Poison Oak Treatment :: Zanfel Ingredients

I have used the product Zanfel once before for a bad case of poison oak. You can read my previous article. But what is in Zanfel that makes it work?

You can find the list of ingredients on the product packaging and also by searching the web. But, the specific active ingredient that does all the magic appears missing. The website notes that “U.S. and Foreign Patents Pending” so they probably don’t need to give away the secret just yet.

So, I decided to look into the known ingredients to see what I could find.

Western Poison Oak Photo Gallery (click to view)
Western Poison Oak Photo Gallery (click to view)

Listed below are the ingredients as found on the Zanfel packaging.

Looking at this list leads me to believe that Zanfel is simply a cleanser. Similar to Tecnu. Of specific interest are the ingredients Quaternium-15 and Triethanolamine. These are both known irritants and may cause allergic reactions!
So, before using this product, be sure to follow any precautions and also to read through the ingredients. Note, the descriptions below are from my own quick sleuthing. They may or may not be correct. Let me know if you have corrections.


Zanfel Ingredients

  • Polyethylene Granules – Used to help active ingredients penetrate better when applied.
  • Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate – A weak anionic detergent (foaming/wetting agent).
  • Nonoxynol-9 – Commonly used as a spermicide. But, also widely used as a biocide (disinfectant) in cosmetics, baby wipes, detergents and other products.
  • C12-15 Pareth-9 – Typically used as sole detergent in highly alkaline laundry liquids and cleaning formulations.
  • Disodium EDTA – (Disodium Ethylene–Diamine–Tetra–Acetate) Anionic Surfactant. A sodium salt of a mild organic acid and helps the system resist bacterial spoilage.
  • Quaternium-15 – From http://www.dermnetnz.org/dna.acd/q-15.html Quaternium-15 is a formaldehyde-releasing preservative used in many cosmetics and pharmaceutical preparations. NOTE: Quaternium-15 may cause an allergic reaction with people that are either sensitive to formaldehyde or have a specific sensitivity. The reaction is normally a contact dermatitis.
  • Carbomer 2% – Found in many hair and lotion products. Possibly a polymer and used as a thickening ingredient.
  • Triethanolamine –
    From http://ntp-server.niehs.nih.gov/htdocs/IT-studies/imm90005.html Triethanolamine, produced along with mono- and diethanolamine by ammonolysis of ethylene oxide, is used in many cosmetics, fatty acid soaps, household detergents and emulsions, wood scouring, and as a water repellent in textiles. U. S. production and sales for 1989 was estimated to be 72 x 108 lb. Although triethanolamine is a skin, eye, and mucous membrane irritant, no information could be found on its sensitizing potential.
    From http://physchem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/TR/triethanolamine.html May be harmful by inhalation, ingestion or through skin absorption. Chronic exposure may lead to liver and kidney damage. Skin irritant – may cause dermatitis.
    From http://umbbd.ahc.umn.edu/tea/tea_map.html Over 1.2 billion pounds of triethanolamine are produced annually in the United States. Triethanolamine is widely used as an ingredient in emulsifiers, thickeners, wetting agents, detergents, and alkalinizing agents in cosmetic products; as a chemical intermediate for anionic and nonionic surfactants and surface active agents in household cleaning agents, textiles, herbicides, pharmaceutical ointments, and other products; as a vulcanization accelerator in the manufacture of rubber; and in many other industrial applications.The National Cancer Institute nominated triethanolamine for study because of its widespread use in cosmetics and other consumer products, its high potential for worker exposure due to its many industrial uses, and its potential for conversion to the carcinogen N-nitrosodiethanolamine.
  • Water – Our friend H2O!

That’s all folks! 🙂


  1. Walter Bliss

    Nonoxynol 9 absorption through the skin in a wash off formula like a shampoo or Zanfel is extremely limited. It is a safe and effective treatment for poison ivy on skin. It is able to form micelles with the urushiol oil most likely in combination with the other surfactants so it can be washed away. If you know the required HLB of an oil the effective ratio of the surfactants can be calculated. Yes it is the magic ingredient with the support of the other surfactants. I would not hesitate and have used Zanfel and it was effective. My motivation here is to save people poison ivy grief. I do not benefit financially in any way.

  2. diane spence

    I tried the bleach, salt, and other home remedies. Don’t do it…a vinegar and soda mix wrap works well on blisters while taking benadryl. But the best thing I found as I am highly allergic…is No-More- Itch by Appalachian Secrets. Got my hands on one tube and works like a charm. But I can’t find it. It is a wash that will stop the rash from appearing or leave the wash on and it will stop the itch and break down the resin and it will disappear. Ivarest helps the itch but does not cause it to go away. NO home remedies from good intention folk. Not worth it.

  3. Dennis

    The gentleman who posted about the hot water is correct. What the hot water does is kill the bacteria which cases the itching. That supports the idea that the itching is bacteria based. But reducing the urushiol resin in your skin is achieved better with coconut oil with the process of reduction. The rubbing disperses the resin and the coconut oil allows it to slide back up where you can remove it with a sterile paper or cotton product. Coconut further shields the skin from subsequent infections. Bacteria cannot live in coconut oil.


  4. Dennis

    Let me add this for those who have not started any treatment yet. Before starting with the coconut oil, as I have written about above, if you have not taken a shower and washed your clothes and everything you touched on the way in, you need to do that first. Doorknobs, drawer handles dishes what ever you touched should be washed. The coconut application and the rubbing can spread all the urushiol resin on other parts of your body and you will be on agony street like me.

    Take a shower and use alcohol with sterile pads to clean all the sores thoroughly, first! Then apply the coconut oil and rub it in to stop the infection and further reduce the urushiol density within the skin.

    Keep washing and washing things manically.



  5. Dennis

    Alternative method of stopping Poison Ivy itching for good.******
    Today, January 10, starting with January the 8th I have been in agony and back. The itching was unbearable. I ended up rubbing my eyes and the eye lids were on fire. Nothing I tried worked. Alcohol used to do it years ago, but this time it only cooled things off for a while. The DomeBoro aluminum acetate they promised me at the drug store had no effect. The soaps work for 15 minutes and you have to take a shower again if you want the itching to stop. I tried many things and I don’t want to use drugs. I was looking of a natural source of help. I believe I found it and I am happy to share it with you. There is no charge or gimmick leading to a sale. But if you the whole post you will know why this works and perhaps you can make more contributions to solve this problem once and for all without bleeding people with $40 per ounce creams which do not works half of the time.

    So, let me continue. In desperation I tried something different. I read many of the postings above, in order to understand how to approach the problem. And the itching was killing me all along. In another article I read something about how urushiol acts on the skin and exposes it to opportunistic bacteria and the lights went on. The itching is mostly the invasive bacteria not the oil. If you don’t believe me, wash an infected spot on your body with the soap until the itching stops and protect it from the outside with a large bandage. It will take longer for the itching to return.

    With that in the pocket I wondered what could suppress the opportunistic bacteria and remove the urushiol resin. Water and soap sounds good, but this resin does not emulsify that well with soap, hence the rash continues and the skin is still exposed. So, the bacteria returns from air particles or contact with objects and peole etc… and a new colony starts to multiply. Apparently, urushiol is a resin. Resins require various density oils to be dissolved, so soaps are not that effective to begin with. Alcohol as an oil is effective early in the game but by the time you notice the itching it is too late. And we are dealing with just such a case here.

    The question is this. Can you think of a safe ingredient which will suppress bacteria permanently on the skin? Water and alcohol will evaporate and you are back to square one. Creams and oils can cause further irritation and who knows what ingredients are in some creams. But creams are the right idea if you want to protect the skin from new infections. But which cream can act as a barrier as well as an antibacterial for the skin as well as calming, not irritating the skin further?

    Now if that substance could further dissolve or dilute urushiol, WOW! We are talking about killing two birds with a stone. And there is such a substance. It is coconut oil. But that is not all you need to know. You need to make sure that it is not rancid, however. Rancid oils are irritants and can be carcinogenic. Many oils sold in health food stores are rancid because they have been heated in processing. I leave that to you to research. Rancid oils have a peculiar odor, so learn to detect it by smell on your own.

    So, coconut oil definitely soothes the itch except for the very damaged part where blisters are forming and the wound is oozing. In those areas the resin has moved down the strata of the skin and opportunistic bacteria have moved down with it, so covering the top layer of the skin with coconut oil does not stop the itching there.

    What I did was to rub those areas with the coconut oil vigorously, not with my nails, the with the soft part of the fingertips until the itching stops. The nice thing about that is that two actions take place. Coconut oil is thin enough to move into the strata of the skin and kill the bacteria deep under, as well as displace urushiol by dissolution. Every time you rub the coconut molecules dissolve the resin separating its molecules further and further apart, spreading and forcing a good amount of urushiol to the surface.

    Because of that, you must also use something clean, like a paper towel or anything you know is sterilized, to remove the urushiol and the dead bacteria that is displaced to the surface. Coconut oil kills bacteria to begin with. And it is very friendly to human skin. It is as safe as could be, except for some weird folk, perhaps. It is also the best oil you can use in cooking, bar none. And if you do not have oozing sores from poison ivy/oak/sumac it will stop the itching on contact. The rubbing moves the oil down into the skin and the infection dies rapidly.

    In sum, for those who did not want to read everything.
    -Use healthy coconut oil (I use Carrington Farms from Costco but there are others)
    -Rub it in vigorously and as you rub it the itching will subside with every rub.
    -When the itching stops use a clean paper towel/sterilized cloth to remove the oil
    -Then cover the area in oil and let the skin absorb it.
    -When the skin absorbs it, add more oil with a little rub and keep it up

    But on oozing areas keep the rubbing for longer. After a while it will suddenly stop. That means that the coconut oil arrived at its destination and the bacteria stopped chewing. It takes time to do that, but well worth the effort.

