DIY Anti-Itch Cream with Bentonite Clay

DIY Anti-Itch Cream - Dr. Axe

Itchy skin can be so annoying, with inflammation to include swelling, heat, redness and even pain. If continued scratching occurs, it can make problems worse and cause infection. When summer is around the corner, anything from insect bites from those pesky mosquitoes, poison ivy, poison oak and irritation from the chlorine in pools can cause dry itchy skin, especially for the kids! And we are all familiar with that sunburn itch.

So while it’s best to prevent sunburn all together by using sunscreen, this DIY anti-itch cream can provide some effective itch relief.

And while there are many hydrocortisone creams and antihistamines such as Benadryl on the shelves, I recommend avoiding unnecessary chemicals, especially when there is an easy home remedy for itching at  your fingertips. Also, some of these products can have side effects such as sleepiness, fatigue, dizziness, headache and dry mouth.

So let’s get our ingredients together and make our very own DIY anti-itch cream. Using a double boiler or a heat-safe bowl that can sit in a pot with about 2 inches of water, melt the coconut oil and shea butter over low to medium heat. Then add the dried calendula. Place a lid on top allowing the heat to infuse the calendula for about 20 minutes.

Coconut oil has amazing antibacterial properties while providing moisturization to the irritated skin. Shea butter simply can’t be beat for its ability to repair the skin with it’s high nutrient-dense vitamin E and vitamin A content. Calendula is a pretty phenomenal herb that helps speed up recovery of wounds and irritated skin by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the infected area. 

It’s time to separate the herbs from the oil. Simply strain the oil using a fine mesh sieve like a cheesecloth and discard the calendula. Next, wipe down the double boiler so that you can use it again by placing the infused oil back into it. Return the heat to low/medium and add the honey or beeswax. Honey or beeswax are great additions helping to inhibit the growth of bacteria. Stir until well blended.

Remove from heat and add the baking soda, bentonite clay, witch hazel and apple cider vinegar to the mixture. Continue stirring. It will start to resemble mud. These four ingredients are important because they help draw out the impurities. Bentonite clay benefits your body by helping to expel many of these toxins (thus as part of a heavy metal detox) and can increase immunity and reduce inflammation. (1

Apple cider vinegar contains minerals, such as potassium, that can help reduce swelling and inflammation caused from skin irritation like poison ivy. The great news is that apple cider vinegar, along with these other ingredients, helps pull the poison out of your skin more quickly.

Now add the peppermint, tea tree oil and chamomile. Blend well. Peppermint provides a nice cooling sensation and helps stop the itch pretty fast due to the pain relief it provides. Not only that, it’s an antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory, and is great for poison ivy and poison oak. Tea tree oil is also an antiseptic in addition to being an antifungal and antibacterial which helps heal rashes associated with itchy skin. Let’s not overlook the amazing chamomile! Chamomile is not great as a tea calming you from a hard day, but it calms itchy skin, too. Chamomile is a soothing floral herb and a great solution to add to this recipe.

Allow it to cool for just a few seconds, then pour or spoon the cream into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. As it continues to cool, the cream will solidify into a spreadable lotion.

Now you are ready to use your DIY anti-itch cream! Just spread the cream over itchy skin irritations 2–3 times a day. One important note, however: Baking soda can cause irritation and pain to open wounds. It may be best to avoid use on open wounds.

DIY Anti-Itch Cream with Bentonite Clay

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: Makes 4-5 ounces


  • 2 tbs shea butter
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs dried calendula
  • 1 tbs honey or 1-2 beeswax pellets
  • 1 1/2 tbs baking soda
  • 2 ½ tbs bentonite clay
  • 1 tsp witch hazel
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops tea tree oil
  • 5 drops chamomile

Josh Axe

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    • Krista on

      The first part of the recipe is just making the calendula oil. If that is what you have just skip ahead to where you add everything else ;)

  1. Jeanie Roberts on

    What type of Witch Hazel? With or without alcohol. I’ve never used it so I’m a little confused. Help!

