5 ways to cure scabies

with the Healthy Skin Program

Benzyl Benzoate to cure Scabies

What is benzyl benzoate?

Benzyl benzoate is an ingredient of a lotion used to cure scabies. For adults it is a 25% concentration. For children it is diluted to 12.5% by adding water or baby lotion.

You can see the list of ingredients in the recipes at the bottom of this page.

Two plants naturally contain benzyl benzoate: the Kaempferia from India, and Cassumunar ginger from Thailand. Both have been used in traditional medicine.

Benzyl benzoate has many names

Benzemul lotion contains 25% benzyl benzoate.

Here are some other names benzyl benzoate goes by (according to wikipedia):

Ascabin, Ascabiol, Ascarbin, Benzylate, Scabanca, Tenutex, Vanzoate, Venzoate, Benzoic acid phenylmethyl ester, and Benzy alcohol benzoic ester

Where you can buy benzyl benzoate lotion

A lotion is called Benzemul is available from a pharmacy in Australia. I have ordered it from them and it looks like the real thing. No prescription required. Click here to go to the pharmacy's Benzemul page.

It's only $8 for a 200 ml bottle (6.7 ounces) but shipping is $31 (for one bottle to the USA)! They use express shipping so they claim it arrives in 2-5 days to the USA. When I ordered it took 11 days to arrive.

But shipping for 4 bottles is only $6 more ($37). So if you're going to order, you may as well buy 2 or more. 

In other words, 1 bottle costs $39.

2 bottles are $46 or $23 each.

4 bottles are $65 total or $16 each.

You get the idea.  Prices can change over time so look for yourself.

The other 25% benzyl benzoate is Carr & Day & Martin KillItch (500 ml/16 oz). This is intended for use on horses. Of course you have to decide for yourself if this is suitable for your purposes.  Click here to see a list of sellers of Killitch on Amazon. Last time I looked it the best price was $42 plus shipping.

I found much better prices in the United Kingdom. it’s only $28 for a quart (500ml) bottle plus $22 shipping. Shipping to the USA should take about a week.

Killitch contains 25% benzyl benzoate, 1/2% bronopol (a preservative used in cosmetics) emulsifying wax and water. Sounds like pretty tame stuff to me, but make up your own mind. Click here for an official KIllitch list of ingredients.

I have corresponded with one person overseas who used this on her own skin. She said, "It has no odor and several hours after treatment, my skin looks well enough to win a blue ribbon in dressage. My itching is completely gone after this one application."

On the Manufacturer's web site they say, "Key Ingredients: Benzyl benzoate 25% w/v - a creamy white soothing lotion.

AVM-GSL Ð Authorised Veterinary Medicine - General Sales List. This denotes a licensed medicinal product which has undergone rigorous testing for safety, efficacy and quality."

How much will you need?

One 200 ml bottle should cover an adult all over at least three times. So one bottle of Benzemul is enough to treat one person for a mild case of scabies. Two bottles is enough to treat one person for a severe case.

A 500 ml bottle is good for about 7 or 8 adult applications. A mild case requires 2 applications and a severe case up to 5 applications.

When to choose benzyl benzoate lotion

Benzyl benzoate lotion (commercial name Benzemul) is applied to one's skin to cure scabies. The Healthy Skin Program recommends choosing either 5% permethrin cream OR 25% benzyl benzoate lotion (not both at the same time!). You could alternate between them, using permethrin one time and then benzyl benzoate a week later (or visa versa). I suggest you also consider 10% sulfur lotion.

Two applications of permethrin cream a week apart has traditionally cured over 90% of scabies cases. But some people are encountering permethrin resistant scabies mites. That means sometimes the permethrin "doesn't work."

In those cases one can use benzyl benzoate lotion for the Healthy Skin Program to cure scabies. There are other treatments such as sulfur lotion and Eurax lotion.

Side effects: Benzyl benzoate lotion can burn or sting when first applied. According to the Mayo Clinic this is "Less common or rare". "It can irritate the eyes, but no damage has been reported”* So try it on a small portion of your skin first. Be especially careful applying it to your scalp or private parts.  See another list of possible side effects here.