    And please do not use your fingernails to scratch, else you will make things worse. Fingernails have horrid and vile bacteria which can make things far worse for you. Cut your fingernails off and brush them thoroughly with antibacterial soap. We are talking surgery type of clean hands, here. You don’t want to introduce new colonies of bacteria into an open wound.

    Good luck. My itching is way way better. And any spot that restarts I treat early. I have successfully stopped the infection on my eyelids too. In fact that was the first thing I treated wit the coconut oil.

    I wish you well and spread this idea to others. The solution is very simple.

  6. Gary & Donna Davis

    I once did get poison ivy on my keyboard also. Donna’s favorite is Sasquatch Itch Cream for poison oak rash since it soothes the itch and solves her underlying rash. I like it but zanafel seems to be easier to find, so I end up using that most of the time. BUT, rubbing alcohol works early if you can get to it (about 30 min post exposure in my opinion)

  7. john

    This is my second entry.

    Excluding my first entry, I’ve seen at least 7+ other PI itch remedies which use hot water. Do you think that this is a coincidence? It really works for me and also a few other people that I’ve shown the method to.

    First one must obviously thoroughly wash off all PI oils with liberal amounts of soap and cold water. Probably some time after you might even consider taking a shower & a change of clothes (slight humor).

    The hot water itch reduction method does not cure PI and I only use it for ITCH RELIEF after I’ve washed up. This is not a miracle cure, but it will more than likely produce several hours (helping you to get to sleep) to slightly more than a day of itch free time (providing you are not sweating) to allow one to experience other more pleasurable thoughts and activies in place of constant scratching & popping blisters.

    It is important to mention that this method can NOT be used ANYWHERE on the face or on difficult to reach areas on the body. And this method should NOT be used for severe exposure. I done correctly it should eliminate the need to scratch for a significant duration.

    The method (similar to other entries above)is to place PI afflicted body part/area under warm water and gradually increase water temperature until you almost can’t stand it; count to approximately 5 to 10 seconds, withdraw immediately and DRY thoroughly. (Refer to entries 48, 60, 119 and 130) Blow dryer hot air treatment can be used for hard to reach areas (excluding the face)but is not nearly as effective; I only use this if I am extremely desperate to stop the itching.

    When I get exposure all over hands & arms, one of my worst areas are between the fingers where the irritation can go beyond itching to sometimes a burning sensation (through to the bone); I have found the hot water method to be very effective there.

    It is crucial that you thoroughly wash to remove all external PI oils (as soon as possible after exposure)with what ever treatment you use.

    Hot water method can also be effective in temporarily eliminating itching from mosquito bites and for yellow jacket stings after a day or two when the sting subsides and the itching starts.

    As far as the rationale that medicines and pharmaceuticals are not priced according to their ingredients, who cares. There is no way I will pay even $5 (let alone $40) for topical creams (some people say work and others say don’t) that I need to apply regularly when I can apply hot water at no cost; it still works for me. If the creams worked so well people would not be experimenting with or looking for other remedies.
    Maybe it is that everyone’s body reacts and responds differently.

  8. Pat

    Don’t you people realize the Poison Oak/Ivy is on your keyboards! The more you type here, the more it spreads!!!
    Kidding. Maybe. Great site. Here’s what works for me:
    1. Cold water and a ton of any kind of soap at first exposure. Yes, a cold shower. Technu works great at this point but, honestly, if you know you have it, you can usually get rid of it with any sort of soap.
    2. Wash everything that can be washed, including backpacks. Spray everything that can’t with rubbing alcohol.
    3. Once it starts to blister/ooze, immediately get the prednisone. It’s the only thing that works at this point. The side effects can be unpleasant: Sleeplessness, red face, increased pulse. But it gives real relief and healing. I do the 21-day cycle and still get rebound outbreaks, though not to the blister stage. I would not go through it for anything less than severe blistering and oozing.
    4. I get real relief from using a hair dryer on the affected areas. It will get crazy itchy for a few seconds, then you get maybe 6 hours of relief.
    5. My wife paid the 40 for the Zanfel. It seemed to help a little, but not as much as the hair dryer, and it certainly didn’t make it go away. I wouldn’t call it worth it, overall.
    That’s my advice. That and quit using your computers! Just kidding. Maybe.

  9. artie

    Hey – The next time you get poison ivy, call your doctor and get a strong topical steroid (class I or II). They work well and fairly quickly, they are very safe (except for use on the face, underarms and groin, where you can use something a little milder) and have generic versions that are very cheap, much cheaper than Zanfel. No spermacide in them either. Wash off all the areas and put on the steroid ointment/cream/gel and it will help a lot. It might take a day or two, but it will make much more of an impact than a low-tech cleanser like zanfel.

  10. Wayne Touchstone

    I had No problems with PI for most of my life. Since I made the big 60 I have had problems. The Best I have used , and is inexpensive is a Homopathic remedy made by Hilands,(pills) and I bought a can of Jewelweed salve. I take the Hilands and put the salve on my blisters and in less than 24 hrs they are starting to subside. I have used the Jewelweed plant and stripped all the leaves and stuff off the stem and liquified it and it stopped ALL THE ITCHING , SWELLING and REDNESS IMMEDIATELY! The problem is finding fresh Jewelweed in the woods. I keep a bottle of the Hilands at all times. Some of you have more outbreaks than I have and may need to do more experimenting and research. Mine is usually limited once a year as I stay out a lot in South MS. Hope this helps !!

  11. Mike

    In these last few days, I squeezed the remaining amounts of Zanfel from a tube I bought several years ago. It worked to reduce the itching and rash from a local PI infection on my leg. Zanfel did the job for me twice before on local PI infections so I definitely got my money’s worth. However, when I bought it, I, like others here, winched at the price and nearly put it back on the shelf. Later on, when I read through the Zanfel patent online, I was planning to try mixing toothpaste with nonoxynol-9, maybe add a little Tide and sand. But I’m glad to hear that cheaper generic versions of Zanfel are now available. Seems like the various generic versions lack the nonoxynol-9, but it’s pretty easy to add that in, and see if it really makes such a difference. (PS: Thanks vauron for posting your experiment findings.)

  12. tz

    my hubby swears by his terrible “cure” for poison ivy….
    I tell him that cure may be worse than the disease.. but he swears by it, and once he does it, it is GONE…
    So what he does: He scrubs with some type of abrasive – like LAVA soap, then pours straight bleach on the open rash area.
    Now this burns like hellfire eternal, but
    that is the end of it. (after your skin heals, of course)
    but you don’t itch anymore.
    He DOES rinse the bleach off after a minute….
    and if he catches an ivy rash early, and does this, it
    never spreads or gets bad at all.

  13. Doug

    I got a case of poison ivy rash in my backyard a couple days back and just tried a new product that I found and it has worked well. It is called Releaf or The Stuff (not sure which). It was for sale at a gardening store in my town but I see that they have a webpage at http://www.dontforgetthestuff.com and an Amazon store. It scrubs like Zanfel but has ingredients that keep the skin fro itching afterwards. I used Zanfel in the past but this was cheaper and felt better afterwards. It also had twice as much in the container than Zanfel, and for a lower price.

  14. vauron

    Our neighborhood has a lot of poison oak which I try to avoid, not always successfully. Two days ago I had a major encounter with it that has already brought up rashes on both legs, both arms, front chest and abdomen, face, and privates.
    As usual I got some more Zanfel, which I’ve found reasonably effective in the past in preventing the rashes from reaching the blistering stage provided I apply it several times. Given the area I’d need to cover this time, times the number of applications typically needed, it looked like I’d be up for at least a couple of tubes of the stuff!
    At $40 per one-ounce tube I figured it might be interesting to experiment a bit. So I bought only one tube of Zanfel, and for comparison mixed an ounce of Gynol II (as a source of nonoxynol-9, cost $15 for 3.8 oz) with 2 oz of GOJO Orange (I had a 4.7 liter container of it in the house that I’d bought some time ago from Costco, but it’s not expensive: Amazon sells a 14 oz. container of it for $4 plus shipping).
    I applied the Zanfel to my right arm, right leg, the left side of my abdomen, and the right side of my chest (to mix things up a bit), following the instructions to the letter. I then applied the G+G mixture to the matching half of me, following the same procedure. I also treated my face etc. but not in so systematic a way, I just wanted their puffiness to go down.
    As usual the Zanfel relieved the itching immediately. The GG did so too, with no perceptible difference between the two. After an hour the itching had returned and I applied both again, with a similar effect.
    After four applications of each the itching was mostly gone from my arms and legs, though my abdomen was still red and a bit itchy. The remaining few itches on my arms and legs were partly in the Zanfel-treated area and partly in the GG-treated area. If I had to tell them apart I’d say the Zanfel-treated areas were slightly itchier, but that could be explained by having more PO in those areas (the PO seemed spread all around but I couldn’t tell how uniformly).
    Whatever advantage the Zanfel has over my improvised GG mixture doesn’t seem to be so striking as to justify costing more than twenty times as much. While I’ve gone through most of the Zanfel tube, I seem to have a lifetime supply of GG left over, at half the cost of the Zanfel.
    I guess my next experiment is to see whether the Gynol II was needed. While it’s much cheaper than Zanfel it’s considerably more expensive than GOJO Orange. On the other hand even if it only has some sort of placebo effect it might be worth keeping as part of the recipe.
    Yet another experiment would be to compare GOJO Orange with the recipe paxpeg just tried, baking soda and dish detergent. Conceivably any mixture of scrubbing agent (Zanfel’s polyethylene granules, GOJO’s powdered pumice, paxpeg’s baking soda) and detergent/surfactant, applied sufficiently often and sufficiently vigorously, might remove the bulk of the urushiol. All these competing mystical remedies might come down to just scraping and dissolving and scraping and dissolving until most of the nasty stuff is gone.

