Cures for Poison Ivy Rashes
There are in fact many things you can do to make the situation better. Here are a collection of cures to help you get through your rash.
Poison Ivy Cures, Help and Information
Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Lots of Water
The most important thing here is that your body thinks it is fighting off an infection. You need to stay as healthy as possible to give it that ability. Take your vitamins. Drink lots of water. Vitamin C and E especially help with skin repair. No matter what else you do, give your body the raw materials it needs to do skin repair.
Hot Water / Hot Air
Skin nerves are funny things. They have a "ranking" of signals they carry. If they get a more important signal, they will ignore the less important signal. So right now your rash nerve cells are sending "itch! itch!" messages. That's a relatively unimportant signal. If you convince your body that some HEAT danger is present, it will quickly change over to be sending "HOT! HOT!" signals and forget all about the itch. The aim here is of course to get the nerves to change their tune WITHOUT actually burning yourself :)
So trick #1 is to use the hair dryer. Set it on a low setting. Blow it on the rashes. Then slowly increase the setting, getting those HEAT messages to start sending. Don't burn yourself! Stay very aware of how hot the skin is getting and don't hold the dryer near your rash for too long. You want to do it just long enough so the itch messages stop. That should short-circuit the itch messages for a few hours each time.
Trick #2 is my favored trick. Go in the shower, and set it on reasonably warm. Your rashes will scream out "heat!" as the water hits them. I find it almost a sort of game - I stand in the shower, and turn around slowly, and I can tell exactly where each spot is as I turn, as it starts that instant signal. Then turn the heat up a little more, and do it again. Then a little more. Again, remember NOT to actually burn yourself here! Be very careful to keep track of the actual heat of the water, on an unaffected area. The heat signal feels SO good after the annoying itching signal that it is temping to just keep turning the water up hotter and hotter. Be sure to stop when the water gets too hot for regular skin. I find that this helps stop the itching for several hours each time, and feels really nice while it's happening.
Poison Ivy and Hot Showers
Taking a hot shower while having poison ivy deserves its own page since there is controversy about this.
Oatmeal / Baking Soda
In essence the reason you have this itchy rash is that the skin is full of white blood cells that are swarming, looking for victims. Your aim is to disperse them as quickly as possible, because you know there really is no threat to the system. It is a false alarm. So there are various methods in which you can hasten the drying process, to dry out those white blood cells. One is to take a bath in oatmeal or Aveeno. One is to make a baking soda and water paste and layer it on your body.
Clearasil / Salycilic Acid
Clearasil, the acne medicine, works in part by drying out the skin. Many acne medications have salycilic acid in them, which is also a drying agent. In essence salycilic acid is a beta hydroxy acid - it's a very mild acid that helps your top layer of skin 'loosen' and slough off. Since that top layer has a lot of the rash on it, the more that you can help it fall off and let fresh, new skin below it grow, the more quickly the rash goes away.
I found a St Ives gentle apricot scrub that has salycilic acid in it. I know I say not to ever scratch at the rash, so you need to be careful here. The instructions for the scrub are actually to put it on your face like a mask, leave it on for a minute, then to gently wash it off. So you should NOT be scrubbing here. Take the tube and spread a layer on whereever your rash is, and let it soak in for a minute. Then wash it off gently. That will help the skin renew and grow, and help the layer of skin with the rash be removed.
In the end, you have two aims with poison ivy. One is to minimize or eliminate the nasty itching while you have it. The second is to get your skin to heal as quickly as humanly possible. for the itching, the heat methods work, and of course you can buy cremes in the store. For the skin healing, you need to dry up the skin as much as possible and get it to renew as quickly as possible.
Poison Ivy Cures, Help and Information
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