Overdose symptoms (these are uncommon, but I want you to know everything):

Blister formation, crusting, itching, oozing, reddening, or scaling of skin

Difficulty in urinating (dribbling)

Jerking movements

Sudden loss of consciousness

* [Grant, W. M. Toxicology of the Eye. 2nd ed. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, 1974., p. 185]

Consider taking ivermectin, too

For a mild case of scabies you can just use the benzyl benzoate lotion by itself. But it is far more likely you will be cured by taking oral ivermectin at the same time.

For anything more than a mild case, the Healthy Skin Program recommends using BOTH a topical lotion (such a benzyl benzoate OR permethrin) and oral ivermectin.

If you can get a doctor's prescription, go for it. It's about $40 a dose. Despite it's safe profile and effectiveness, many doctors hesitate to prescribe ivermectin in the good ol' USA.

Click here to see a treatment schedule for using both benzyl benzoate and oral ivermectin.

How to use benzyl benzoate lotion

These instructions are from the Mayo Clinic web page "Benzyl Benzoate (Topical Route) - Proper use". There is a lot more information there. The Healthy Skin Program repeating treatment for more severe cases. Click here to see a timeline of when to apply the benzyl benzoate lotion. Read and follow any instructions that come with any medications.

It is applied in the same way as permethrin lotion, except that you should make especially sure your skin is clean and dry first.

Clean under your fingernails (you'll want to make sure to get the lotion under your nails).

If your skin has any cream, lotion, ointment, or oil on it, wash, rinse, and dry your skin well before applying benzyl benzoate. Make sure to dry your skin thoroughly before applying the lotion.

It may sound silly, but rub your eyes and pick your nose before you apply the lotion. Once you have it on your hands you should not touch your eyes or inside your nose. If you have to, take a wash cloth or towel and rub your eyes with that, not you fingers.

Apply some to a small area of your skin. Wait 20 minutes to see how your skin reacts. This is just common sense for when you try anything new on your skin. Some people report a burning sensation after applying benzyl benzoate. It should go away after 15 minutes.

Apply the lotion all over but not on your face or scalp. Cover everywhere from under your jaw down to the tips of your toes. Rub it in well.

Leave it on for 24 hours. DO NOT take a shower or bath. If you wash your hands, re-apply the BB lotion.

After 24 hours, thoroughly wash your body with warm water and soap. Rinse and towel dry.  

For a severe case you can re-apply it for a second 24 hours.

Regardless it is important to apply it again a week later.  Eggs that are under your skin can hatch and they come up and stay on your skin’s surface, hiding out in ores, for about 10 days. By re-applying the benzyl benzoate every 7 days you kill off the new generation of mites.

See a treatment schedule here (a calendar of what to do each day of the treatment program).

Making your own at home

You can make your own Benzyl Benzoate 25% lotion quite easily, but it isn't any cheaper than ordering it from the source listed above (unless you are making gallons).

Below are four "recipes" for mixing up 8 ounces, 12 ounces, 1 quart and 1 liter. The formula comes from two pharmaceutical references (links to the sources are given after each recipe).

These describe how a pharmacist would make one liter (or about a quart). You probably don't need more than 8 or 12 ounces at one time. It's better to make smaller amounts to avoid letting bacteria grow if it sits around too long. Store it in the refrigerator.

The liter formulas below result in Benzyl Benzoate Lotion which contains not less than 26.0 percent and not more than 30.0 percent (w/w) of benzyl benzoate (C14H12O2). The other formulas are in english units (ounces, cups, etc) which I converted for your convenience (you can double-check my numbers by starting from the liter formulas).

Where to buy ingredients

Benzyl Benzoate 100ml (3.3 oz) for $22 ( $7 + $15 shipping)

Or 1000ml 33.8 oz for $33 + shipping

Triethanolamine 2 oz (60ml) for around $8 or  8.4 ounces/250ml for $17 (both including shipping)

Yay! I just found a good deal on oleic acid: $23 for 32 ounces including shipping

Distilled water - any store

The 100 ml (3.3 oz) of benzyl benzoate is enough to make about 12 ounces (400 ml) of lotion. That should be enough to coat a 250 lb guy all over 4 times. The 1000ml (33.8 oz) would make about a gallon (4 liters).