  15. paxpeg

    wow–this is a great diverse and comphrehensive forum!! I hae a mild case (so far) on my left arm — been getting it for 3 years from my moms yard. I never learn but i love to garden. Last year it was awful and I used hot water ( for relief bc I was ready to jump out of my skin) and I think it made the PO spread even worse bt it did feel soo sood. Friend recommended Zanfel so of course I googled it to see what it was and wow–sticker shock on the cost!!
    After reading everything here I went in the kitchen this morning and concocted my own PO scrub from baking soda and dish detergent and made into a soft scrub (this can be used on your counter, bathtub surfaces and any leaning surfaces) — and then slathered it all over my arm, scrubbed in and let sit for 3 minutes then rinsesd. The oozing is donw and my skin is really dry so I am going to put some lotion/vitamin e oil on them and see what happens and report back. I would think you could use other soaps including shampoos… I am also taking generic benedryl……. I will update…..

  16. Scott

    First, thanks for creating this very informative and valuable page and thanks to everyone who has posted a comment! This is exactly what I was hoping to find. Wow, I have learned a lot.
    This long-winded comment describes the treatment I just have given to my left hand, wrist, and upper forearm. I hope this is helpful for those who do not have a very serious case requiring emergency medical attention.
    I just tried a product from Johnson & Johnson called Cortaid Poison Ivy Care, Removal Scrub. It cost $10/4 oz. at Walmart. It comes in a thick squeeze tube without a box. It was positioned right next to the Zanfel ($34.99/1 oz.) and is clearly being branded as J&J’s version of this, with a similar description of how the product binds to the urushiol that then can and must be washed off, etc.
    The Cortaid Poison Ivy Care Scrub ingredients are:
    Water, Polyethylene, laureth-4, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, glycol distearate, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, coco-glucoside, sodium hydroxide, microcrystalline wax, tetrasodium EDTA, glyceryl oleate, glyceryl stearate, quaternium-15, benzoic acid, chromium hydroxide green, tocopherol.
    Most notably, for whatever reason, it does not contain the nonoxynol-9 or carbomer 2% that is found in Zanfel. Still, it is generally similar to the Zanfel ingredients of:
    polyethylene granules, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, nonoxynol-9, C12-15 pareth-9, disodium EDTA, quaternium-15, carbomer 2%, triethanolamine, and water.
    I should say that last night I tried soaking the hand/wrist in running warm/hot water in the bathroom sink, water while periodically adding baking soda. In fact, I would pour it right on the rash, rub it in, then wash it off over and over. I kept the drain open slightly the whole time. Wow! What a bizarre series of intense sensations. Also, as the many tiny blisters would open, I would pull my hand out of the water and (using my good hand) squeeze each infected finger firmly with toilet paper to blot up the resin/oil, then throw this away.
    I did this for about 15 minutes. Then I rinsed one last time in cold water and dried the hand.
    A few have said that hot water is a bad idea as it opens the pores, inviting the urushiol into the body. Others say hot water is essential! I tried the hot water method and reasoned that I could flush/wipe it off the skin before it entered the pores. Who knows.
    Afterwords, even though the hand was swollen more and looked worse, I could tell already that something had changed. It wasn’t just that the itch was suppressed through histamine depletion; I was sure that some of the urushiol had been removed. This morning the skin was still red and swollen, but barely itched at all. However, it was very, very dry. I still could not close it.
    I tried the Cortaid product around 5 pm today. I really ground it in for over 1 minute, even though it suggests just 30 seconds. To my surprise it didn’t hurt at all, even on the very red, almost skinless areas where the rash was worst. I think this is because the skin was already starting to heal from the baking soda scrub last night.
    I am convinced the key is to literally grind the urushiol out of the skin, no matter how painful at first, and flush this off of the skin immediately. I have no doubt Zanfel works for some people without systemic cases, if used properly. But I also have no doubt that any similar combination of ingredients could work nearly as well, as well, or better, even the Dr. Scholl’s/Clearasil combination.
    I also think that scratching can work, as long as you are actively flushing the released urushiol off of the skin while you do it. This seems crucial.
    This Cortaid product may or may not not be as good as Zanfel, with its absence of Zanfel’s N-9 that binds well to foreign proteins, etc. but i truly think it helps remove the urushiol in a similar way. It was hard to pass up at $10.00/ 4 oz. I think you really have to go at it, and grind a very generous amount of it into the skin for a full minute, then rinse thouroughly. Mind hand still looks red, but I am 100% the skin is definitely less raised and is starting to dry up.
    Also, I bought a Cortaid Maximum Strength, which is just 1% Hydrocortisone to help keep the skin at the joints from cracking. I wish I had had this last night.
    The good thing with this particular Walmart is that you can return anything, and people do. The line is 30 feet long all day. Im sure I could return even the Zanfel if I tried it and it didn’t help me. I am sure I could return this Cortaid scrub, but I doubt I will because I really think it works as described.
    To me, p.i. is as close to pure evil as a plant can get.
    I am 95% sure I got this from one of my dogs. It can happen.
    If Zanfel works, and I think it does for many, I feel it is a steal at $34.95/ 1 oz., but if this Cortaid Scrub works nearly as well, and I think it might, it is even more of a bargain at what comes to $2.50/1 oz. and yes, I have to watch every penny. I have absolutely no connection with J & J or any other product, I am just offering this opinion to those with minor cases of p.i. who also need to be price conscious.
    Sorry for this long post. I sincerely hope it helps someone.

  17. Nate

    I find the premise of this article completely silly. Since when have any of our medicines been priced according to the mere cost of their ingredients?
    Products are priced according to their value to the ultimate consumer. I agree with those whose comments make this point.
    $40 is nothing compared to the amount I end up paying for prescription drugs. Would the writer feel better about paying $40 if he first had to pay a doctor to write a prescription for this stuff?
    Thanks to the writer who provided the patent number. I was surprised to find how easy it was to read the history the inventor provided as to various remedies tried over the years and what worked and what didn’t and why. He even names other products that have ingredients that are the same or similar, so that if you want to buy them instead, feel free to do so.
    I am not connected in any way with this company or the inventor, but stumbled on this article while trying to help my girlfriend with her attack of poison ivy.

  18. Cindy

    One more thing:
    Forgot to mention I did wash the dog of course, but I can’t keep washing him more than every two weeks or so because it’s not good for his skin to get dried out with repeated baths.

    Just a quick light surface wash works for my pup.


  19. Cindy

    Thanks for a really helpful site Hans. I hope you’re still answering questions because I can’t find the answer to this anywhere.
    I got poison oak after a hike with my dog. I am absolutely positive I didn’t touch any of it, and I’m equally positive he didn’t run through a patch of it. We were on a wide fire trail that was just dirt. He must have stepped on a stray leaf or twig though because two days later I got a horrible case of poison oak all over my face and neck.
    I got it on my face because my dog sleeps in bed with my right up near my head. (He’s a smallish sized dog.) So I washed the sheets, all the clothes, and everything I could find that he might have come in contact with. Then I continued washing the sheets every two days for a week. Yesterday, after four days without washing the sheets, the poison oak rash returned, on my face again. I was afraid this was going to happen because obviously when we came home from the hike he walked into the house and his feet would have transferred the oil everywhere. I imagine it’s on the wood floors, the carpets, all the furniture.
    It’s impossible to de-contaminate every place he might have been. I am never ever EVER going back to the hills to hike since it’s riddled with poison oak, so that’s not an issue. My question (finally) is:
    How long can I expect the oil to be laying about my house? I have heard people say it’s active 30 days and other people say 3 years. I just want to know how long I need to keep washing everything every day.
    Thank you.

  20. matt

    I’ll vouch for the Mean Green claims.
    After learning about Zanfel years ago and experiencing that it worked, one of my fellow chemists and I pulled their MSDS and patent application to see if we could reverse engineer it easily (since it’s absurdly expensive). Much to our happy enjoyment the patent application, #20020183284, was obligated to refer to Mean Green which is highly similar in terms of active ingredient composition (ratios of ingredients differ). Rather than continue in our effort to reverse engineer the product, we have simply started purchasing direct from the company that markets Mean Green.
    Mean Green = low cost Zanfel. Save your cash, buy a 4 – pack of 64 ounce tubs of the mean green handcleaner with scrubbies and use it extensively after landscaping, yard work, hiking, etc.

  21. info

    Something a yogi taught me many years ago while hiking/camping in the woods, was to look for the poison ivy and (in the New England) you may find Jewelweed there. To help prevent getting Poison Ivy, rub the crushed stems of the jewelweed over your exposed skin areas.
    I am not very sensitive to the poison plants but using jewelweed as a preventative seems to help those that I know that have tried it.

  22. Mugtoe

    I’m the sales department at Mean Green; there’s only five of us in the office when we’re fully staffed. Zanfel was created by one of our old outside reps a few years back when it was discovered that Mean Green provided near instant relief for most cases of urushiol exposure. Because of the buzz on the internet about the two products, we get a few calls every month, especially in Spring and Summer months, from people whose kid has just wandered into a patch. At $19.95 for a 60.5oz tub of Mean Green Power Hand Scrub (item #20-MG63S), even with overnight freight charges you still come out quite a bit better off with the Mean Green Power Hand Scrub, pricewise.
    If you want to keep a tub on hand, just in case, you can get it ahead of time and save yourself the overnight freight and have it sent UPS Ground instead for just a few bucks.
    My father has fifteen acres of river frontage on the Brazos River just west of Fort Worth, Texas. There is a fair amount of poison oak and poison ivy growing on his place, and he is really sensitive to it. I keep a few tubs out there for him, and he has had good results from it. And by good results, I mean it got rid of it after a few washings and he wasn’t bothered, whereas in previous years his eyes would swell shut and he’d be off his feed for days. So that’s my bit of anecdotal evidence to throw in. I’ve always been relatively immune to the stuff, but they say you lose that immunity without notice and in dramatic fashion. Fortunately for me I have a fairly inexhaustible supply of Mean Green Power Hand Scrub at my disposal.
    Anyway, I’ll have the online cart working in just a few days, and you can order online at: http://www.meangreen.us/
    Til then, if you want some Mean Green Power Hand Scrub to try out, give me a call at (800) 658-9811. I’m curious to hear from more people about their experience with it, but so far most of what I’ve heard has been pretty positive. It doesn’t represent a substantial part of our hand cleaner business, but there’s certainly a good-sized market out there for it.

