July 24, 2013

When Charcoal Doesn't Work

I got eaten alive yesterday.

It was a summer trek up north that consisted of a 6 hour drive both ways, and 7 hours of a hiking and swimming expedition at the falls. It was hot, and we ended up hiking out at dusk. End result: the mosquitoes found me and left me with welts the size of tea cup saucers (I'm only exaggerating a little). It was painful, but by the time I got home around 1am, I was too exhausted to do anything about it. I passed out. The next morning I couldn't sit still I itched so much (I counted 11 bites). But I had work early, and then had to stay late. So I didn't get to apply my charcoal rub until about 24 hours after I was bitten.

It didn't work as well as when I applied it minutes after the bite. The itch subsided, but only a smidge. So it seems charcoal's effectiveness is very time dependent. The sooner the application, the better. My post yesterday reminded me that tamanu oil is used to treat not only acne, but also burns, scabies, bug bites and wounds. I had a bottle in my pantry, so I figured I'd give it a go (I would have covered myself in stinky cheese if you told me it would work).

The itch subsided. Nearly immediately. There was one bite that needed a second application. But with the remaining ten, I immediately felt a sort of cooling sensation. One I never felt before when I applied tamanu oil to my face. And  now I'm able to sit still with no squirming.

Now why didn't I bring bug repellent with me? Million dollar question, my friend.

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Ingredients in Mountain Rose Tamanu oil: Cold pressed, unrefined tamanu oil

Image Courtesy of:
1. Flickr, by Casey Konstantin

I sought out this product and was not compensated monetarily or otherwise for this post.


  1. I meant to tell you that yup - charcoal doesn't work when it's at least 24hrs after (the only time I've tried it). I was pretty sad, but now I have charcoal for...other purposes? I'm pretty guaranteed to never have it on hand right when I get bit, so any other uses for charcoal, let me know! :)

    1. It whitens teeth! http://www.crunchybetty.com/dazzle-whiten-your-teeth-with-activated-charcoal

      Not that you need it...

  2. Long live Tamanu oil! Works wonders to ward off scarring. Thanks for the tip!