In early June of 2005, I was suffering through another bout with poison ivy after I unknowingly grabbed an entire chunk of the weed when clearing away brush from an air conditioning unit (Yes, it is a weed despite the word ivy in its name). The oils from the plant affected my hands and I spread the itchy rash to my forehead, legs, right arm and neck after taking a hot shower upon completing yard work that day.
During each battle with poison ivy I would apply over-the-counter medications to alleviate the rash and itching. The various creams and lotions would take a few days to stop the itching and anywhere from seven to ten days to completely remove the blotches from my skin. In 2005 I was working as a security guard at a corporate research facility for PPG Industries. I was the switchboard operator and intercom speaker during the daylight shift. When visitors arrived on site, I was the first person they came in contact with.
One morning a chemist turned saleswoman for BASF arrived on campus and noticed the rash on my forehead and neck. She asked what I applying to the marks and proceeded to tell me about a home remedy that she thought would help me out.
She told me to buy Dawn dish washing liquid, but it had to be the original blue style. Apparently the blue Dawn has different emulsifiers in its formula which will break down the poison ivy oils on the skin. When watching television, take note of the Dawn commercials when they talk about saving wildlife. The people are always using blue Dawn, so this information must be true.
Apply Dawn directly to the affected areas. Keep the liquid on for ten minutes, wipe clean with a dry paper towel, then reapply. She mentioned that as the Dawn captures the oils, the itching should subside. Depending on the severity of the rash, it could be anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour to see results. Try to use paper towels instead of bath or hand towels since the oils might remain on household items until properly washed.
I followed through with the home remedy advice I received that day and within one day my itching was completely gone. I would occasionally have to reapply hours after my first attempt but the severity of the itching decreased with each application. Eleven years later, I still use this home remedy anytime I have issues with poison ivy and every time it works.
So go out and buy a small bottle of blue Dawn liquid and keep it in your residence in case you seek relief from poison ivy. Procter & Gamble, the current makers of Dawn will not claim that Dawn cures poison ivy inflammation for various legal reasons, but I can attest that it does. And if it doesn’t then sue me. But seriously, don’t sue me, I’m a schmo with no money.
(Artwork of Batman’s/DC Comics Poison Ivy courtesy of blog site Sakimichan on Deviant Art. CAUTION: Some of Sakimichan’s art is 18+, so don’t let children see it. The work is very good.)