Itch antidote: The best essential oils for poison ivy
Nature is full of hidden dangers. Poison ivy is one of these, and if you’ve ever accidentally touched this plant or anything it's contaminated, you’ll know just how much harm it can cause.
But nature is an incredible healer too.
It turns out that the antidote to a poison ivy rash is found in the plant kingdom. Better yet, you don't have to go scrounging around in a forest to find it. The best essential oils for poison ivy are readily available and easy to use - when you know how.
Find out how you can take the sting out of poison ivy the natural way, and you’ll never have to worry about the potent powers of this vicious plant again.
- Why does poison ivy sting?
- What is the best essential oil for poison ivy?
- Chamomile and/or Helichrysum
- Tea Tree
- How to use essential oils for poison ivy
- Herbal wash/Topical gel
- Topical tea
- Cooling spray
- Scientific findings
- Tea tree oil’s value as a dermatological tool
- Cypress essential oil’s efficacy as a disinfectant
- Myrrh essential oil can be used to treat pain and swelling
- Essential oils’ antibacterial and antifungal properties
- Eucalyptus oil’s microbial properties
- Blends of the best essential oils for poison ivy
- Poison ivy relief topical ointment
- Soothe your skin bath blend
- What is poison ivy?
- What essential oils are good for poison ivy?
- Does using essential oils on poison ivy rashes actually work?
- How should I use essential oils for poison ivy?
- How many times a day can I use essential oils?
- Are essential oils safe for babies, children, and pets?
- Essential oils are up to scratch
Why does poison ivy sting?
Poison ivy’s flowers, leaves, roots, and stems contain urushiol. This is an oil compound that many people are allergic to and it causes itchy, painful rashes if they come into contact with any part of the plant.
The bad news is that the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and higher temperatures becoming a reality globally are stimulating the growth of poison ivy. The good news is that negative reactions to urushiol can be mitigated by using the best essential oils for poison ivy.
What is the best essential oil for poison ivy?
There are actually several essential oils that can help with poison ivy. They all have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. However, it is suggested that you stick to the best essential oils for poison ivy... and avoid others!
Citrus-based oils like bergamot essential oil, grapefruit, lemon, lime and orange, have their own advantages but are not recommended in this instance. They can contribute to photosensitivity and may burn skin that is already inflamed.
Essential oils have been shown to help with skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, shingles, sunburn and warts. You don’t need to purchase all these recommended essential oils for poison ivy at once, although that certainly wouldn’t hurt. Focus instead on finding one that works for you, or several, and then use them alone or blended together. Choose from:
You can use calendula essential oil to promote healing of all types of skin issues, including cuts, wounds and the kind of ulcers poison ivy can cause. You may recognise the name of this oil because it’s used in so many anti-scarring gels and creams. It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antiseptic.
Chamomile and/or Helichrysum
Chamomile essential oil is as gentle on your skin as it is powerful. It is an excellent choice for healing from poison ivy exposure and may also reduce your chances of scarring as they boost skin cell renewal.
Chamomile contains potent antioxidants like phytochemicals and polyphenols. Not only will they work to reduce your poison ivy discomfort, but they may also reduce signs of ageing by protecting your skin from free radical damage.
An amazing choice for rehydrating your skin, eucalyptus essential oil will prevent damaged skin from getting dry and help reduce blistering, all of which are symptoms of the later stages of an allergic reaction to poison ivy.
Use eucalyptus oil consistently on the inflamed areas of your body and you may benefit from a relief of the itchiness this condition fosters. Its anti-inflammatory properties will soothe the skin and promote quicker healing.
Geranium is fantastic for your skin in many ways, but it truly comes to the fore when you’re dealing with allergic reactions.
Geranium essential oil is an antiallergenic, reducing inflammation because it prevents your body from releasing additional histamines. By doing this, it stabilises the immune system and eases how it’s reacting to the perceived threat.
With a well-earned reputation as one of the most versatile oils, lavender may help soothe even the most inflamed areas of your skin. Lavender essential oil lowers inflammation and reduces discomfort and pain.
