What Is Scabies?

Scabies are microscopic skin parasites known by their scientific name, as Sarcoptes scabiei. Scabies infest the top most layers of your skin, where they lay their eggs, and reproduce. This causes an immune reaction from your skin that results in red bumps and rashes.

scabies mite

What Do Scabies Look Like?

Scabies are too small to see with your naked eye. They are only about half of a millimeter long. They have eight legs, of which the front four are large and used for digging into your skin, and the hind four are much smaller. They can also use there mouth as a suction for holding on to your skin.

Scabies Under the Microscope

Here is a video of what a living scabies mite looks like, when it is moving around under a microscope. 

scabies rash on neck

What Are the Symptoms of Scabies?

Scabies cause an immune reaction on surface of your skin that presents as a very itchy red rash, as well as acne-like bumps. You may also notice small grey lines on your skin, known as burrows, where the scabies mites have dug tunnels under your skin.

What Area of the Body Is Affected?

In adults, the most commonly affected areas include the finger webs, wrists, armpits, elbows, waist, butt, and genitals. Babies and toddlers are susceptible to getting scabies on the head, face, palms, and soles of their feet. 

scabies rash on back
man who does not know how he got scabies

How Do You Get Scabies?

You can catch scabies through skin to skin contact, with someone who already has scabies. You can also get them by touching contaminated items, such as clothing, bed sheets, or towels. Common ways that people get scabies include sexual intercourse, gyms, massages, and contact sports like wrestling. 

Scabies Prevalence by Country

Here is a map that roughly shows the countries where scabies are most common. I have darkened the countries where scabies is most prevalent. As you can see, China and Brazil are the most highly affected. 

map of scabies prevelance by country

Standard Treatment for Scabies

man applying scabies cream

If you have scabies, the first thing that your doctor will prescribe you, is a 5% permethrin cream. Permethrin is a synthetic pesticide drug, that is used to kill lice and scabies. You cannot get 5% permethrin cream over the counter, but you can get nix spray (1% permethrin) from amazon here, and 10% permetherin liquid from amazon here.

Epsom Salt Rub for Scabies

Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, which when mixed with water breaks apart into sulfur and magnesium. Sulfur is deadly to the mites. That’s why it works. Here is the recipe: Add 1 cup warm water, 1/2 cup Epsom salt, and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. You can blend it if you want. Then rub the cream all over your body. I would recommend this one from amazon.

epsom salt

Tea Tree Remedy for Scabies

bottle of tea tree oil

Tea tree oil contains powerful acaricidal (mite killing) compounds, such as terpinen-4-ol. You can use it topically, as a treatment for scabies. Here is how to do it. Mix the tea tree oil 50/50 with coconut oilRub the mixture all over your body. Repeat this twice a day until your symptoms go away. The best tea tree oil that I have found so far, is this one from amazon.