple cider vinegar to make a wash for the affected area. There have also been many studies that have found there are many benefits to drinking a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar a day. While drinking it won’t immediately improve your hives, it may help regulate your gut bacteria and make an allergic reaction less likely.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is another traditional skin remedy used by people around the world for many thousands of years. Aloe vera has many emollient and skin healing properties, which makes it the perfect remedy for hives. There are several home remedies for hives that use aloe vera, but this is the simplest.
- Fresh aloe vera leaf from a live plant
- OR pure, 100% aloe vera gel
If you have a fresh aloe vera leaf, open it up with a knife like you are trying to filet it, by pulling off the skin and revealing only the inner gel Apply this to your hives once or twice a day. Use the same schedule if you are using packaged aloe vera gel.
Ginger has long been used in traditional Eastern medicine, and for good reasons. It has natural anti-inflammatory properties and reacts with the enzymes that cause the allergic response to slow it down. This makes it the perfect home remedy for hives. It is also quite tasty. It has a distinctive spicy taste and smell.
- Fresh ginger root
- Boiling water
- Tea (optional)
Peel a fresh ginger root with a vegetable peeler, and then slice it into rounds. Boil it until the water has taken on a ginger scent. Let the water cool completely, then use this liquid to wash the hives. You may also grate some ginger into tea and drink it daily for other health benefits.
Aside from being a delicious treat, pineapple is one of the many foods that make great home remedies for hives. Pineapple is high in an enzyme called bromelain which can help reduce the swelling and itching.
- Pineapple (fresh or canned is fine)
- Thin cotton towel
- String or rubber band
Crush the pineapple and place it in the middle of the towel. Pull up the corners of the towel and tie it in the middle, so you have a bag of pineapple. Apply this compress to the hives a few times a day for about 10 minutes at a time. Keep the pineapple compress in the refrigerator between uses, but be sure to replace the pineapple every 24 hours.
8. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has moisturizing properties as well as mild antibacterial properties. Combined these can help keep your skin healthy and encourage healing while you are broken out with hives. The coconut oil may not provide much itch relief, but you will be surprised how much less irritated your skin feels when it is well hydrated.
- Cold-pressed, organic coconut oil
Apply organic coconut oil to your skin, preferably after a bath or shower. This is an excellent way to follow up an oatmeal or baking soda bath from above, in fact. Try to apply the oil to your skin while it is still slightly wet, as the oil will keep moisture in the skin, which will allow it to heal faster on its own.
The tannic acids in tea have been used as traditional anti-inflammatories and as soothing skin supplements for years in Eastern medicine. These tannins help adjust skin’s pH balance as well, which supports faster healing and quicker recovery from the itching and pain of hives.
- 3 black or green tea bags
- Boiling water
Brew tea a little strong than you would for drinking. Do not use a fruit or herbal tea, as those teas are lower in the tannic acids. Allow the tea to cool and apply on a cloth to the hives. Rinse tea off after 20 minutes. You can also add multiple tea bags to a warm bath.
10. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a vitamin that many Americans are deficient in, especially in the winter. While this supplement will not provide immediate relief as a home remedy for hives, if you are a chronic sufferer of hives, you should start taking a daily dose of vitamin D, as a randomized trial has found that vitamin D supplementation decreases the incidents of hives.
- Vitamin D supplement
The recommended daily dose of vitamin D is 400 to 1000 IU for an adult. Take daily with food.
11. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is an astringent, and it works as a hives remedy by contracting the blood vessels in the skin to counteract the histamine reaction. It also has a cooling sensation and so can help with the itching or burning that often accompanies hives.
- Witch hazel
- Cotton balls
Simply apply the witch hazel to the hives. Do not add witch hazel to a bath and soak in it, as you would with many of these remedies. However, you do not need to rinse off or dilute the witch hazel.
12. Pepto-Bismol or Milk of Magnesia
Sometimes home remedies for hives can be hard to find if you are on vacation or in the car. In this case, both milk of magnesia and Pepto-Bismol will work to sooth the skin the same way that they soothe your stomach, by counteracting the inflammatory properties of your body’s reaction.
- Or Milk of Magensia
- Cotton balls
Just dab either the Pepto-Bismol or the milk of magnesia on the hives, and allow to dry. You do not need to rinse these off, but they will color your skin, so don’t forget that you’ve applied it.
Please note that while these home remedies for hives are useful for minor reactions if you suspect a severe allergic reaction you should go directly to the emergency room, as very severe allergic reactions can escalate quickly. In summary, your home is probably already full of home remedies for hives, so there’s no reason to use an over the counter drug with many side effects.
Different products work better for different people, so try out some of these remedies and see what gets the best results for you. Also, remember that the best way to treat hives is not to get them at all. This can be accomplished by removing allergens from your immediate environment and managing your everyday stress appropriately.