  23. Rachel

    I suffer horribly from poison oak every spring and summer (I think I have actually had in every month of the year at some point)
    I found a product called Buji last year that has all the same ingredients (except for maybe that secret magic one) as Zanfel but it’s usually $15 a 2oz tube and less if you can find it on sale and a few places online. That is considerably less than Zanfel.
    I went to the dr. this morning for a pretty bad case of poison oak and got a shot of some combo type. I didn’t quite catch the name of it, but the oozing started drying up less than 12 hours later.

  24. John

    Please, more feedback on Tecnu Extreme needed (NOT from manufacturers).
    I get PI exposure frequently in the warm weather months. I can usually (quite successfully) ignore the itching & the blisters, when exposure is moderate or less.
    Where I have a problem is with more severe exposure in areas of my upper chest, neck chin, face (eyelids) in the webs of my fingers (no, I’m not a frog). I had only once had to resort to the SHOT (prednizone) to un-swell my face & eyes; boy did it work fast! I have gotten no itch relief during sleep using Benadryl (oral). Also if you’re gonna pop blisters be sure your fingers & nails are clean and you use topical antibiotics as you would with a minor wound (no guarantees here, you probably shouldn’t be doing this anyway).
    For every other PI exposure I have been using the hot water method for more then 10 years. FYI: It is my experience that the hot water is significantly more effective than a hot blow drier. If the hot water method is done correctly you can usually (not always) get almost a whole (awake hours) day itch /irritation free (although it initially stings and could dry out your skin). Nights in bed are different, slight sweating, dampness, stimulation from loose clothing / t-shirts and bed-sheets can restart the itching.
    Note: With the hot water method, I find that it is most important to dry yourself thoroughly!!
    The most relief I’ve ever gotten with a blow drier or heat gun was approximately 2 hours.
    It was amazing to me how many times I’ve seen this method mentioned; most every technique I’ve read was very similar to my technique & experiences. I had actually thought I had invented the idea, but obviously not!!
    Re- Be sure to “dry yourself thoroughly!!”
    The hot water method is at times not very convenient, and it can obviously be difficult to target hard to reach areas, and finally it has to be repeated many, many times over the course of the affliction (10 to 30 days….whatever). Pain in the A.
    I came upon this site with the following search: “Comparison of Tecnu Extreme vs. Zanfel” I thought it might be time to explore other (seemingly more civilized) more scientific methods….. Medicine! No way in HELL, am I going to spend $40 + tax for 1 skinny ounce tube of a non-prescription, off the shelf cream such as Zanfel unless it also cures cancer. It IS amazing how this company can charge this amount; the ingredients appear to be commonly used surfactants and other even less specialized materials that are widely used in many other (low cost) personal care products. IS THERE A SECRET INGREDIENT??? HOW MUCH R&D $ HAS THIS PHARMACEUTICAL?? COMPANY SPENT IN ITS DEVELOPMENT ….WHO CARES!!!
    Also I do not have the time to mess around with home formulations blending other low priced, off the shelf personal care products plus whatever else is needed; even if they do work. Not interested in any elaborate application sequences or procedures either. As Cher might say: I want it all in a bottle.
    Now Zanfel may work great for some people, but what I’d like to hear are more comments and experiences about the lower cost “Tecnu Extreme”. Several previous writers had mentioned that they would report back after trying this product. I don’t know whether or not the lack of comments or popularity of this product is related to its lack of performance. Hope not.
    I believe that some time in the 60’s Technu was introduced, than in 1999 Zanfel came out, and Technu Extreme was developed around 2005. I am obviously speculating that Technu Extreme might be Tec-Labs (next generation) answer to (competitor) Zanfel. Hope so for all us frugal people.
    Finally I hope that the majority of these published comments do not originate either directly or indirectly from manufacturer wars. I guess this is something that only a PI suffering, cynical, paranoid conspiracy theorist would say.

  25. Chris

    I had a recent bout of poison ivy. It was pretty bad, I seem to get this every other year or so since I was a teen. Anyway, this time I used two tubes of Zanfel in addition to prednizone. The Zanfel did give relief but only for a few hours, so I used more. About 4-5 weeks later, my liver crashed and I came down with a severe case of cholestasis and jaundice. I was hospitalized twice. I’m 40 and very health so this was all very nerve racking. The doctors said my liver biopsy looked like my liver was crashed due to a toxin. The doctors also said that toxin exposure in general can take about 4-5 weeks to crash a liver. Since Zanfel was the only toxic substance I was known to be exposed to during that time at a significant dose, it is the primary suspect. Be very careful using this product ! I recommend not using it of course. I’ve been sick with my liver problem for 5 weeks now, and the doctors say I will need about 4-5 weeks more time to make a full recovery if I am lucky. It’s miserable. The cholestasis itching is 10x worse than any poison ivy bout I’ve ever had. It’s madening and there is no help for itching from bile build up in your tissues. Oh, and I can’t eat and have lost 30 lbs.

  26. francine

    I’ve been plagued by poison oak twice the past 6 weeks….the first time it effected my two arms…. hydrocortisone cream, oatmeal, baking soda baths, benedryl, tecnu, tecnu extreme, ‘white flower’ oil, tea tree oils were tried but did not work…..finally i tried prednizone pills without success then a cortisone shot finally got rid of most of it!!!….my scars were still healing when the second more serious bout came …now arms, legs, scalp, torso and neck were red and swollen with insane incessant itching that would not let up!….i tried everything AGAIN and more – baking soda baths, lemon oil, tea tree oil, calagel, tecnu extreme, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, deodorant (if i’m forgetting to mention anything i’m sure i tried it)…a second round of prednizone pills did nothing!….i even put on eucalyptus oil just so i could burn rather than itch….but that only lasted only about 30 minutes….desperate i read reviews on zanfel and decided what’s $40 when i’m at the point of ripping off my skin….within 5 minutes i experienced relief…i could not believe i felt almost human again…..a tube only covered my body twice (very little amount in the tube) and it’s extremely expensive but the price is worth not wanting to be shot and taken out of the pain….i went to the doc after the first tube to see if i could get something additional to help me sleep….turns out i also have a secondary infection from the poison oak (easy to get with open wounds) so i’m taking 3 perscriptions: an antibiotic, something a bit stronger than benedryl to help me sleep and a double dosage of prednizone starting at 6 pills a day….with that and another tube of zanfel, applied last night, i had my first restful sleep in months….today the sores are notibliy drying up and i’m applying aloe vera to try to get rid of the leathery scaly sunburn-looking skin….i have a third tube of zanfel (there goes $120 !!!) to apply when itching becomes unbearable as the day wears on ~ ZANFEL is well worth the money and saved my sanity….the end is in site!….

  27. Jamie

    I too get PI a number of times each year. I have tried many many products over the years. I always wash with a degreaser of some kind as soon as I can get to a shower. That has always reduced my PI rashes, but I still get the rash a lot of times.
    I am currently battling my 3rd case of PI this year. The 1st 2 cases were healed very quickly with the use a fairly new product (not meant for PI/o/s) found at http://www.the-team.biz/mv1030758. I was able to get rid of the 1st 2 cases of PI in a week or less using this juice as a topical. This product is a functional food beverage, a fruit juice that is pacted full of antioxidants, and a lot of nutrients. I had been consuming this product for a few weeks when I got PI the 1st time this year. From my research on antioxidants and free-radicals, I thought that if the antioxidants were so vital for my body to fight free-radicals and promote healing, what would these high amounts of antioxidants & nutrients do for PI & other skin irritations.
    I have been amazed at the results. The itching was gone in a matter of a minute or less. I applied it 2-3 times per day(as the itching returned) as well as consumed it as I had been. The 1st 2 cases of PI were cleared up in about a week.
    My now 3rd case, is a very severe case covering both arms, both legs, stomach, face, & neck. A good friend that is also consuming the juice, tried in on his PO & noticed good results with the juice for reducing the itch, since he had PO badly on his face he bought Zanfel as well & had great results with the Zanfel. Since my 3rd case is so bad, he recommended Zanfel as a possible solution since it is on my face & neck as well. I had never heard of Zanfel and I am doing some research and landed on this site. I am currently on day 4 of my 3rd case (severe one at that) of PI. The juice takes the itch out very quickly, but I am researching Zanfel just in case the juice won’t kick this one.
    I am not recommending the juice as a remedy for PI/O/S, but it has done wonders for my overall health & wellness and reduced my joint pains. It is not a drug, but a Nutritious fruit juice blend that has done wonders for many peoples health & wellness.
    I just wanted to let people know that there is natural products out there that promote healing as well help with your overall heath & well being. This juice did help my last 2 cases of PI & is stopping the itch for my current case of PI. My friend said that the Zanfel did work for his PO as well. He now has PI, and is currently using the juice to treat it, because it is not on his face. The real benefit of using the juice for PI is the fact I already have it on hand & consume it for my health & wellness regularly, so it has not been an added cost to try it on my PI. I don’t know that I would buy it just for PI/O/S.

