Poison ivy is known for its itchy and uncomfortable rash, and has been the bane of outdoor enthusiasts for decades. Despite our best efforts, many of us have fallen victim to its deceivingly benign appearance at one point or another. As we seek relief from its irritating effects, the world of natural remedies offers a myriad of solutions.
Among them, essential oils have emerged as a popular choice for alleviating the symptoms of poison ivy. These concentrated plant extracts harness the healing properties of nature, providing relief and soothing the inflamed skin.
In this article, we will explore the most effective essential oils for poison ivy, understand their therapeutic benefits and usage recommendations and how to use essential oils for itchiness caused by poison ivy or poison oak.
What Is Poison Ivy?
Poison ivy is a plant that grows in many parts of the United States and Canada. It usually has three leaves together on a stem. The leaves can be shiny and can change color with the seasons. In the spring, they might be red. In the summer, they turn green. And in the fall, they can be yellow, orange, or red.
Why Is It Called “Poison Ivy?” | Why Does Poison Ivy Sting?
The plant has an oil called urushiol which is not suitable on many people’s skin. Many people are allergic to urushiol oil. If in contact with your skin, the skin can get itchy, red, and sometimes even have blisters, this itself is an allergic reaction to poison ivy. That’s why people call it “poison” ivy, even though it’s not really poison. It just causes a rash that can be very uncomfortable.
13 Best Essential Oils for Poison Oak Rash
Commercial essential oils act as potent anti microbials to various skin diseases, at the same time it also speeds up the treatment for poison ivy rash on the skin .
The following table recommends using the best essential oils to help with poison ivy rash:
|Name of the Essential Oil for treating poison ivy rashes||Properties|
|Peppermint Essential Oil||It has cooling properties that provide immediate relief and soothe inflammation.|
|Lavender Essential Oil||It can help to accelerate the healing process. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties to soothe the skin.|
|Myrrh Essential Oil||Anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the rash. Natural antiseptic reduces risk of infection known for its rejuvenating effect on the skin, promoting healing.|
|Eucalyptus Essential Oil||According to an article published by the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal, volume 48, issue 2, Eucalyptus oil has a cooling effect that reduces the impact of poison ivy rash, blisters or any allergic reactions .|
|Calendula Essential Oil||According to Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, 87, Calendula essential oil promotes skin healing and reduces inflammation due to contact with poison ivy and reduces the allergic reactions caused due to the symptoms of poison ivy. |
|Tea Tree Oil||It offers analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and speed up healing process, by reducing redness and itchy skin.|
|Chamomile Essential Oil||It is known for its skin-soothing benefits. Chamomile essential oil has Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that reduce redness when in contact due to poison ivy.|
|Eucalyptus Essential Oil||It has a cooling effect that reduces itchiness and it contains antiseptic properties.|
|Calendula Essential Oil||Promotes skin healing and reduces inflammation. Helps prevent secondary infections. According to the Indian Journal of Microbiology, essential oils and herbal extracts act as antimicrobial agents too .|
|Geranium Essential Oil||Reduces inflammation and soothes skin. Geranium essential oil also aids in Regenerating the skin tissue.|
|Helichrysum Essential Oil||Helichrysum oil also has analgesic properties. It aids in skin cell regeneration and healing. Reduces inflammation and pain.|
|Cypress Essential Oil||Helps reduce swelling and improves circulation. Astringent properties that can aid in skin healing.|
|Rose Essential Oil||Contains anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in rehydrating skin and preventing dryness.|
How To Get Relief From Poison Ivy? | Immediate Treatment From Poison Ivy Rash
Relief from poison ivy involves soothing the itch and rash. Here is a step by step guide on how to find relief from poison ivy:
|How to find relief from poison ivy||Details|
|Immediate Response||Avoid touching and scratching the area. Scratching can introduce bacteria from under your fingernails into the open blisters and cause an infection. As soon as possible, wash the area with soap and cold water to try to remove any urushiol oil. This may prevent a rash from forming or reduce its severity.|
|Treat the Rash and Itch||Applying cold compresses directly to the rash can reduce itching. You can use a cloth soaked in cold water or an ice pack wrapped in a cloth. Apply this to the rash to dry out the blisters and soothe the itch. Apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to the rash as directed.|
|Medications||Over-the-counter antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can help reduce itching. Be aware that they can cause drowsiness. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen can reduce pain and swelling.|
|Natural Remedies||Essential oils such as lavender, tea tree, and peppermint can provide some relief. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before applying to the skin.|
|Professional Consultant||See a doctor if the rash does not get better within a few weeks. If the rash becomes infected with yellow pus, warmth or increasing pain.|
Essential Oil Recipes For Poison Ivy | DIY Recipes, treatment For Poison Ivy
Recipe #1 – Lavender & Coconut Soothing Oil
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (as a carrier oil)
Mix the lavender oil with coconut oil. Apply gently to the affected areas 2-3 times daily.
