Can a sauna kill scabies? This is an interesting question.
If you’ve read the CDC brief on scabies, it will tell you that scabies cannot survive at heats above 50°C (122°F). If you can expose scabies mites to that heat for more than ten minutes, they die.
This leads a lot of smart people to think – what about a scabies sauna!!
A sauna usually runs from 70°C (158°F) and upwards, so surely sitting in a hot sauna for 10 minutes would kill all the mites, no?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
This is because of two reasons:
Scabies mites don’t live on the surface of your skin
The thing about scabies mites is they burrow underneath your skin. That means in many ways, they are protected from external elements, one of these being heat.
If your skin is exposed to heats of 70°C (158°F), that doesn’t mean the mites are necessarily being exposed to the same temperatures. A sauna for scabies can still be effective, and often will kill the portion of mites that are atop the surface of your skin, but a sauna is certainly not a complete treatment for scabies because eliminating scabies in a sauna is simply not possible. The mites underneath your skin will still survive and still continue to burrow and breed.
Your body temperature doesn’t rise that much in a sauna
Interestingly, if you read the science on saunas, they don’t actually raise the core temperature of your body by that much – 2 to 3 degrees at most. If you sit in a 70°C (158°F) sauna, it doesn’t mean your body temperature will also rise to that amount. Your body temperature will raise a little, possibly to around 41 or 42°C (108°F).
This is because your body is designed to regulate it’s temperature to survive your environment. If you’re in a snow cave, your body doesn’t just drop it’s body to freezing like the ice you’re sitting on, it works hard to increase your body temperature to survive! The same happens in a sauna. This means, unfortunately, any scabies under the surface of your skin will very comfortably survive that temperature.
Should you use a sauna to treat scabies?
Spending time in the sauna will certainly not worsen your scabies condition, and in fact you may succeed in killing some surface mites, which is still great. Any scabies mite killed is a victory, of course! However if you’re wondering whether a sauna will kill scabies completely, the answer unfortunately is no. Therefore it would be unwise to rely completely on sauna treatment to cure your scabies.
The best way to ensure a full recovery from scabies is to use a full array of treatments. That means prescription treatments like permethrin and ivermectin, plus natural treatments like tea tree oil and neem oil, plus supportive treatments like moisturizing, sulfur baths and saunas.
Only a multi pronged approach like this will ensure a fast and full recovery.
How to treat scabies with saunas? Follow these steps:
1. Don’t over do it
Spend a maximum of 15 minutes in the sauna, then get out, and then repeat if you really want to. Remember, the CDC says scabies die after ten minutes exposure above 120 degrees, so very long saunas to kill scabies are unnecessary. Also remember you don’t want to stress your body out too much during scabies treatment. Your immune system is already on high alert and what you need is rest and recovery, not intense treatments.
2. Moisturize with scabies-killing oils
After your sauna, your pores will be open from the heavy sweat. Take advantage of this to get some scabies-killing treatments into your skin. First, dry your skin thoroughly. Then moisturize with an effective scabies treatment.
My recommendation would be a tea tree oil moisturizer. Tea tree oil has been shown to be extremely effective against scabies, even permethrin-resistant scabies which are certainly one of your worst enemies (see this study). To make your own tea tree oil moisturizer, simply mix three to four drops of quality tea tree oil to a spoonful of simple moisturizer and rub it over your skin. Not only does this help to eradicate scabies, it’s great for the skin too (and even smells quite plesant!)
The tea tree oil I use is this one, and I mix it with this moisturizer, which is a nice simple moisturizer free of funny chemicals and fragrances.
3. Combine your saunas with a proper scabies treatment routine
Like I’ve said many times before, the absolute best way to kill scabies is to hit it hard. Doing a few treatments a day or whenever you feel like it isn’t going to work. Scabies have survived humans for thousands of years and you are not going to get rid of them by doing a half-effort treatment. You need a rigorous, focused and diligent treatment over two weeks to kill scabies. The good news is, if you do that, you should get rid of scabies relatively quickly and painlessly. It’s when you let it get out of control by doing “soft” treatments that the misery begins.
This article isn’t exactly correct. I had scabies in 2010 for perhaps half a year. Nothing seemed to work. They were immune to permethrin and various other things such as tea-tree oil. It got to the point where it was making me depressed. I then had the idea of going to a sauna, which was at almost 100 degrees celcius.
I made a visit every day for one week, staying in the sauna for as long as possible. Usually an hour. It was very difficult, as I almost felt like passing out. Immediately after, I would go into a steam room for 15-30 minutes (any longer was impossible for me at this point)
This absolutely killed the scabies mites. Although the body does regulate temperature, scabies only burrow a few millimetres under the skin. After an hour, the temperature was surely over 50 degrees celcius on the skin.
However, I’m not saying this will work for everyone. In my case, permethrin didn’t work – but it has been proven to work for many others. It’s best to try as many different methods until they are eradicated. Also going into a hot sauna for an hour might be very difficult for some people. It wasn’t easy!
Thanks for sharing. I certainly couldn’t handle a 100 degree sauna!
wow this is actually insane, probs to you for enduring such sauna treatment and wish you good health
Hi! I am from Hungary, and I would like to ask your opinion about infrared sauna. Can it help since it heat the deeper layer of the skin? Thanks.
Unlikely it will be hot enough.
Hi, i have it on my penis, i took my first scabies treatment yesterday and today I realized two new bumps on my balls, i wonder is that okey? Does it mean it is getting better or worse? And why am I getting a new bumps after first treatment?
Mite Food says
After 6 months of permethrin and Ivermectin treatments, plus washing laundry and sheets daily, I am finally seeing dead larvae and bugs come off my skin after hot showers. The itching is very intense still, and sometimes when I reach back to scratch my neck, a tiny black speck of a mite comes off my skin. I’ve seen 2 live ones come off me in the shower after using 45% permethrin meant for dogs. Doctors have refused to give me adequate treatment and some have worsened the situation by insisting I take steroids. I am immunocompromised. I take 2 to 4 showers per day, have treated my whole house and family and still can’t get rid of it.
you must have something besides scabies, because scabies mites and larvae are microscopic. You can’t see them with the naked eye. You are treating the wrong thing, which is probably why it isn’t helping.
Hi, should the bleach bath and mask be done on alternating days or can/should they be done on same days? Thank you
No hard or fast rule, but alternate days would probably make sense.
Completely strip down & spray Aeroguard all over your entire body, avoiding your mouth, nose & eyes, avoid getting dressed for at least 60 to 90 mins, then spray your entire body again & once again avoid putting any clothing on for at least another hour, then after that hour have a hot shower without using any soap. This will kill all scabie mite, including the infestation ones.