Font Size
A
A
A

Poison Ivy, Oak, or Sumac: Barrier Lotions and Creams


Topic Overview

If you know you will be working around poison ivy, oak, or sumac, you may think about using a barrier cream or lotion. This will help prevent the plant oil (urushiol) from contacting your skin and causing a rash (allergic contact dermatitisClick here to see an illustration.).

  • Less than 1 hour before contact with the plant, apply the product in a thick, complete layer.
  • Wash the product off thoroughly within 4 hours (preferably as soon as possible) after contact with the plants. The product only delays the penetration of the urushiol.
  • For continued protection, reapply the product every 4 hours.

Products containing bentoquatam (Ivy Block) have been shown to be highly effective in preventing the rash and reducing its severity.1 Ivy Block should not be used on children younger than age 6 or by anyone who already has a rash from the poison ivy, oak, or sumac plants. Other products that may help protect against a rash include Hollister Moisture Barrier, Hydropel, and IvyX. You can get these products without a prescription.

Barrier creams and lotions do not completely protect against getting a poison ivy rash.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Gladman AC (2006). Toxicodendron dermatitis: Poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, 17(2): 120–128.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedAugust 30, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.



NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD


Medical Dictionary