Recipe #2 – Tea Tree & Aloe Gel
- 7 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 3 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
Mix the tea tree oil into the aloe vera gel. Apply to the rash as needed to speed up the healing process.
Recipe #3 – Peppermint Cooling Spray
- 10 drops of peppermint essential oil
- 100 ml of distilled water
- Spray bottle
Add the peppermint oil to the distilled water in the spray bottle. Shake well and spray onto affected areas for a cooling sensation.
Recipe #4 – Chamomile & Jojoba Relief Blend
- 8 drops of chamomile essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil
Combine the oils and apply to the rash to reduce redness and soothe irritation.
Recipe #5 – Witch Hazel & Eucalyptus Tonic
- 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
- 50 ml of witch hazel
- Cotton pads
Mix the eucalyptus oil with witch hazel. Dab onto the rash with cotton pads.
Recipe #6 – Helichrysum & Almond Oil Blend
- 5 drops of helichrysum essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil
Mix the helichrysum oil with almond oil. Apply to the rash to aid in skin cell regeneration and healing.
Recipe #7 – Calendula & Geranium Lotion
- 5 drops of geranium essential oil
- 3 tablespoons of calendula cream or lotion
Add geranium oil to calendula cream or lotion. Mix well and apply to soothe and hydrate the skin.
Recipe #8 – Rose & Olive Soothing Blend
- 7 drops of rose essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Combine rose oil with olive oil. Gently massage onto the rash to reduce inflammation and provide relief.
Benefits Of Using Essential Oils For Poison Ivy
Essential oils, which are concentrated plant extracts, have been traditionally used for various ailments, including skin reactions like those caused by poison ivy. Here are the potential benefits of using essential oils for poison ivy:
1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Many essential oils, like lavender and chamomile, possess anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the swelling and redness associated with poison ivy rashes.
2. Soothing And Calming Effects
Oils such as lavender and rose can provide a calming effect on the skin, helping to soothe irritation and itchiness.
3. Antibacterial And Antiseptic Qualities
Some essential oils, like tea tree and eucalyptus, have antibacterial properties that can prevent secondary bacterial infections in open blisters or scratched areas.
4. Promote Skin Healing
Oils like helichrysum and frankincense can support the skin’s natural healing process and might help to reduce the appearance of scars.
5. Natural Pain Relief
Certain oils can provide a cooling effect on the skin, alleviating some of the pain or burning sensations. Peppermint oil, for instance, creates a cooling sensation that can distract from the itch and discomfort.
6. Reduction of Itching
The anti-inflammatory and soothing qualities of some essential oils can help decrease the urge to scratch, reducing the risk of breaking the skin and causing infection.
Essential oils like rose and jojoba can provide moisture to dry, irritated skin, aiding in its recovery.
8. Immune System Support
Some essential oils may bolster the body’s natural defenses, potentially speeding up recovery from skin reactions.
9. Aromatherapeutic Benefits
Beyond just the physical benefits, the aromas of certain essential oils can have calming and stress-reducing effects, which might be beneficial when dealing with the discomfort of a poison ivy rash.
Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy Rash
Dealing with the itchy, uncomfortable rash from poison ivy can be challenging. Fortunately, several natural remedies can provide relief. Here are some options:
1. Aloe Vera
The gel from the aloe plant can soothe the skin, reduce redness, and provide a cooling effect.
