Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac Relief


I’m one of those people who is extra allergic to poison ivy and its relatives, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten through a Lancaster County summer without a bout or two of the miserable rash. In my 2+ decades of dealing with this little fiend, I’ve tested and tried nearly every product on the market, natural and conventional alike, for relief. If you’re a fellow sufferer, this post is for you to pin or bookmark for when you need it. These are the remedies I’ve found most effective.

  1. Gold Bond® Anti-Itch Lotion is by far the best itch relief cream out there. If you are susceptible to poison rashes or even just bug bites, you HAVE to have this in your medicine cabinet. Anything else, calamine or otherwise, doesn’t come close to the relief this offers. And the aloe in it is cooling, which is a huge added benefit.
  2. Apple cider vinegar is the second thing that’s absolutely necessary for me to have on hand for treating this kind of thing. When my hand was covered with the blisters the other week, between my fingers and the worst right around my wedding rings (which I made the mistake of not removing while I had the chance), I had my hand soaking in a bowl of ACV every chance I got.
  3. Two years ago I discovered how good a simple paste of baking soda and water felt. The baking soda really seemed to draw out the itch/burn. Only problem with this method is that it gets really messy as it dries. I just kept the vacuum cleaner closeby to sweep up the area I was sitting in.
  4. This year for the first time I had essential oils to put to the test. Purification seemed to help a bit, though Lavender and the other options listed in my reference book didn’t seem to do much for me at all. I was also washing my hands frequently with my Thieves hand soap, and my hand cleared up faster than any of the other areas, so I’m sure that was good for it as well.

The Gold Bond lotion and the apple cider vinegar are my primary absolute must-haves. As long as I have access to those two, I can survive the worst case of the awful stuff. What about you — is there some potion or remedy you’ve found to be magical for treating a poison ivy reaction?

8 thoughts on “Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac Relief

  1. Great post! My children are especially susceptible to these plants’ effects so I’ll definitely take your recommendations into consideration. Thanks for the advice!

  2. Melanie, Would you like to test a new product I formulated for Natural Hope Herbals? It works from the inside by supporting your body’s ability to deal with toxins on the skin.

  3. I always managed to get a bad case of poison ivy, as well, until I started washing all areas exposed with alcohol, and now I can even pull it out when I see it in my gardens, unharmed! I keep a bottle several places so I don’t forget to use it when I’m last minute pulling a few weeds. One time this year, I forgot to rub the alcohol between my fingers, and guess what appeared….that ugly, itchy rash!

    • Well that’s handy! Unfortunately I never realize I’ve been exposed to it until AFTER the rash shows up. Last time I figured out that I must have gotten it from Caleb, since he was around it while cutting down a tree, and though he’s not allergic, the other guys working on it got covered in it. I probably got it from his clothes. I have another bout just starting now, and I have no idea where I got it. 😛

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