Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy, and Poison Oak

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Last week I wrote about my trip to Hocking Hills. We had an especially good time hiking at Rock Bridge. My niece and nephew are so fun to play with. We get up to all kinds of antics – racing, jumping, toads- often they end up on our shoulders. I wouldn’t trade these memories for the world, even knowing my face would soon boil up into that dreaded rash.

One day after our trip, my face started to itch. What began as the size of a mosquito bite continued to spread wide across my cheek, sprinkle its way along my chin and land with a few specks on the other side. To get super personal, the poison ivy even showed up in a secret area of my body that could be compared to a peach, I’m sure you can imagine my horror.

While steroids are an option for some people in treating poison ivy, I try to save them as a last resort. Steroids do not make me feel good, and contradict my desire to keep unnatural substances from my body. If my poison ivy had become dangerous I would have gone to urgent care. In this case, it was manageable on my own. No puss was oozing, the rash had not reached my eyes, it had not spread to other areas through an infected blood stream. I decided to treat this poison ivy case with my faithful remedies that have served us for many summers.

Do not itch is rule number 1! Rule number 2, keep it cool and clean. Take a break from your regular products and allow yourself to heal. Use these remedies to heal quickly and fight the itch.

Jewelweed Soap Wash

I’m convinced Jewelweed soap is the reason I am not itchy every summer. It has changed Jonathan’s life too. Jewelweed is a plant that grows near poison ivy as a natural antidote. This can be made into soaps that fight off the poisonous oil and wash them down the drain. We keep jewelweed soap in our shower and scrub thoroughly with it after each outdoor project or adventure. I like to buy this at my local farmers market from Earth in Arts, but Amazon also has a good option.

The key is to wash up a few hours after contact. I believe I got poison ivy during my latest Hocking Hills adventure. My nieces and nephew spent some time on my shoulders and I’m thinking a contaminated shoe swiped my face pretty good. This was in the early morning and I didn’t clean up with Jewelweed soap until late that evening. Rookie mistake!

Jewelweed Soap Paste

If you are an unfortunate like me and find that poison ivy is bubbling, you will need help with the itch. I like to get my hands wet and turn the soap around in my hands. This creates a foamy paste to spread over the poison ivy. Letting it dry right on the itchy areas cools the itch and helps the healing process.

Hyland’s Poison Ivy/ Poison Oak Tablets

I keep a few bottles of these in our home at all times. When Jonathan and I were first marred, he survived summers with these special tablets. We seem to need them less often now that we have Jewelweed soap, but I don’t ever want to be caught without it. These tablets help to dry the poison ivy from the inside out. It also fights the itch! I take these tablets as directed for about 5 days, or until the poison ivy appears to be fading away.

Packaging use to be red, but this is still the same product.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This treatment is powerful, but it’s also servere. I like to take a very hot shower that opens the pores and awakens the poison ivy. The hot water on the poison ivy keeps the area clean from infection, and honestly gives relief the way a good scratching would. When I am done showering I use a clean cotton pad to wipe apple cider vinegar on the infected areas. Since the pores are wide open, this does create an intense burning sensation.

Jonathan isn’t a fan of this method because it makes the skin irritated for a short time, but I really like it. ACV soaks in the skin and fights the poison rash. It dries out the area, and acts as a natural cleanser. the area scabs up more, but I’d rather have the scabs than wait longer to heal.

Gruesome, but you can see the rash is drying.

Scrub and Moisturize

After about a week my face was healing nicely. The itch was gone and I was left with the scabs of the rash. This is when I switched from the gentle jewelweed soap to a favorite scrub wash. This helped to remove the flaky dead skin. After the wash, I used a deep moisturizer to hydrate and protect the new skin.

Two weeks later my skin on my face and in my secret area is fresh and as good as new. This experience won’t stop me from grand summer adventures, I’ll just be sure to have Jewel Soap ready to go in my pack.

We will keep posting chemical free products and natural remedies. Follow us on Instagram @GreenGurneys or like our Green Gurneys Facebook page to see our outdoor adventures. Tag us in your own adventures so we can explore with you.

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