Updated: Nov 20
Insect bites are a common problem, and they can leave dark spots or hyperpigmentation on the skin. While these spots are usually harmless, they can be unsightly and cause concern for those affected.
In this article, I will provide you with some tips on how to remove dark spots caused by insect bites. I will also discuss the causes of hyperpigmentation and why it occurs after insect bites.
Table of Contents
What Causes Hyperpigmentation or Darks Spots after Insect Bites or Mosquito Bites?
Insect bites can cause hyperpigmentation or dark spots on the skin due to the deposition of melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives our skin its color. When the skin is exposed to an insect bite, the body produces an excess of melanin in the affected area, resulting in dark spots. This phenomenon is also known as Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH), i.e. production of extra melanin as a part of the human body's inflammatory response.
How to Remove Dark Spots or Marks Caused by Insect Bites or Mosquito Bites
There are several ways to remove dark spots caused by insect bites or mosquito bites. These are tips specifically for the face (they will work for the rest of the body too, but if you want quicker results for legs and other parts, skip to the section below)
Topical Creams: There are several topical creams available that can help reduce the dark spots or hyperpigmentation caused by insect bites. These creams contain ingredients such as vitamin C, retinoids, glycolic acid, or azelaic acid that can lighten dark spots.
- For dark spots on the face, you can use spot treatments like:
1. Glyco 6 and GA-6 or,
2. Aziderm 10%
Remember to apply one of these creams only on the specific spot and only at night. You can apply them daily till the spots fade away.
If you also suffer from hyperpigmentation, melasma, or dark spots, you can use Azelac Ru serum on your entire face, at night, to deal with both diffused hyperpigmentation and insect bite-induced hyperpigmentation.
During day time, use a Vitamin C serum like Sesderma C-Vit Liposomal Serum , followed by sunscreen as mentioned below.
Use Sunscreen: While using sunscreen won't remove dark spots, sun exposure can worsen hyperpigmentation. So, it's important to use sunscreen daily to protect your skin from UV rays. Choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and apply it to your skin 15 minutes before sun exposure. Refer to my article on how to choose sunscreen for more details on this.
Chemical Peels: Chemical peels are another option for removing persistent dark spots caused by insect bites. A dermatologist can perform a chemical peel in their office to remove the outer layer of skin, which can reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Laser Therapy: Laser therapy is a more advanced treatment option for removing dark spots caused by insect bites. This treatment uses a laser to target the melanin in the affected area, breaking it down and reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Q-switched NdYAG laser is the most commonly used laser for such pigmentation.
Natural or Home Remedies to Remove Dark Spots Caused by Insect Bites or Mosquito Bites
There are several natural remedies that may help lighten dark spots caused by insect bites. These include aloe vera, lemon juice, and green tea. However, be informed that natural remedies may not be as effective as medical treatments.
How to Get Rid of Old Mosquito Bite Scars or Marks on Legs and Other Parts of the Body Fast?
These will be faster than the aforementioned options. However, always follow the same sun-safety measures. Don't expose the dark spots to the sun, as that will further increase hyperpigmentation.
Always do a patch test before using any new skincare product.
Will Dark Spots or Marks from Insect Bites or Mosquito Bites Go Away on Their Own?
In most cases, the dark spots or marks from insect or mosquito bites will lighten naturally over 3-6 months.
People with dark skin may have a slower recovery because of higher melanin content in their skin. This is nothing to worry about, though. Complete resolution can take up to 8-12 months.
Using products/medication can help accelerate the lightening of the spots.
Bite with Black Dot in the Middle or Bruise Around it
Sometimes, the insect bite might present with a dot in the center of the bruise ring. This doesn't occur as often in the case of mosquitoes as it does in the case of other insects.
Ticks bites, for example, often cause a rash that has a bull's eye pattern, which is red in color and might expand. If you see this happen, you should see a doctor immediately. This could be a sign of Lyme disease. Lyme disease can cause damage to your nervous system and even the heart.
Other insects that can cause a bite mark with a black dot in the middle are bees and wasps. These dots generally appear because that's where the stinger of the insect went. The stinger contains enzymes and toxic substances that cause a little bit of necrosis (death of body tissue) in the area where you were stung. Due to this, the color of the bitten area becomes darker than the surrounding area.
How to Stop Bites Itching in Seconds?
I have an entire article dedicated to stopping the itch from mosquito bites. Below is a gist of the same:
Here are some ways to stop the itching:
Apply topical creams or lotions containing Pramoxine over the area.
Apply topical creams or lotions containing menthol.
Apply calamine lotion.
Apply ice over the area.
Calosoft Plus is excellent as it contains a combination of ingredients that can help stop itching.
Another excellent way of reducing the itch is by using specialized electronic devices that help in getting rid of the itch and providing relief in seconds. They do so by applying concentrated heat to the area of the itch. You can also read this research study on the efficacy of concentrated heat for the treatment of insect bites.
You can try out the bite away Insect Sting & Itch Relief Stick. It's extremely cost-effective and a really useful gadget whether you are at home or on the go.
How to Prevent Insect or Mosquito Bites on the Go?
The most obvious way is to wear protective clothing. Cover your skin as much as possible with long sleeves, long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes. Choose light-colored clothing, as mosquitoes are often attracted to dark colors.
Use a mosquito or insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing. Look for products containing ingredients like DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). There are various such products, from skin-based creams like Odomos to fabric roll-ons. Follow the instructions on the product label for proper application.
When sleeping or resting outdoors, use mosquito nets to create a physical barrier between you and mosquitoes. Ensure that the nets are properly installed and free of holes.
How to Differentiate Insect Bites or Mosquito Bites from Other Skin Conditions?
Here are some common signs to look for:
Exposed Parts of Body
The insect bite lesions would be present predominantly on the exposed parts of the body like hands, feet, face, or neck.
Often unlike other skin conditions like acne or eczema, there's a sudden or overnight onset of lesions. Typically these lesions are swollen and extremely itchy for the first 24-48 hours. After this time, there are pinpoint red spots that can take 7-10 days to heal, leaving behind hyperpigmented patches, especially in people with skin of colour.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Sign
Another characteristic that's very typical in bed bug bites is something we dermatologists refer to as the breakfast, lunch, and dinner sign. The bite lesions will appear in a linear (straight line) or clustered pattern. This is because the bed bug bit its victim at different times. These different bites are, therefore, nicknamed "Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner" as a metaphor for the bed bug having had multiple meals.
Remember that most insect bites are different from "blister beetle bites" which is actually a misnomer since blister beetles don't actually bite. You can read my article on blister beetle bite for more information.
Hyperpigmentation caused by insect bites is a common problem, but it can be treated. If you're concerned about dark spots on your skin, it's important to consult with a dermatologist to determine the best course of treatment for you. If you are not based in India, you can also avail of Dr. Alpana's Personal Skin Care Consultant service.
By following these tips, you can reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and achieve a more even skin tone. Are you suffering from dark spots caused by pimples? You can read my article: How to Remove Dark Spots Caused by Pimples?
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