  28. Ellen

    Thank you so much for such an interesting evening of reading! I found this site to be funny at times and very informative. I would also like to say what has recently worked so well for my family. I have found a product that was a God sent that is called “Ivy Dry Scrub”. This product is 1/2 the price of Zanfel and worked Great. I also compared the ingredients on both Zanfel and Ivy Dry scrub and found them to be very similar. There was also a new ingredient called Zytrel. I would highly recommend this product, which I purchased online. As a side note I did notice that they have many other products other than just the Ivy Dry Scrub! I have purchased the Ivy Dry Super in the past and it has given my husband relieve from the intense itching. I clearly don’t understand why Zanfel costs so much money?? After reading everything here I still have no answers to that question!

  29. Dan

    You want to know what really works? Either take a shower with dish soap within 4-6 hrs of exposure, or if it’s too late and you already experience symptoms, just itch the crap out of it until it bleeds/hurts. Sounds crazy, yes, but it’s never spread when I do this, it doesn’t leave scars, and I would much rather have a little bit of pain and some scabs for a fews days. Plus it helps the “weeping” process. Anyone who tells you not to itch it is crazy in my opinion.

  30. Paul

    Indeed an amazing thread, so let me add my two cents as a recent sufferer who has done a lot of research. As some have mentioned, everyone will react differently to the oil and to the cures, but there definitely are some commonalities.
    If you have had it before, and severely, you will almost certainly be more susceptible in the future so remember to take precautions (as I never seem to heed my own advice). Once you have had a good soapy shower you have almost certainly removed the oil from the surface. So if you get more outbreaks, either you have oil on your shoes, clothes, bedding, anyplace you touched since coming in from contact – this can be maddening to find and clean all you have possibly touched (use rubbing alcohol). If still getting more outbreaks then it is likely systemic – you need prednisone, it works for the majority of people. There are many drugs and things that may not be the best for us, but at least for me a course (which is a tapered dosing) works fantastic and is worth the risks.
    Hot water is great for reducing the itch and as most have noted can last several hours. That is all it does, doesn’t make it go away quicker. After you wash thoroughly it is definitely not contagious to others or even yourself (i.e. spreading is either new contact or systemic).
    As for topical creams and cures, I haven’t used any other than cortisone and some samples from the doc, none of which did much if anything. I think whether it be tecnu or zanfel or a homemade concoction (I like the spermicide, clearasil, Dr. Scholls combo idea but no one seems to have written back with their experience), you have to see what will work best. I have a small case now and will check out the options at the drugstore, but even though I don’t necessarily want to spend $40 on a tube, how much does a doctor visit or two cost, and the pain and suffering. Guaranteed several months from now you won’t be thinking about the $40 or even $100 if you eventually found what works for you.

  31. DG

    I recently got an allergic reaction to a mango, which apparently is the same type as PI or PO. I never knew mangoes were related to such evil plants. I tried Zanfel today and it only very slightly reduced the itch. I used it twice and it almost made it worse because my face was hurting from the beads in it (my entire face is covered and swolen). I am going to wait it out until tomorrow and see if the swelling/itchiness goes down at all. I have to thank all the people here though for putting up all their home remedies. I just wish that a medicine that worked for some worked for all 🙁

  32. JW

    I’m blessed to not be allergic to this nasty little plant. My wife on the other hand seems like she gets it by looking at the stuff. And when she does it’s like a small speck on her ankle ends up all over her whole body in small patches and blisters.
    My son is the same way. Last year he got in some poison oak and it spread to his face and it looked like he had been burnt (blisters and all). He was swollen up and otherwise miserable.
    We live in The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and run a resort (see http://www.theofficialpigeonforgecabinguide.com ) and this plant as well as poison ivy are about everywhere you want to go. If you go near a stream or hike in our area, it’s not hard to find. Many times your dog will bring it back with it on it’s fur.
    We;; my wife discovered something called Maries Poison Oak soap and she absolutely swears by it. It seems to be the quickest remedy for halting the spread and process tat comes with being in contact with the itchy plants.
    Oh well, I hope this helps someone out.

  33. Lee Lee

    Poison Sumac Here!
    Tackling my new boyfriends untouched landscaping,oak trees abound ,and unexplored for 3yrs or more, I was determined to make it a garden oasis (true love). Being from the south, we do not fear; whether it be snakes, bugs, weeds, etc. Right now I am on my fourth day with Sumac P and virtually no itch and with light pink rash, recipe for success is any facial scrub with grit in it ( facial ones are gentler for those more gentle (or genital)areas, rinse immediately and pat dry (wash that towel) apply wart remover, basically salicylic acid, apply only where needed with the little brush (previous comments somebody over did this with an acne wash or similar product) the brush is so tiny you cant over do it. It may feel like a light burning sensation for seconds, then poof! No itch and redness down immediately! I did not realize I had PS as I had a blood test the day prior to contracting and thought I was having a reaction to the cuff used. (latex) Had I known it was PS, I would already be cured. Love this blog so informative and it seems everyone has treatments that work and (some that dont) for a lot less cost than Zanfel.

  34. Michelle

    Update on my 11 year old son, after repeating the Walgreens brand of Zanfel the 2nd night, the itching came back the next night so I got some Technu Extreme. He said it still felt pretty good being rubbed in, but not as gritty as the Zanfel. I also applied vitamin E to all the areas since his skin looked so dry. The next morning it looked great (the itching was gone) but when he got home from school that afternoon, there was much more spreading & the new areas itched like crazy. So I just took him to the Dr. (since he’d already had it for 2 weeks…time to stop the madness!) & was prescribed some Prednizone tablets. After taking these for 24 hours, the PO was virtually gone! Anyway, I think the Zanfel & Technu Extreme scrubs work temporarily to stop the itching, but don’t help much with spreading. Plus I think my son is really allergic.

    Also, be sure to wash all the clothes, shoes, and other items that might have come in contact with the PO. Otherwise it’s possible to keep “refreshing” yourself with PO.

  35. ronniereyes

    Today is my 13th day since getting poison ivy. The itching is pretty much gone, and there are marks but its more like scar tissue. The key was probably getting prednisone into my system last wednesday, and the Zanfel and Tecnu Extreme scrubs. I also had some rx cortisone to apply when a new bump would appear. The first week was pretty bad and I pity people who are more susceptible than I had been. I cannot imaging having this more than once or twice in a lifetime, nevermind several times in a season, however, if it comes up again in the future I would probably do what I just did. I have to say, the scrubs, either with the Zanfel or the Tecnu Extreme were ecstatic.

  36. Michelle

    Hans, I thank you for this wonderful website! I have read this entire thread over the past few hours (in b/w attempting getting some work done!) My 11 year old son broke out over a week ago, mostly on his legs. I originally bought Hydrocortisone & benadryl cream for the itching, but didn’t work too well. My son would scatch in his sleep & spread it even more. We heard from a friend about this “wash” that seemed to stop the itching with at least 2 applications, if not 1. I nearly fainted when I saw the price, so opted for the Walgreens brand. He loved the relief while I was scrubbing it on…he kept asking if I was using my nails! The itch was gone for the rest of the night & didn’t return until the next evening. (last night) So I squeezed what I could remaining in the tube (wasn’t able to use 1 1/2 inches each time) & repeated last night & this morning he claimed to be itch free! We’ll see how he feels tonight. I have to say that some of the new areas are very red now but for the most part, it looks like it’s drying up. I am going to try EMU oil to hydrate the skin a little. If he starts to itch again, I will probably get Technu Extreme since it’s so much cheaper. Good luck to everyone!

  37. ronniereyes

    I just had my first poison ivy or oak attack in my 61 years. I guess I was not previously allergic or something because I’ve certainly been exposed. I was barehandedly unwrapping a dogweed tree of vines enveloping it last Tuesday. About 3/4 of the way through I put on gloves. Around Thursday, rashes started to appear. By the weekend, I was beside myself with physical discomfort. On Sunday, I called my Dr. and got a prescription for a cortisone cream, after spending many dollars on various otc gels and creams which did almost nothing. By Wednesday, I thought insanity might takeover, so I called my Dr. (of 30 yrs) again and he gave me a prescription for prednisone. I took it, and in an hour I could feel it working. However, some of the rashes I had were still rather intrusive. I was referred to Zanfel by someone, and I went out and got it at WalMart for about $5 off regular retail. I followed directions closely, and got immediate relief on my arms. It was the first time I was physically content in a week. A couple of hours later, some itching began in areas I might have not focused on. I re-treated, and went to bed. I woke up without any itching in those areas. Theres a lot more areas to treat, but theyre spotty, and after reading this blog, I went out this morning and bought some Tecnu Extreme to test in those areas. So far, and its only been a few minutes, the Tecnu Extreme is giving me similar good results in spots, for 4 oz over 1 oz at less than half the cost. In retrospect, I probably should have tried the Tecnu Extreme first and saved a couple of bucks, but either way, I’m pretty happy.

  38. Eleanor

    I just tried the lovely expensive Z and I wasn’t too impressed. Yes, it felt good, but then it burned. I could deal with that if it helped since my right leg was being rapidly covered. But it didn’t help much. Within a short time I was itching horrible again. I am now on steroid unfortunately as I went through everything else and I was starting to have throat scratchiness. It was/is bad. But the pred is doing wonders. The reason for my post though is when hubby bought the Z for me yesterday at CVS, they told him if I tried it and it didn’t work, that they would refund. I am taking it back tomorrow to see if they will make good on that offer.

  39. Jason Z

    I Tried Zanfeltwo days ago and it woorked very well for me. In the past I’ve had very severe poison oak. Once my faced swelled, my eyes closed and I looked like the elephant man. I just broke out 4 days ago on my face and neck. I Decided to try Zanfel before heading to the Doctors office. I am pleased to report the Zanfel worked as advertised, no doctor visit and no prednisone this time. Has any one tried the “mean Green” hand cleaner? I was told that the inventor of Zanfel actually used to be a distributor of the mean green hand cleaner…..