60 ml of triethanolamine is enough for making 3 gallons (12 liters)!

32 ounces of oleic acid? You'll never use it up making this lotion.

NOTE: Prices often change on these products.

What is triethanolamine?

Triethanolamine is used primarily as an emulsifier and surfactant.

An emulsifier helps oil and water to mix.

A surfactant helps liquids to spread out more easily. Instead of drops, you get a smoother lotion.

What is oleic acid?

Basically a type of oil commonly used in making natural soaps.

Note about "purified water"

The recipes call for "purified water". I believe distilled water can be used as "purified water". My understanding is that the pharmacist is simply trying to avoid introducing bacteria into the mixture — that's why they don't use tap water.

If you want to use tap water, bring it to a rolling boil for one minute. Let it cool and you have killed the bacteria so it's fine to use. Storing the mixture in the refrigerator will help it stay good longer.

The recipe for benzyl benzoate lotion

To make a 8 ounces (1 cup):

1/4 cup benzyl benzoate (2 ounces)

1/4 teaspoon triethanolamine

1 teaspoon oleic acid

3/4 cup purified water (6 ounces)

Mix the Triethanolamine with the Oleic Acid, add the Benzyl Benzoate, and mix.

Transfer the mixture to a suitable container of about 1 cup capacity, add about 2 ounces of Purified Water, and shake the mixture thoroughly.

Finally add the remaining Purified Water, and again shake thoroughly

To make a 12 ounces (1.5 cups):

3 ounces benzyl benzoate

1/3 teaspoon triethanolamine

1 and 1/2 teaspoons oleic acid

9 ounces purified water

Mix the Triethanolamine with the Oleic Acid, add the Benzyl Benzoate, and mix.

Transfer the mixture to a suitable container of about 1 cup capacity, add about 2 ounces of Purified Water, and shake the mixture thoroughly.

Finally add the remaining Purified Water, and again shake thoroughly.

To make a quart:

1 cup benzyl benzoate (8 ounces)

1 teaspoon triethanolamine

4 teaspoons oleic acid

3 cups purified water (24 ounces)

Mix the Triethanolamine with the Oleic Acid, add the Benzyl Benzoate, and mix.

Transfer the mixture to a suitable container of about 2 quart capacity, add 1 cup of Purified Water, and shake the mixture thoroughly.

Finally add the remaining Purified Water, and again shake thoroughly.

To make a liter:

Benzyl Benzoate 250 mL

Triethanolamine 5 g

Oleic Acid 20 g

Purified Water 750 mL

To make about 1000 mL

Mix the Triethanolamine with the Oleic Acid, add the Benzyl Benzoate, and mix. Transfer the mixture to a suitable container of about 2000-mL capacity, add 250 mL of Purified Water, and shake the mixture thoroughly. Finally add the remaining Purified Water, and again shake thoroughly.

Source: U.S. Pharmacopeia

This is the same formula and directions, but from another source. to make 1 liter (a quart)

"Benzyl Benzoate Lotion USP is an example of a lotion that is also an emulsion.

The formula and method of preparation are:

Benzyl Benzoate 250 mL

Triethanolamine 5 g

Oleic Acid 20 g

Purified Water 1000 mL

Mix the triethanolamine with the oleic acid, add the benzyl benzoate, and mix. Transfer the mixture to a suitable container of about 2000 mL capacity, add 250 mL of purified water, and shake the mixture thoroughly. Finally add the remaining Purified Water, and again shake thoroughly.

Triethanolamine forms a soap with the oleic acid and functions as an emulsifying agent to form a stable product. This type of emulsifying agent is almost neutral in water and gives a pH of about 8 and thus should not irritate the skin.

Certain lotions tend to separate or stratify on long standing, and they require a label directing that they be shaken well before each use. All lotions should be labeled "For External Use Only." Microorganisms may grow in certain lotions if no preservative is included. Care should be taken to avoid contaminating the lotion during preparation, even if a preservative is present."

Source: Remington: The Science and Practice of Pharmacy, edited by David B. Troy, Paul Beringer. pg 773

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