    • NaturebyNikki on

      Mountain Rose Herbs sells a great which hazel for this recipe. . I make salves, creams and lotions all the time. Good luck!

  2. Beverly Spoerhase on

    Dr. Axe:

    Thank you for your freedom and joyous manner in presenting your products.

    I just ordered your Bone Broth Protein.

    What Blender do you use? it seems a good one on your youtube talks.

  3. Gail on

    I’m about to make my second batch! This is great for stings as well as bites. I don’t have chamomile, but I put in aloe gel.

  4. Heather on

    Can this be used if you’re pregnant! Doctor prescribed hydrocotisone and I’m not crazy about that idea. I already make my own coconut oil/shea body butter, but my skin has been extra itchy lately and driving me crazy. TIA

  5. Florence on

    Please can wide yam capsule contain the same quality effect as the eating or liquid can it course sleeping problems or be addicted to

  6. Karen Clark on

    I am undergoing a treatment protocol that uses a fair number of homeopathic with with peppermint is contraindicated. I will be on-going for a number of months. Is there another oil I can use in lieu of the peppermint?

    Side Note: I noticed a grammatical error which alters the meaning of the sentence.
    “Chamomile is not great as a tea calming you from a hard day, but it calms itchy skin, too.”
    Should read: “Chamomile is not ONLY great as a tea calming you. . . . . . .”
    Add the word ONLY.

    Also: Though it is not clearly specified, I am assuming that you intend us to use SIFTED calendula and not the powdered. Am I correct?

    Thank you for these marvelous recipes. Greatly appreciated.

    I looked at your Emu site. However, as a lacto-vegetarian I cannot use the Emu oil. I am plagued from time to time with eczema and though the Emu oil sounds beneficial, I cannot use it. Will this cream help with the awful itch and hard scaley skin also?

    Thanks, Karen Clark

  7. nikki on

    so i am allergic to essential oils and beeswax according to my recent patch test through cleveland clinic, can i make this without those ingredients or are there appropriate substitute. thank you for your time

  8. Joanie on

    I have many of the same questions as the comments below but there doesn’t seem to be any response.
    What are the directions to make the itch cream? Mine turned out horrible. The dry ingredients and the wet ingredients are like oil and water in a sense. The oil stays on my skin but the dry ingredients just roll into balls and fall off. It will not spread on the skin at all. Frustrating and not cheap with the chamomile oil.

  9. Holly Stone on

    This is a great anti-itch cream. My husband has been having skin irritation on his arms, scratching himself bloody at night and this helped to settle his urge to itch down. I also used it when I was in the pool and it was overchlorinated. I broke out badly on my back and this soothed the itch and made the rash go away. I didn’t have any trouble making the salve. It is a little gritty and solidifies when cool, but will spread (thickly) on arms. If you think it seems too thick, just add some more oil. I used dried calendula blossoms but I’m sure the oil would work too. It’s wonderful, although you may want to be careful about getting it on your good clothes as the clay shows up a bit. I did not use a great deal of beeswax and it was still very thick. Dr Axe knows his stuff!

  10. Sandra Million on

    Thank you for the anti itch cream recipe. I had been working out in my yard and that evening I started itching my legs were covered with chiggers bites. I applied your anti-itch cream. WOW! IT SOOTHED THE ITCHING. THANK YOU!

  11. Lisa J Alexander on

    This seems like a good recipe, but before I go and buy all the ingredients, could you answer the questions? Specifically, the question where it asks how you actually make the cream, and how to keep it from separating or being too hard to spread. It seems like people try to make this, but it turned out horribly. There are no directions. We appreciate the ingredient list but please tell us how to mix it properly. Thank you. P.S. I am a person who bought and read your book.

  12. Marie on

    You mention chamomile at the end of this recipe; not sure if you mean the dired flowers, the chamomile essential oil, or plain chamomile tea… For the other ingredients you specify “oil”, can you please clarify? And is it absolutely required for the efficacy of this cream?


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