poison ivy leaves

7 Essential Oils for Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac

Summertimes are outing times. If you are not careful during all fun and frolic you may sometimes end up with poison ivy rashes.

Poison ivy exudes urushiol oils that cause allergic reaction when it comes in contact with your skin. In some cases the reaction can be severe with too much itching, swelling and inflammation.

Other plants that behave in the same way are poison oak and sumac.

Most cases of these can be dealt with natural home remedies. Essential oils for poison ivy rashes have shown excellent results in terms of soothing the pain and healing fast.

Table of Contents

What is Poison Ivy Rash?

Poison Ivy ( Toxicodendron radicans and Toxicodendron rydbergii) grows as a vine or shrub on the riverbanks, roadsides, open fields, woods, parks and in backyards throughout North America.

An oily resin called urushiol found in poison ivy, oak or sumac leaves, stems, flowers and roots causes the rashes when comes in contact with your skin.

Touching the plant can cause rashes. Even a small salt grain size of urushiol will cause rashes.


You can get direct contact with poison ivy or the through the urushiol contamination left on pets fur, tools, clothing and other surfaces. If these plants are burned then the urushiol can be airborne. It not only affects your skin but your lungs also.

Interestingly the first time exposure doesn't cause rashes but the repetitive exposures cause sensitivity and rashes.

Symptoms of Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac Rashes

The urushiol in these plants will produce the following symptoms within the 12-72 hours of contact on your skin

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Outbreak of blisters

Depending on the quantum of exposure to the skin these rashes will develop. Larger exposure will produce more severe rashes.

These rashes are not contagious.

It takes about 1-3 weeks for the rashes to heal.

You can reduce the itching and heal poison ivy rashes quicker with home remedies like essential oils and others.

7 Essential Oils for Poison Ivy Rashes

Since the urushiol gets quickly absorbed in the skin it is important to quickly rinse the affected area with water and soap. This reduces the concentration and rashes formed will be less severe.

essential oils for poison ivy infographic

Following essential oils will help you to reduce itching and heal poison ivy rashes fast

1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil offers multiple benefits to your skin. With its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal capabilities it is one of the best home remedies for poison ivy rashes. It not only reduces inflammations but also prevents possible infection and reduces pain.

How to use it?

It is a concentrated oil so use it with a carrier oil.

  • Rinse your affected skin with water
  • Take one teaspoon of coconut oil
  • Add 4-5 drops of tea tree oil and mix well
  • Apply on the affected are with a cotton ball

Do it 2-3 times a day.

2. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Menthol in eucalyptus oil helps to numb the pain. This is a big advantage over other essential oils. It cools the area and pain disappears instantly. It works with aloe vera gel to deal with poison ivy rashes.

How to use it?

  • Add 2-3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a teaspoon of aloe vera gel
  • Mix well and apply on the rashes
  • Do it 2-3 times daily

3. Helichrysum Oil

Helichrysum essential oil helps to reduce pain and inflammation. It possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Like other essential oils it is very useful in soothing and healing poison ivy rashes.

How to use it?

  • Add 2-3 drops of helichrysum oil to a teaspoon of coconut oil
  • Mix well
  • Apply on the rashes
  • Repeat 2-33 or more times daily


4. Lavender Oil

Lavender essential oil is one of your good help in dealing with skin problems including poison ivy rashes. It has strong antiseptic and anti-inflammatory to soothe and heal the rashes. It provides almost instant relief from the feeling of itch.

How to use it?

Lavender oil is mild on skin. You can use it directly. Use a carrier oil like coconut oil or Aloe vera gel to apply.

  • Take. Teaspoon if aloe vera gel
  • Add 10 drops of lavender Essential oil and mix well.
  • Apply on the poison ivy affected area of skin
  • Repeat the application twice daily.

5. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint Essential oil is a versatile oil for all kinds of rashes whether caused by poison ivy oak or sumac or by bed bug bites and other unidentified sources. It instantly soothes the itch and heals it fast.

How to use it?

  • Add 3-4 drops of peppermint essential oil to a teaspoon of coconut oil or Aloe vera gel
  • Mix well
  • Apply on the rashes
  • Do it 3 times daily

6. Myrrh Oil

Myrrh oil is a popular essential oil with wide applications ranging from bug bites, minor cuts and burns and rashes caused by poison ivy, oak and sumac vines, shrubs and trees.

How to use it?

  • Take a teaspoon of coconut oil or Aloe vera gel
  • Add 2-3 drops of myrrh oil and mix well
  • Apply on the rashes
  • Repeat twice daily

7. Cypress Essential Oil

When you get itch you have a tendency to scratch. This can give rise to secondary infection. Cypress essential oil has powerful antiseptic capabilities. Like most other essential oils it also possess anti-inflammatory capabilities to soothe the itch and pain.

How to use it?

  • Add 4-5 drops of Cypress essential oil to a teaspoon of coconut oil
  • Mix well
  • Apply with cotton swab on the poison ivy rashes
  • Do it 2-3 times daily

Essential Oil Spray

It is useful to make an essential oil spray and keep it handy during summer months. When you visit the suspected area where poison ivy contact may occur, you can use this spray instantly to soothe the itch.

How to make it?

The most basic but very powerful spray can be made with a mix of essential oils as under

  • Take 100ml distilled water in a cup
  • Add 15-20 drops of essential oils of your choice (lavender, tea tree and peppermint oils for example) in equal.or carrying amounts.
  • Mix well and transfer to a spray bottle
  • Spritz on the rashes

You can keep the spray bottle in your first aid box for future use.

Precautions and Tips

Take following precautions if you suspect coming in contact with poison ivy, oak or sumac

  • Rinse affected area of skin immediately with soap and water
  • Use only 100% pure and high quality essential oils
  • Never directly use concentrated essential oils on your skin. Use carrier oils to dilute them before using on your skin
  • Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding woman before applying Essential oils.
  • Always store essential oils in dark bottles in cool dry and dark area.
  • Don't use any essential oil to which you are allergic.

If you act in poison ivy rashes early with essential oils then you will not only get relief but heal your rashes faster.