Essential Oils for Poison Ivy
You’ve no doubt heard about aromatherapy.
This ancient holistic therapy is known to be useful for a wide variety of different ailments, and the oils which are used within it, essential oils, hold the key.
Aromatherapy dates back to around Ancient Egyptian times, but maybe even before that!
It’s taken until now for healthcare professionals to really take the therapy seriously, but they’re still remains a few doubts over the amount of effectiveness which aromatherapy can bring for specific ailments.
Studies and research remains ongoing, but what we do know is that the use of essential oils can be extremely beneficial for certain problems, to a certain degree.
If you want to go down the natural route for solving certain problems, aromatherapy and essential oils could be the way forward.
One reputed benefit of essential oils is for a reaction to the poison ivy plant.
What Are Essential Oils Exactly?
Essential oils are completely natural and are derived from natural plants, trees, and flowers.
The oil is known as the ‘essence’ of the plant, hence the name, and it is extracted from the tree, plant, or flower via a very careful process.
There are several different extraction processes, with steam extraction being the most common.
Each oil has its own ‘best practice’ for extraction, and this ensures that the oil isn’t spoiled or affected in any way when you use it for whatever ailment you’re trying to improve, be it a reaction to the poison ivy plant, or something else entirely.
The most common benefits of essential oils are thought to be:
- Improving problems with sleep, e.g. insomnia
- Anxiety and stress reduction
- Low mood and depression reduction
- Helping to improve nausea
- Assisting with the side effects of chemotherapy treatment
- Helping with allergies in certain cases
- Reducing sore throats, colds, and flu symptoms
- Studies have shown some essential oils to help with certain skin diseases
The list goes on, and the more studies that are conducted, the more we will know for sure about the effectiveness of essential oils in helping the above problems, and others that perhaps we haven’t discovered yet.
There are countless essential oils out there, so it’s important to do your research into which oil is best for the ailment you’re trying to treat.
What is Poison Ivy?
Poison ivy is a plant that you have no doubt come across before, but it has the potential to cause a nasty skin reaction if you touch it.
The plant contains a compound called urushiol, and many people are allergic to it.
If you are one of those people and you touch the plant, be it the leaves, flowers, or the stems, you could find yourself with a reaction.
The most common type of reaction to poison ivy is a skin irritation, usually redness, soreness, swelling, and the formation of blisters.
This is called contact dermatitis and can be extremely uncomfortable.
Using essential oils for poison ivy irritation requires more research into the amount of effectiveness, but studies have shown essential oils to be useful in contact dermatitis generally.
You should always ensure you dilute any essential oil you use topically on your skin, with a carrier oil.
We will talk in a little more detail shortly about how to use essential oils for poison ivy irritation, but first we need to identify the specific oils that you should use, in order to find relief from your discomfort.
The Best Essential Oils For Poison Ivy Irritation
As we mentioned earlier, there are countless essential oils you can buy, and some are easier to source than others.
For instance, lavender essential oil is available extremely widely and you will have no problem finding it on the High Street.
However, some other oils are a little harder to find and will require purchasing online.
Always shop around to ensure you get a good quality essential oil, opting for organic wherever possible.
This may be a little more expensive, but you know that you’re getting a pure product which has nothing false added in.
This also ensures that your reaction to the oil will be positive, and not negative.
Overall, the essential oils for poison ivy relief are shown below.
Calendula Essential Oil
You might hear calendula oil referred to as marigold oil, but these are one and the same thing.
Calendula oil is derived from a flower which has been used throughout history for helping with various ailments, and skin irritation due to dermatitis is one of them.
After using the oil you should notice that the redness abates and the soreness is less.
Chamomile Essential Oil
For many years, chamomile lotion has been used for skin irritation, and most notably for children with chicken pox irritation.
However, the essential oil is ideal for soothing the irritation caused by contact dermatitis from poison ivy.
A calming oil, applying chamomile to the skin (diluted with a carrier oil) may help to reduce soreness, redness, and itchiness.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil is often used to help with stuffy notes and cold symptoms, but it contains powerful antibacterial and hydrating properties, which may help to reduce the soreness of contact dermatitis.
In most cases, you will find the biggest benefit after the initial soreness of the rash has abated, and you’re left with dry skin.
The hydrating effects of the eucalyptus oil will help to rehydrate and soften the affected skin.
Lavender Essential Oil
A great all-rounder oil, lavender is very easy to find and one which you will be able to use for a wide variety of different ailments.
Most notably used for relaxation, calming anxiety, and helping with sleep issues, lavender oil may also help with the soreness of contact dermatitis, due to exposure to poison ivy.