Along with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, lavender can also be useful in treating depression, anxiety, insomnia and restlessness.
Myrrh is a very popular treatment for inflammation and pain and may also be one of the best essential oils for poison ivy. It is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, so it will help with the swelling and pain commonly associated with poison ivy.
Its earthy, warm scent is pleasant, and it can help to kill harmful bacteria and parasites.
The reason peppermint essential oil smells as cool as it feels is that it contains menthol. This organic compound triggers your skin’s cold-sensitive receptors. This is the relief you’ll crave when you’re red and itchy.
This oil also lowers pain levels by keeping your nerves in check, ensuring they don’t become over-responsive to stimulants.
Truly adaptable, tea tree essential oil can do wonders for your skin in general.
The reason it’s one of the answers for what essential oil is good for poison ivy is that it will ensure the affected area will not get further inflamed or infected. Using this antifungal oil may help prevent your rash from getting worse or spreading.
How to use essential oils for poison ivy
There are multiple ways to use essential oils to deal with painful poison ivy rashes. Standard essential oil use usually requires that they be diluted with a carrier oil, but, when using them to treat poison ivy, this is not always the case. Be aware that this is the exception to the rule, however, and you should never allow essential oils to come into direct contact with your skin if they’ve not been diluted in some way.
Read on to find out how to treat poison ivy using high-quality concentrated plant extracts.
Herbal wash/Topical gel
You will need to dilute your essential oil for poison ivy with distilled water or aloe vera gel to make a wash or gel. The final dilution will need to be no more than 2% or between 10 and 12 drops per ounce of aloe or water.
It’s not recommended to use carrier oils in this case, although this is a rare approach. In the case of poison ivy, carrier oils may trap the heat inside your skin.
With this method, you will create a topical tea with your essential oil for poison ivy with which you will wash the affected area with essential oils that are anti-inflammatory. This may reduce itchiness, calm the rash and could even speed up the healing process.
Following the dilution rule of no more than 2%, add your essential oils to hot water, stir it and then wait for your mixture to cool enough to sit on your skin. Soak a towel with the steeped liquid and gently apply it to the affected area.
Fill a spray bottle with a diluted mixture of ice-cold water and your chosen essential oils (peppermint is a great cooling choice here) and spray it onto your rash for relief.
The scientific sector is increasingly uncovering evidence to support many of the beneficial claims people make about the use of essential oils. Although no research has specifically tested the effectiveness of essential oils in treating skin reactions to poison ivy, we know which ones will be best based on what research has already discovered about their effects on various skin conditions.
Tea tree oil’s value as a dermatological tool
Tea tree essential oil is packed with the kind of anti-inflammatory properties that could bring you great relief from poison ivy. The rash caused by this plant is a kind of allergic contact dermatitis, and research tells us that tea tree oil is an excellent treatment for this condition.
Tea tree is, without a doubt, one of the best essential oils for poison ivy.
Cypress essential oil’s efficacy as a disinfectant
Cypress essential oil has been found to heal abrasions, cuts and wounds on the skin very effectively. It may be effective when you’re suffering through an allergic reaction to poison ivy because it kills bacteria which could speed up your healing time.
Myrrh essential oil can be used to treat pain and swelling
People have been turning to myrrh essential oil for its healing properties for centuries now as it is excellent at relieving soreness and swelling. This makes it a brilliant option for treating poison ivy rashes in their early stages.
Not only will myrrh essential oil work as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, but it is also a great antibacterial. This is why it’s viewed as one of the best essential oils for poison ivy.
Essential oils’ antibacterial and antifungal properties
In this 2017 study, arborvitae, clove, oregano and thyme essential oils were found to possess significant disinfectant and antimycotic effects. Exposure to poison ivy commonly causes bacterial infections by Staphylococcus as well as fungal infections which, while rare, may occur, making these oils a good choice for treating the allergy.
