Scabies is a condition caused by tiny insects called mites that infest and irritate your skin. Permethrin 5 % Cream is an anti-parasite medicine. It works by paralyzing and killing the mites and their eggs. Generally, the cream should be applied to the whole body except the face and head but follow your doctorâs advice. It should be thoroughly washed off after 8-12 hours. Often one application is enough to treat the condition completely but sometimes a second one may be required a week later. This will get rid of the itching, swelling, and redness caused by mites. However, dead mites may still make you itch for some time.