  40. Betsy

    Very helpful site — thank you! There are some very creative, if desperate, sufferers out there. I am a week into a medium case of PI on hands, stomach & legs — no idea what I touched although I was bushwhacking last weekend. I have found that running very hot water over the blisters (be careful not to scald yourself) is extremely effective for me at stopping the itch for about 4-5 hours, though I still have the horrid red streaks and giant blisters. After reading all the posts, it sounds like some sort of exfoliant scrub (the various formulas are hilarious) is what works for many. Not having apricot scrub at hand, I just took toothpaste and mixed it up with some ground up aspirin tablets (one person said that thesalicylic acid acts as a topical exfoliant) and gently scrubbed some test areas for about a minute, then rinsed with plenty of hot water. So far the results are good — the areas are not itchy at all and the blisters seem to be drying up. I will update if anything dramatic happens. Good luck to everyone and thanks for the advice (and entertainment)!

  41. Jeff

    I don’t think zanfel has an ‘active’ ingredient. I believe every ingredient listed is all that’s in it. There is no ‘magic’ to it. As you know urushiols are oils and insoluble in water. Zenfel’s ingredients are pretty much all surfactants, detergents, and soaps. Well what does soap do? It attaches to the non-polar oil molecules and polar water molecules, making the oils soluble by forming an emulsion. Note that the last step in applying the zanfel is to thoroughly wash off all of the zanfel. I think that you’re simply washing off the oils with the zanfel detergent. I’ve been paying $30 for a 1 oz tube of soap.

  42. jenjen

    great thread!
    I decided to try the hot water treatment (had a mild case already 3 weeks old, and thought if it went wrong it wouldn’t kill me!)
    WOW what a good result – feels like scratching while the hot water runs on it, and then sfterwards no itching for the rest of the day/night, and a big improvement in how the scabs were looking – much more normal than the raised, scaly scabs before.
    Maybe getting the blood flow, and the deep hydration of the hot water?
    Spoke to a friend who gets great relief from a hair dryer, so I don’t know if the water is necessary or not.
    when you realise you have the rash coming, start sleeping in long sleeved/legged pajamas. Even with Tecnu washing, I’ve found that I get mirror rashes where affected skin touches other skin (knee to knee or arm to belly) so full pajamas reduces risk of further spread.
    purchase alcohol swabs (the little sachets they use before injections) you can buy boxes of them at pharmacies, keep them with you throughout the day for temporary relief. It’s cooling and feels like the alcohol disolves/draws out any of oils/toxins the skin is pushing out… whatever it is it calms the itching well and seems to reduce spread.

  43. Robert Wessel

    my wife boiled up a poultice of local Manzanita leaves and bark, comphrey and jewelweed . It is an old remedy from the local Pomo indians. Leave the hot poultice on the effected skin for fifteen minutes. It is amazingly soothing. One thing that i have found that stops the itching is Sonne’s No.7 detox which is mechanically active
    colloidal bentonite normally used internally for fasting but it coats the rash and stops the itching for a few hours. Zanfel sounds incredibly toxic and too expensive.

  44. Rose

    Thanks for this site. At least I had a few laughs while waiting for the clinic to open.
    I am one of those people that have a severe systemic reaction to poison ivy, sumac, and oak. If I get the tiniest exposure, I break out all over my body over the course of a week. However, it usually takes a few days for the first evidence to appear. Usually I think it’s a few mosquito bites at first, until the tell-tale tingling itch starts.
    I went to the doctor this morning and showed him the scattered individual blisters on one forearm, knees, behind the knees, neck, chin, ears, etc. and he said, “I’m not sure if that’s poison ivy…” Then I showed him a line of blisters on the other elbow and he said, “now that looks like it.”
    It was weird, wondering if he’d believe me when I said that in about 48 hours, the blisters would join into massive, thick, swollen, dripping leper-flesh, I would be unrecognizable and that I needed a steroid pack.
    He suggested a depo-medrol shot instead, saying that it would last 21 days and be easier on my liver. I agreed. That was about 4 hours ago and I’ve begun to break out on my back, stomach, and chest.
    I hope it starts to work soon.
    I’ve been using an old bottle of Technu to repeatedly wash the early outbreaks and as long as I do it every two hours or so…it seems to help the itching. The Zanfel feels good while I’m rubbing it in, but it breaks the blisters and I end up itching just as much under the gauze as it oozes. It’s hard to to scream.
    If there is a hell, it’s not a burning lake of fire. It’s a swimming pool full of urushiol.

  45. Julianna

    Thank you Hans for this wonderful thread and I would like to offer an update on my condition should anyone else stumble upon this series of comments. I am now 12 days into my first poison oak episode and must say that I am becoming very discouraged. I have been on prednisone since day 3 of exposure (when I first noticed the rash) and have been to my concerned doctor 4 times since that first visit. I am now on 60 mg prednisone and have undergone a series of blood tests to rule out any other medical/immune/inflammation issues. My blood work came back perfectly normal with the exception of high WBC (white blood cell count) due to the prednisone. I am STILL getting new whelps on my thighs and stomach. It is interesting that these new areas are only where my forearms (initial outbreak) have touched. If this is systemic, why am I not getting outbreaks on my back or calves or other areas? My new outbreaks are in direct correlation with where my blistered forearms could have touched. I now wish I had slept those first 5 nights with light pajamas instead of in my underwear. I really believe that the blisters are contagious to other parts of one’s body (I don’t think that other’s will get it touching the blisters, just the host).
    Zanfel did absolutely nothing for me. I even did experiments on new outbreaks to see if the healing was any different and I can honestly say that the Zanfel had absolutely no effect on my poison oak.
    The hot shower spray and blow dryer have probably given me the most relief but I also question whether this has lead to the spread of the new areas.
    Sarna cream is pleasant although has no effect on healing. My doctor wanted me to dry out the rash and Calagel is effective in giving relief and drying the oozing blisters and does provide some comfort.
    All in all, I think that time is what heals in severe cases. I read somewhere that the best and most effective treatment is to go buy the best bag of pot you can find and stay high until it runs it’s course. I do wish I smoked pot, I’d try it.
    I had no idea that poison oak was like this and I truly feel for anyone who is left to google for relief.
    Here are pictures of my progression for anyone interested:

  46. Julianna

    Wow Hans! It looks like you started this thread in 2003 and you are still getting comments. I am very thankful for this post and all of the comments. I think I have spent most of the afternoon reading everything I can about this horrible affliction.
    This is my first experience with poison oak/ivy and I am astonished at how disgusting and painful and miserable I am at the moment. I was playing golf 4 days ago and went to fetch a ball in a barren shrub just off the cart path (San Juan Oaks is now called San Juan Poison Oaks as far as I am concerned!).
    I went to the doctor when I first realized what I had and he gave me a prednisone RX of 40mg for 5 days – reading online, I am now questioning this dosage but I will deal with that in the next few days if my oozing blisters are still actively festering.
    My husband doesn’t believe that the blisters are not contagious and has not kissed me in 4 days (I have a very impressive blister fester between my upper lip and nose – ATTRACTIVE!). Most of my infestation is on my forearms and honestly, I don’t think that my skin can handle much more pressure from the fluid filled blisters on top of blisters.
    I have tried everything and am only 4 days into my bout – well, I haven’t tried the contraceptive foam but that may be purchased tomorrow.
    I bought the generic Zanfel at RiteAid and other than my skin being REALLY dry after two treatments, I am not noticing anything. Honestly, the Sarna lotion is the only slight relief that I get for a limited time. It feels cool and takes the itch away for a couple of hours. I don’t seem to be getting too many new blister clusters so am hopeful that I am going through the worst of it right now. From now on, if I hear of anyone with poison oak or ivy, I will be tremendously sympathetic. I had no idea that it was like this.
    The pharmacist at RiteAid told me I should see my doctor and get steroids after looking at my forearms, I told him that I have been on steroids for 3 days and then he said for me to get benadryl. I did get a nice sleep in this afternoon after taking the benadryl so I suppose that was good advice.
    The hot water also feels good but is only temporary for me – I also wonder if it makes my blisters fester more afterwards because of the dilation.
    Thank you for this thread and I really appreciate the opportunity to read all of the advice from so many people.
    I hope I never have the occasion to research this topic ever again in my life.

  47. ted

    The best way I’ve found to control poison oak once the rash is forming or is about to form, is with a vinegar compress.
    I use paper towels soaked with vinegar (any type vinegar will do) and apply to the affected area. Apply pressure if possible, as long as possible, over 2 or 3 days. It will sting a little, but it’s worth it.
    The area will turn red and be swollen, but it will neutralize the oils and keep it from oozing and spreading. Then it just takes some time for the rash scars to heal.

  48. Charles

    I was working in the yard around (actually two days before) Thanksgiving 2007 and was pulling roots and weeds out of the ground. It was warm, I was sweating a lot, must have rubbed my eyes and nose because that’s where the PO/PI landed.
    Currently about 13 days into this and I can’t say I’m “out of the woods” yet, so to speak. The rash(es) are still at nearly peak and I’m still very uncomfortable and disfigured facially around the nose and eyes. The only “Remedy” I’ve tried so far is regular Technu. The Technu seems to help somewhat in that the redness seems to diminish after about 24 hours but the odd thing is that I seem to be having rebounds. What I mean is that in the mirror, the redness calms down a bit but NOT the itching and scaliness. My skin feels super dry.
    But, the same areas will get worse again, then better again and so forth.
    So, after using regular Technu for two days, all I can say is the the rash is not as RED….but the itching and burning is just as bad. Which somewhat confuses me as I would have thought that if the redness decreases, the itching, and burning would also. I will say that the OOZING has dried up somewhat also so I can say there HAS been a little improvement from the Technu.
    SInce it was $6.00, I’m not disappointed.
    Today I’m going to buy “TechnuExtreme” because they say it “binds” better to the molecules of the PO/PI better. We’ll see.
    I also think it’s important for people to remember that everyone is different. Similar maybe, but different. So One person’s experience doesn’t necessarily mean your will be the same with the exact same treatment.
    One thing I can say, if you have a spouse or significant other suffering from this, it is a VERY bad thing and causes not only sever discomfort, but loss of sleep and degrades general well-being….Which can lead to irritability. Try to have extra patience with a PI/PO/PS sufferer.
    I’ll comment tomorrow or in a few days about my results with TechNu Extreme.

