Poison ivy is an infamous plant, known for causing a severe rash on the skin. The reason this plant causes a rash is that its sap triggers irritation when it comes in contact with the skin. This sap is found in virtually all parts of the plant, including the leaves, the roots, and the stem. The sap found in poison ivy contains urushiol oil, which can cause a red, blistering, itchy rash.
The rash can develop when the skin makes direct contact with the plant; however, it can also develop as a result of touching with items that have been contaminated by it, including shoes, clothing, or even breathing in the smoke of the burned plant.
Only those who are allergic to the oil in position ivy are affected by the rash. If you are, you will start to see symptoms develop within 12 and 72 hours after you have been exposed. Symptoms include severe itching, red bumps, swelling, blisters, which can weep ooze, hives, and crusting skin.
If left untreated, it can take weeks for a poison ivy rash to heal, which can leave you in severe discomfort. To find some relief and speed up the healing process, here are natural remedies that could do the trick.
1. An oatmeal bath
If you’ve ever had the chickenpox, you’ve probably taken an oatmeal bath before. Oatmeal contains avenanthramides and phenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties that can provide instant relief for itching. Just like an oatmeal bath works for soothing the itching associated with chickenpox, it can also soothe an itchy poison ivy rash. Colloidal oatmeal works best, but regular oatmeal will do the trick if you can’t find the colloidal variety. Grind the oatmeal into a fine powder and add it into a tub of lukewarm water. Sit in the bath for 10 to 15 minutes to get some soothing itch relief.
2. Apple cider vinegar
This remedy hasn’t been proven, but some say that it can help to heal up the healing time and provide relief for the itching. Apply apple cider vinegar to a cotton swab and dab it over the affected area. Supposedly, doing so draws out the toxins from the oil in poison ivy, neutralizing them. There is a risk that should be noted: apple cider vinegar is very acidic, so there is the potential that it could cause damage to the skin barrier, which nourishes the skin by trapping in moisture and reduces the chances of developing an infection. If you are going to try this remedy, do so with caution.
3. Eucalyptus oil
The oil of the eucalyptus plant contains natural anti-inflammatory properties that may help to ease the inflammation, irritation, and even the itching that is associated with a poison ivy rash. It’s also very moisturizing, which adds to its healing ability. Lastly, eucalyptus oil causes a cooling effect, which can further increase your comfort. To use this remedy, apply 100 percent natural eucalyptus oil to a cotton swab and dab it over the affected area. You could also apply it directly to the skin.
4. Baking soda and water
Drying out a poison ivy rash can drastically shorten the amount of time it takes to heal this rash. For this remedy, mix together three teaspoons of baking soda with one teaspoon of water to create a paste. Apply the paste directly onto the rash and allow it to dry. The agents in the baking soda will start working to dry out the rash right away, not only speeding up the healing time but providing relief from the itching, too. Alternatively, you could mix a cup of baking soda into cool bath water for instant relief.
5. Rubbing alcohol
This isn’t a remedy for a rash that already exists, but rather a prevention measure. If you have been exposed to poison ivy and you are aware of it, applying rubbing alcohol to the contact site could prevent the rash from developing. Rubbing alcohol is very drying, so it can help to destroy the oils found in the poison ivy plant that cause that irritating rash. If blisters do develop, you can try applying rubbing alcohol to them, as it may help to dry them out.
6. Lemon juice and honey
A mixture of lemon juice and honey could provide some much-needed relief and speed up the recovery time, too. A hygroscopic, honey absorbs water from the air, which means that it will draw fluids out of the blisters, thereby making them tougher and speeding up the recovery time. Also, honey has antibacterial properties, which can prevent the rash from becoming infected. Lemons are highly acidic, so they can dry out the rash and further speed up the amount of time it will take for the rash to heal. Mix honey and lemon juice together, dab the mixture onto the blisters, and allow it to sit. Wash off and repeat the process a few times a day.
7. Sea salt
As you probably already know, salt has to dry properties. As a result sea salt can help to dry out poison ivy blisters faster and shorten the length of time it takes to heal from this obnoxious rash. If you live near the ocean or any other body of saltwater, go for a dip! If you aren’t fortunate enough to live near the beach, mix an ounce of sea salt into a quart of water, and apply the mixture to the affected site with a cotton ball. Allow the mixture to dry into the skin.
8. Aloe Vera
The aloe Vera plant is famous for its soothing properties. It is used to treat all types of skin irritations, including burns from fire and burns from the sun. It is also an effective way to soothe the rash that is associated with poison ivy. Apply pure aloe Vera gel directly to the blisters, making sure to work it in. Allow the gel to sit on the skin. You should start to feel relief from the itching and pulsating almost instantaneously. For best results, get an aloe Vera plant, snap off one of the leaves and apply the oil that weeps out directly to the skin.
9. A cold compress
Though it won’t heal the rash, a cold compress can help to soothe it. If your poison ivy rash is extremely aggravated and intensely itchy, try soaking a clean washcloth in ice-cold water. Wring out the excess water and apply the cloth directly to the rash for about 15 minutes. It will help soothe the burning, itching sensation, and it can also help to bring down the swelling. Alternatively, you can wrap an ice pack in a paper towel or a clean cloth and apply it to the skin for the same effect.
10. Witch Hazel
An astringent, witch hazel is famed for its ability to reduce inflammation and itching. It’s a natural treatment, and it can provide excellent results. To use this poison ivy remedy, simply saturate a cotton swab with witch hazel and dab it over the affected sit. Let the liquid remain on the skin and dry in. You should notice a marked difference in the itching and the inflammation within just minutes after application.