Lavender oil contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which will bring down the swelling and help the skin to heal, reducing pain at the same time.
Juniper Essential Oil
Juniper might not be one of the most commonly used essential oils, but it has long been hailed for its ability to help with certain skin problems, especially skin issues which bring about itching and soreness.
Juniper oil contains powerful antimicrobial powers and this can help reduce any swelling or inflammation, encourage healing, and give a boost to the immune system, helping to reduce the chance of infection.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil is a powerful and popular option, and one which is often seen in skin care products.
This oil is quite potent, so should certainly be used with care, but when diluted with a carrier oil, it can help to speed up healing and help with the itchiness of the reaction.
Tea tree oil is also antimicrobial, so it will help to prevent infection at the same time.
Studies have shown tea tree oil to be one of the most useful essential oils for treating contact dermatitis.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Most commonly known for helping with digestive issues, peppermint oil is also a very useful option for skin problems.
As with many other oils, peppermint oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce the swelling of the poison ivy rash, and also contains analgesic powers.
How to Use Essential Oils Safely
Now we know which oils to use for a poison ivy reaction, thanks to the nasty effects of contact dermatitis, we now need to cover how to use them safely.
Just because essential oils come from plants, flowers, and trees, that doesn’t mean their natural elements make them any less powerful or potentially dangerous.
Essential oils are very potent and need to be used in the right way, in order to avoid further problems and further irritation.
You should never ingest any type of essential oil, and the only ways you should ever use them is via inhalation (breathing in the aroma) or applied topically to the skin, when diluted with a carrier oil.
Ingesting a carrier oil puts you at risk of severe complications, including burning and extreme irritation to the mouth, throat, and digestive system.
Inhalation of essential oils is not going to be particularly useful for a skin complaint, such as poison ivy rash.
The best way to use essential oils for this problem is via topical application to the skin, i.e. directly.
You should always dilute your chosen essential oils with a carrier oil. This means you’ll be getting extra benefits, because carrier oils have their own plus points too.
Some of the most common carrier oils include olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and grapeseed oil.
Some those you might already have in your kitchen or bathroom cabinets!
Dilution helps to reduce the chances of you developing an irritation from the essential oils itself – not something you want if you already have a rather painful poison ivy rash to deal with!
However, you should aways do a patch test before treating your poison ivy reaction with essential oils, because some people are allergic to certain oils.
Simply apply the mixture of oils to a piece of skin which isn’t irritated by the original rash, and watch what happens.
Once you have done your patch test and diluted your oil, you’re free to use it to treat your contact dermatitis rash.
The most common way is by making a compress and applying this directly to the area.
Dilute your essential oil with your carrier oil, add five drops of the mixture to a cup of water (warm, not hot), stir well and then soak a cloth and apply to the skin.
The ratio of essential oil to carrier oil depends on the oil itself and the strength you want, so this is something you will need to research ahead of time.
We can’t give exact information here, as one size does not fit all!
Of course, you should always seek medical help if you find that your rash worsens or doesn’t improve.
Poison ivy irritation on the whole isn’t serious, although it is uncomfortable. However,
if your rash is extreme painful, begins to spread, blisters become larger and more painful, or you have any anaphylaxis symptoms, such as swelling of the face, throat, or difficulty breathing, seek urgent medical attention at once.
These effects are extremely rare, however poison ivy is something which many people are highly allergic to, so watching for symptoms that seem to be severe or progressing is a must do.
Essential oils are extremely useful for a variety of different health problems, and whilst they are still under investigation in terms of exactly what they’re useful for and how useful, the results of studies so far are extremely hopeful.
Nowadays you will find many health centres which offer aromatherapy on site, usually to help with the side effects of chemotherapy treatment, or even for antenatal women.
Of course, you should always speak to your doctor before use if you have any specific health problems already, or you are taking any medications.
There aren’t a huge amount of known contraindications when it comes to essential oil use, but there isn’t enough evidence to suggest there aren’t any either.
As a result, it’s important to seek medical advice, just to be on the safe side.
You should also shop carefully for your specific oil. There is very little relegation in terms of what can and can’t be sold, and that means you could purchase an oil which had very little content of natural ingredients, and therefore waste your money for little benefit.
It’s far better to find a high quality essential oil product, even that means spending a little extra cash.
At least in this case you know that you will gain benefit for the money you’ve spent, and you’re in far safer hands as a result.
If you have any concerns about using essential oils, have a chat with your doctor.
More and more healthcare professionals are now opening up to the idea of using this holistic therapy, and they will be able to advise you in greater detail.