  49. Jeanne Barnett

    We just moved to a 6.5 acre property in the country – kind of an early retirement, after 53 years in cities and the place was loaded with PI, PO and PS. My first case of PI sent me to the Internet and the name jewelweed kept turning up. We happen to have this plant growing around our pond. I tried it in various forms, such as a mash applied like a poultice, a tincture in a jar with witch hazel and alcohol, and as a bath additive just by taking the plant in the bath with me, breaking the stems and letting the sap go directly on the breakouts. It all helped to a degree and I got several hours of itch relief from my home concoctions, though, so that was good, but I went to the Internet again and found a company that makes salve, spray and soap from jewelweed and it wasn’t expensive so I ordered the ‘kit’. The spray is used as a preventive (spray on before going into the weeds) and the soap is just a great soap generally, but also claims to remove the oils after exposure, and I think it does for minor exposure. The salve is also a great herbal-sweet smelling moisturizing product – and I just love it on my face! Seriously, I really love the products and I spent weeks of working in my yard believing in these products as the miracle antidote for PI. Then a week or so ago we went into a thicket just loaded with PI and PO with a hedge-trimmer and I got a HUGE dose of airborne urushiol on both of my forearms, and some on my chest, neck, ears and back. The only place I didn’t get it was on my legs, but I was wearing heavy denim overalls. And you see, I was very careful to not actually TOUCH the plants, but when you damage them like with the hedge trimmer, they release their evil into the air and you can absolutely get it that way. My beloved jewelweed products did not protect me from such an exposure, and about 36 hours after the battle in the thicket, I began to break out horribly on all the above mentioned areas, mostly on my forearms so in desperation on Day 3, with weeping blister bubbles fairly coating both of my entire swollen arms, I broke down and bought the CVS version of zanfel. I noticed immediate improvement. Day 4, I still had to keep the weeping blisters wrapped, but they looked like they were going to dry up at some point in the near future and the spreading seemed to have stopped. The evening of Day 4 I went to CVS for another tube (theirs doesn’t last long either) and they were SOLD OUT!! AHHH! I screamed in the store. As bad as this PI was, I still just couldn’t do the $40 bucks for the real Zanfel, so I took the advice I had read before on this very website about making it yourself and I walked around and bought a vaginal spermicidal foam (kid behind counter looked at me a little funny as I am years past needing that particular product), anyway, bought the spermicide, the St. Ives Apricot Scrub and a generic, oil-free foaming cleanser (also CVS brand). Came home and after shooting spermicide on the bathroom ceiling (never actually used the stuff in my youth) I figured out how to get a measured applicator dose into a cup, mixed it with the scrub and the cleanser, only about a full tablespoon of each, got over the heebie jeebies of what this mixture contained and scrubbed my patches with it. It felt just as good as the CVS zanfel — actually smelled a little better — and I was grinning all over because it cost next to nothing in comparison. I rinsed with superhot water which in and of itself is an exquisitely itch-relieving treatment, and went to bed, itch free, with a smile on my face. I did wrap my arms that night just in case the oozing continued, but woke up the next day with an amazing and noticeable improvement. Bear in mind this is only Day 5. The entire day my arm just continued to dry up steadily, I took two more showers throughout the day when the itching was bothersome, both times using my spermicide mix, and by Day 6, the entire PI process had stopped. No more weeping, all the rash was drying and scabbing over beautifully and NOT itching. I’d have to say that the nonoxynol has to be the magic ingredient. I had tried all other methods before throughout my life (even though PI exposure was limited in my old neighborhoods, there were still occasions – like the time I got it from nuzzling the family cat) but I had tried bleach, baking soda, blah blah blah, and I say, use jewelweed for minor exposures, but Honey, if you really get dosed with PI, go for the spermicide and nevermind the kid behind the counter!

  50. Anonymous

    I’ve been exposed to PI and PO all my life as a child. I can’t remember a spring I didn’t get it. Mom was quick to wash it off of me immediately. It’s true that if you wash it off with just plain water, as soon as you’ve touched it, the water will dilute the oils immediately. The problem is you also have to make sure you get your hands as well as the side of your leg, where you may have brushed up against it, or your foot or whatever. Most people are so busy panicking that they tend to forget their hands. Well, a week ago I wasn’t sure if I had brushed up against some PO or not, figured I probably hadn’t and didn’t think much about it after that. The next morning I was less than thrilled to find a very large patch of it on my left and right arms. With blisters on top of blisters, the size of dimes, to boot. Oh yeah…this was PO alright. And it was spreading like wild fire. I decided to take matters into my own hands and pop all the blisters and SCRUB my arms in *COLD* (NEVER USE HOT WATER!!! IT OPENS PORES!!!) water with bleach (That’s the way I was told to do it. Part water Part Bleach) and afterward pour rubbing alcohol on the area. The bleach doesn’t hurt but MAN THE ALCOHOL DOES!! Well, that worked well for a small time. The bleach kills any bacteria and dilutes most of the PO and the alcohol stops the itching IMMEDIATELY and dries the area out. However, it also kills all the oils on your skin, that are there to PROTECT your skin to help fight the dreaded monster and help you heal. I wasn’t told that part until *after the fact*. But anyway…something was definitely different. I was told that within 2 days the PO or PI would be dried up and gone but it was still spreading. I couldn’t understand what was happening. Before I knew it it was day 6, it had spread all over me and my arms had swelled almost to the size of my legs and my face looked like Will Smiths did on the movie “Hitch” when he ate that shell fish. I rushed myself to the E.R. only to be told I had apparently developed a severe allergy to PO later in life (it’s been 20 years since my last “brush”, if you will, with this monstrous crap) and they gave me prednisone, with a prescription for a weeks worth and promised me I’d be a whole new woman by morning. Now, mind you…I’m 35 years old. 5′ 1″, 112#. The fact that my arms were the size of my LEGS made me rather skeptical to hearing “you’ll be a whole new woman by morning”…OK?!? But sure enough, the next morning, my arms WERE back to normal and 70% of the PO was gone. By day 2 80% was gone and now I am on day 3 and I dare say that if I could just stop scratching that last 20% I’d have the rest of it gone by tomorrow. But I think I rather enjoy scratching that last little bit. It almost feels like revenge. lol.
    My advice? If you have insurance or have the means to which you can get to a physician and you can handle steroids…go get them. The doctor, in the ER, told me that this was Gods way of warning me never to be exposed to this stuff again. Had it gone into my mouth somehow (lets face it, we pick our teeth, put our fingers in our mouth, etc…) or my lungs, it would have been a matter of minutes before I would have suffocated, once it had really started to grow in there. I’m NOT saying that that’s going to happen to anyone else. But are you sure you want to take that risk? I know I never will again. I was instructed to come to the Emergency Room IMMEDIATELY the moment I saw even a single spot growing on me, if I’m exposed to any of the PI family again and let them know I have a severe allergy to the stuff so that I can be started on prednisone right away. I never had a reaction like that before, not even once and I’ve had PO and PI MANY MANY times! But out of no where, all of a sudden I have a severe allergy that could cost me my life and I’m told that it’s perfectly normal to develop allergies later in life rather than at a younger age. The bottom line is this and I’d like to say that **I AM NOT TRYING TO SCARE ANYONE OR TRYING TO CAUSE MASS HYSTERIA OR WORRY ANYONE SO PLEASE DON’T THINK THAT** But, If you find yourself swelling up or the PI or PO or PS that you’ve been exposed to is spreading at a rapid pace or just anything out of the ordinary or unusual happening (not just the usual bumps that itch and keep you up at night)…GO TO YOUR HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY! It is not worth waiting for a miracle cream to do the job. Your loved ones will thank you.

  51. Terry

    Photos: http://www.geocities.com/tjelcick/leg.html
    The photos are of a case of poison oak I caught a few years ago after helping a friend at his property up in the Sierras. It started as a very small spot on the inside of my wrist where I apparently pulled my glove up and touched my wrist. That night I slept in my van in my sleeping bag and had my wrist between my knees curled up for warmth. Bad idea.
    At one point I had four Maxi-Pads (which I bought in the mega pack) strapped with gauze to each inner thigh which became soaked like a wet baby’s diaper and had to be replaced every hour. The band-aid was the result of a biopsy. Doctors had not seen anything like it. It lasted four months.
    Since that time I head straight to the doctor for a shot and pills. The most effective: 80mg of DEPOMEDROL worked overnight. Don’t know if my eyesight has been affected by steroids or not.
    I have spent over $1K in OTC meds (including the Z and Tecnu)and doctor visits in the past year for four cases of poison oak.
    After advise from an old friend who was a nurse I currently use bleach after contact. I soak a white washcloth with the stuff and wipe my entire body. This is something you want to do with pleanty of fresh air as I damn near asphyxiated my self doing it in a small shower stall. I then wash with Fels Naptha soap. So far so good. Haven’t had to make a doctor visit.
    Understand, bleach is bad stuff and can kill you. I only use it because I’m desperate and assume it may be less lethal than steroids. I had a series of Anthrax shots while in the military years back just prior to that bad case in the photos and feel it may have something to do with the fact poison oak goes systemic with me so easily.