Eucalyptus oil’s microbial properties
After testing various essential oils as a treatment for dermatological diseases, it was found that eucalyptus oil in particular may be useful in treating some of the symptoms of poison ivy. It proved to be effective against bacterial infections, blisters, inflammation and insect bites, and it accelerated healing.
The same review of studies also found tea tree, lavender, chamomile and myrrh, among some others, to help speed up wound healing when used topically.
Blends of the best essential oils for poison ivy
As essential oils are such a fantastic alternative to over-the-counter gels and creams for rashes, they’re enjoying a major surge in popularity. With research and respected medical institutions increasingly finding that they work very well in treating a range of issues, it’s natural that more people are seeking them out.
Additionally, as effective as using essential oils on their own may be, blending them together can increase their benefits. Combining the good results of one essential oil with another can support each of their actions, creating a synergy that helps them work more powerfully together than alone. Here are two DIY blends you can create to keep handy or in your first aid kit on the off chance that you, a friend or family member stumble into some poison ivy.
Poison ivy relief topical ointment
Mix together one teaspoon each of aloe vera juice or gel, apple cider vinegar and witch hazel. Then it’s time to add the essential oil for poison ivy: 1 drop each of lavender, peppermint, Roman chamomile and tea tree oil.
Mix well and apply the solution with a clean cotton swab as required to help soothe a fresh poison ivy rash. As your rash begins to heal and the heat is gone, you can add 1 tablespoon of fractionated coconut oil and an extra drop of each essential oil above to continue promoting healing of the skin.
Soothe your skin bath blend
Mix a cup each of bicarbonate of soda and oats and a half cup of powdered milk together in a blender, reducing the combination to a fine powder. Then add 12 drops each of lavender and Roman chamomile essential oil and mix everything together once more.
Run a lukewarm bath and add a quarter cup of your remedy to the water, pouring it under running water so it gets properly dispersed. While you’re soaking in it, stir the water occasionally to ensure it doesn’t settle on the bottom of the bath.
What is poison ivy?
Poison ivy is a plant that many people are allergic to. It can cause an itchy red rash on your skin when you come into contact with the urushiol the plant contains.
What essential oils are good for poison ivy?
Chamomile, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, peppermint and tea tree oils used on their own or together can be helpful against poison ivy rashes.
Does using essential oils on poison ivy rashes actually work?
Although research on using essential oils on poison ivy rashes is scarce, certain essential oils have powerful and proven effects on the skin and various skin issues and wounds, backed both by research and historical use for skin concerns and wound healing. We’ve recommended the best in this category here.
How should I use essential oils for poison ivy?
By diluting them with distilled water or aloe vera, you can create mists, rinses, cooling gels and creams, or use them as a soak in the bath.
How many times a day can I use essential oils?
It depends on how you’re using them. The rules will change according to your particular tolerance levels and whether you’re applying them or diffusing them. A few times a day should be fine.
Are essential oils safe for babies, children, and pets?
In certain cases, even the best essential oils for poison ivy are not safe for the entire household. Be sure to check before using any one of them. The best rule of thumb is to never apply essential oils topically to a child or pet in an area where they could ingest it accidentally. Refer to our handbooks on essential oils for children and pets for more information.
Essential oils are up to scratch
The relentless itching, discomfort and pain that poison ivy can cause is terrible. If you’re allergic to this plant, you will suffer from blisters, redness and swelling. But knowing how to naturally manage your symptoms will make a huge difference.
When essential oil compounds are inhaled, scent molecules travel directly from your olfactory nerves to the brain. There they have a significant impact on your emotional centre, the amygdala. If you’re using them topically on your skin, they can be absorbed that way as well.
As always, nature is also the antidote to its poison. Using essential oils for poison ivy is a natural way to counteract the effects of this plant. Volant has 100% organic all natural oils that can take out the itch, reduce swelling and help combat the other nasty effects of poison ivy without having to rely on toxic chemicals. All of our oils and blends are additive and chemical-free, giving you the maximum benefits of nature’s goodness.
Stop the itch in its tracks with the best essential oils for poison ivy and let nature do its healing work.