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3 Simple Home Remedies That Instantly Take the Itch Out of Poison Ivy Rashes


Whether you’re enjoying a family camping trip or simply out for a summer stroll, poison ivy can sneak up and cause some seriously itchy issues. Luckily, there are some simple home remedies that can quickly soothe poison ivy rashes.

The painful red splotches are caused by an allergic reaction to oil called urushiol. It’s found in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. If you bump into it, you can minimize the chance of annoying symptoms by washing any exposed area with soap and water as fast as possible. 

Unfortunately, it’s common to not realize your skin came into contact with the oil until a rash shows up. The FDA explains that it can take anywhere between a few hours to a few days for the itchy evidence to appear. Over the counter anti-itch creams, lotions, and oral antihistamines can be helpful — but if you’ve run out of those or are just looking for more natural options, there are a few home remedies that work just as well. In fact, you might find one that works even better than the stuff you get from the drugstore! 

Does apple cider vinegar work on poison ivy?

The more appropriate question might actually be: Is there anything apple cider vinegar can’t do? This kitchen staple is great for everything from cooking and cleaning to boosting our beauty routine and reaching our weight loss goals

So it should come as no surprise to learn that, yep, good old ACV works wonders for treating poison ivy rashes, too! However, there is one caveat: The acidic and astringent nature of vinegar might irritate super inflamed spots, so it’s a good idea to dilute it in a three to one mixture with water before dabbing it on your skin. It will help dry up any lingering oil and instantly soothe the itchy feeling. 

Is baking soda good for poison ivy?

Baking soda is another multipurpose miracle worker that helps keep our home clean, makes meals extra tasty, nixes beauty bothers, and eases poison ivy irritation.  

You just need to create a paste with three parts baking soda to one part water. It might be a little messy and gloopy, but you can apply a thick layer onto a rash to quickly quell the pain and itchiness. Let it dry out completely (which extracts the oil) and flake off on its own, or rinse it off with warm water after a while if that gets annoying. Try to give it at least 30 minutes to work its itch-neutralizing magic.

What is the best essential oil for poison ivy?

Several essential oils can help take the sting out of poison ivy rashes. Just keep in mind that you should never apply them directly onto your skin without diluting them, especially on already sensitive skin — you don’t want to end up making things worse! Adding a few drops to water, lotion, or a carrier oil will get the job done. 

Chamomile oil (Buy on Amazon, $13.99) is a particularly calming choice. In fact, a 2012 study found it to be more effective at easing itchy, inflamed skin than over-the-counter hydrocortisone products. You can also try lavender oil (Buy on Amazon, $6.95), which has been shown to relieve pain while repairing skin ailments at a cellular level. Tea tree oil (Buy on Amazon, $7.49) is another helpful one with antimicrobial properties that ward off infection as skin heals. 

Of course, the absolute best remedy for poison ivy rashes is avoiding the plants that cause them in the first place! Take a look at the FDA’s video below to refresh your memory on how to identify (and steer clear of) poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac:

We hope no one has to deal with any itchy poison ivy rashes — but if it does happen, these soothing home remedies will definitely come in handy. 

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