2. Oatmeal Bath
How to Use: Grind oatmeal in a blender or food processor to create a fine powder. Add the colloidal oatmeal to a lukewarm bath and soak for about 20 minutes. This can help alleviate itching and soothe the skin.
3. Baking Soda
It can help dry out blisters and provide relief from itching.
How to Use: Mix baking soda with a little water to create a paste and apply it to the affected area.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Some believe that the natural acidity of apple cider vinegar can help neutralize the oils from the poison ivy plant.
How to Use: Dab a little apple cider vinegar onto the rash with a cotton ball.
5. Witch Hazel
It has astringent properties that can soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.
How to Use: Apply witch hazel directly to the affected area using a cotton ball.
6. Cold Compress
Cold can help to numb the affected area, reducing pain and itching.
How to Use: Use a cloth soaked in cold water, wring out the excess, and apply it to the rash. An ice pack wrapped in a cloth works too.
Often found growing near poison ivy in the wild, jewelweed is an age-old remedy for counteracting the effects of poison ivy.
How to Use: Crush the stems of jewelweed to release the juice and apply it to the affected areas.
It can provide a cooling effect on the rash.
How to Use: Slice a cucumber and place the slices directly on the rash or mash them to create a paste and apply.
9. Banana Peel
Some people find relief by rubbing the inside of a banana peel on the rash.
How to Use: Use the inside of the banana peel and gently rub over the rash for a soothing effect.
10. Himalayan or Epsom Salth Bath
These salts can help draw out toxins and reduce inflammation.
How to Use: Add a cup of Himalayan or Epsom salt to a lukewarm bath and soak for about 20 minutes.
Essential Oils for Poison Ivy: Safety and Precautions
Using essential oils for poison ivy can be beneficial, but it’s essential to use them safely and understand the precautions to take. Here’s what you need to know:
- Dilution is Key: Essential oils are highly concentrated and can be potent. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, or almond oil, before applying them to the skin. A general guideline is to use 5-6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil, but this can vary based on the specific oil and the individual’s skin sensitivity.
- Patch Test: Before applying any essential oil blend to a larger area of the skin, especially a sensitive area affected by poison ivy, perform a patch test. Apply a small amount of the diluted essential oil to a discrete area of skin and wait 24 hours to see if any adverse reaction occurs.
- Avoid Sunlight: Some essential oils, especially citrus oils like lemon and bergamot, can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, leading to quicker burns or skin reactions. If you use such oils, stay out of direct sunlight or use sun protection.
- Choose Therapeutic-Grade Oils: The purity and quality of essential oils can vary. Always opt for therapeutic-grade essential oils that don’t contain added fillers or chemicals.
- Store Properly: Keep essential oils in a cool, dark place and out of reach of children. Proper storage can maintain the oil’s potency and ensure safety.
- Avoid Internal Consumption: Even if some essential oils are labeled as food-grade, it’s best to avoid ingesting them unless under the guidance of a trained professional.
- Be Aware of Allergies: Some individuals might be allergic or sensitive to specific essential oils. Always be cautious and consult with a healthcare professional if unsure.
- Avoid Eyes and Mucous Membranes: Essential oils can be irritating to the eyes, inside of the nose, and other sensitive areas. If an essential oil comes into contact with these areas, rinse immediately with a carrier oil, not water.
- Pregnancy and Nursing: Some essential oils are not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using essential oils during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
In conclusion, essential oils offer a natural avenue for relief from the itching, inflammation, and discomfort associated with poison ivy exposure. These concentrated plant extracts, such as lavender, tea tree, peppermint, and chamomile, among others, possess anti-inflammatory, soothing, antibacterial, and healing properties that can be beneficial for skin affected by poison ivy.
However, it’s imperative to approach their use with caution. Proper dilution with carrier oils, conducting patch tests, and being aware of potential sun sensitivity are just a few safety measures to consider. Not everyone will have the same reaction to an essential oil, so it’s essential to be attentive to one’s body and its responses.