  52. m.vitkay

    I had poison ivy for 40 days. I learned that if you breakout
    on day 3, you most likely will continue to breakout on day 25.
    Day 2 my rash started on the wrists, then quickly moved to my
    beltline, my whole abdomen, shins and ankles,thighs and
    then my face. What an experience!
    On day 14, I went to the doctor for a six-day Prednisone Pack.
    I tried this because my feet were starting to swell. The Prednisone reversed the swelling and minimized breakouts. Also
    helpful are long-acting antihistamines such as Benadryl or Allegra. My doctor prescribed 24-hour Allegra so I could sleep
    through the night without itches. I also used Aveeno products.
    I liked Aveeno calamine and pramoxine Anti-Itch Cream. It contains oatmeal too. The small tube is easy to carry for itch
    attacks. I carried CVS alcohol prep pads(individually wrapped)
    with me too for itches.
    Since my body accumulated a lot of histamine by late eveing, for 3a.m. spot itch attacks, I tried Dawn for Dishes in dabs,
    and it worked to stop the itching. I also used CVS disposable
    bed pads, because I grew tired of washing my fitted bed sheets
    each morning! This saved me some time anyway.
    Long sleeves, pants and garden gloves DID NOT protect me from
    poison ivy when I picked up and bagged some hedge clippings. The plant oil is clear, heavy and SOAKS right through your clothes. If you are perspiring at all, you won’t notice it on
    your gloves or clothes. Just, avoid contacting this plant. Control it with Round-Up Spray. Dead twigs and roots will still
    cause the rash, if you contact them. Dead dried out stems still
    rooted in soil might very well be a poison ivy bush.
    If you have to use household pantry items to control your rash, avoid all manner of cleaners that might burn your skin or cause you liver troubles or even cancer. Use natural items like oatmeal, baking soda and salt as scubs. I used Zanfel and the CVS version of it Poison Ivy Scrub. These felt soothing and gave about 5 hour itch relief. Zanfel did seem to make my skin redder at times.
    This whole episode cost me $500 and I became quite self-absorbed for several weeks. Hope you can avoid this ordeal!

  53. Diane Blankenship

    I have been trying to find some place that I could post my comments about Zanfel. I have had numerous cases of poison ivy during my 54 years on this earth. I usually stay away from any weeds, etc. But a few weeks ago, I was picking tomatoes and corn in my garden and I got one of the worst cases of poison ivy I haver ever had. I awoke the next day with it every where. You see, I was in my bathing suit as I worked away in the August heat. I went to the doctor although he will usually call me in a prescription but my eyes were swollen, etc. I got the usual prescription and a variety of itch creams and went home to suffer. I did buy Zanfel as I had read about it on the internet. There it was in the store, the cost $34.00. But I was desperate. I couldn’t believe how wonderfully it worked. I immediately stopped itching. After 8 hours, I felt a little itchy so I reapplied the Zanfel. Not only did it get rid of the itching but the blisters disappeared. This was going to be one of the worst cases of poison ivy I had ever had. It was on the palms of my hands, over most of my body, on my face, in my ears, etc. I have told everyone about my experience with Zanfel–friends, my doctor, the pharmasist. It was the best $34 I ever spent. In fact, I bought another tube just to have on hand in case I ever become brain dead again and get in weeds. Thanks so much for letting me tell my story.
    Diane Blankenship

  54. Barbara

    Chopped weeds beyond ditch on Sat. with a weed whacker. Started itching on lower legs on Sun. evening. Red welts appeared on Mon. Used baking soda to relieve itching. Made it bearable. Called Dr. on Wed. Told me to get benadryl for itch and the nurse practitioner could see me Fri. She said she hoped it wasn’t poison sumac and the poison can go deep. Got a prescription for predisone and triamcinolone cream for the itch. By Monday I’d taken 8 predisone and used the ointment twice a day. Nothing seemed changed and the ointment wasn’t any more effective than the baking soda or benadryl. That afternoon I heard about zanfel from someone who said it cleared her affliction up in two days and she had gotten it from a friend who had good results with it also. I first called the nurse to see it she would okay my using it. She had never heard of it and suggested that it I wanted to try it to do see on a small area first. I purchased some that evening and when I saw it was a wash, I used it on the whole afflicted area. I used it twice Monday night and once on Tuesday morning. The itch did not go away completely but I had some relief and liked the fact that I was not slathered with cream. Used the zanfel again Tues. evening but this time it seemed to awaken more and not less of an itching sensation with a slight numbing burning sensation. This time I had some itching sensation where there was no apparent redness. Woke up during the night (about 4 hours later) with more itching, became discouraged with the zanfel and went back to the prescribed cream. It’s Wed. p.m. and still have some itching and many red welts.
    Really appreciate this website as it’s been the most helpful so far. It is comforting to know there are others who have had somewhat the same experiences I’m having.

  55. Ben

    CVS now offers its own version of Zanfel. It’s called Poison-Ivy Scrub. I checked the ingredients and they all the same except Triethanolamine, which the CVS brand doesnt have. After research Triethanolamine is a detergent used in many OTC counter products so not sure that one ingredient alone would make that big of a difference. The CVS verison is also 20 to 30 bucks cheaper at only 19.99. I’ve been using it for two days now and it certainly helped some but its not a miracle cure. While the swelling and itching have gone down the redness of the rash is still there.

  56. lou

    day 3 of poison oak i think between my ring and middle fingers, was weeding under a pine tree picking up sticks. no oozing just thick little blisters not too painful or itchy anymore. i just keep it really clean washing it a lot with dial soap. how long will it take to clear up? will these blisters pop? ive never had this before.

  57. Bill

    I am in day ten of a mild poison ivy outbreak on the inside of my arm.
    A blast of hot water will relieve the itching temporarily by stimulating the affected skin cells to release all their histamine (the mediator causing the itching). They are now depleted for a period of time and the itching will stop temporarily.
    I have also done several washings with auto store handcleaner (Permatex) and it appears to be somewhat stopping the itching.
    This website has been very good at alternatives for the very overpriced Zanfel.

  58. carl

    I was driving the tractor bushhoging a field. Only some small bushs and sapplings were in the field. I would put up my arm in front of my face when it looked like a limb was going to slap me. Got PI on my arm. I wipe the PI spots with paper towel or toliet paper soaked in rubbing alcohol several times a day. Then apply the “wacky wipe out”. That is the stuff lifeguards put on their noses to prvent sunburn. It’s zink oxide. It gives some itch relief. This is day two. I never got PI til I was 30 years old, and now I get it once a year. If it gets worse, I’ll go to the doctor and get the Steroid shot. My wife said she used bleach on her son from a privious marriage. Don’t think I want to try that. Thanx for the great web site.

  59. AnneS

    My husband is suffering from a bad case of poison ivy. He was pulling weeds in our backyard ( which is loaded with p.i.). on Sunday. He broke out on Monday. He’s in Canada working this week and I told him to buy Zanfel or tecnu and some benadryl.
    Tomorrow will be my turn. I was cutting back some overgrowth near my shed because I will be painting it soon, and I stepped in poison ivy and I know I touched it with my hands.
    I went to the local rite-aid and brought the zanfel, the rite-aid brand of zanfel, and some tecnu to the pharmacist and asked his opinion. He told me definitely not zanfel. He said that they got a paper telling them not to recommmend zanfel because studies have shown that it doesn’t work and it’s a huge waste of money for $39.99 a tube. He recommended benadryl and calagel.
    I opted for the tecnu extreme and a box of calagel with a trial size tecnu in it. I spent $21 instead of $40. I took the advice of some of you and showered immediately and used the St. Ives apricot scrub. I’ll put on the tecnu tonight and hopefully, I will have a mild to non existant case of poison ivy.
    Hubby bought some stuff in Canada. Some soap, benadryl and some cream, but he didn’t say what. He said he’s getting some relief, but man, he says he is covered head to toe and his private area. Poor guy!!
    What do you all think about the pharmacist not recommending zanfel?

    It would be interesting to see the paper the pharmicist refers to.

    I normally don’t buy Zanfel because of the cost. Cleaning with Tecnu, soap, and water soon after contact usually works for me. But I do use Zanfel when I have an extreme case since I feel that it works. Others have commented that it doesn’t work for them. For extreme cases I bet $39 is cheap for many to get any kind of relief :’)

    – Hans

  60. Chris Thomas

    I reached this website through Google. There are a number of products advertised on the sidebar. Do you have a comment on the effectiveness of All Stop?

    I’ve only used Tecnu and Zanfel which I have found both work for me.


  61. am

    Forgot to mention rhus toxicodendron is poison ivy…much like Indian remedy to ingest the plant. It is also prescribed for joint aches and tendinitis…which I also have…so I will have to see.

  62. am

    I have red oozing patch on left eyelid. sw nurse practioner who recommended benedryl and then peron in natural food store. Researched homopathis remedies online. Taking homopathic remedy rhus toxicodendron 30. Took loading dose 12 pills last night, now 5pills/3x day. Oozing gone, redness subsiding. May help Robin Chadwick No Calif who posted Mar 2007. $6/83 pills. Have seen on Amazon. Only on one eyelid maybe because I take quercetin daily for allergy. Also bought Burt Bees pi soap $6, veg base, glycerin, oat protein, pine tar, garden balsam leaf (jewelweed). Jewelweed is key ingredient for washing away the oil. used instead of tea tree oil in eye area. Will advise when gone.

  63. C.J.

    I was just wondering if you can pop the little bubbles, wash your hands, and apply your medicine.

    Almost as fun as popping bubble wrap! Heh, well, maybe not. Yes I’ve popped and scrubbed off blisters without any problems. There is a risk of infection if you don’t keep the site clean. And some medication instructs not to apply to exposed wounds. So, pop at your own risk.

  64. .r a

    I have acquired poison oak at 55 for the first time and I am a country girl. I read over and over all posts here and numerous other places as this stuff is real torment,none like I have ever endured before. I am a redhead wth sensitive skin. I don’t know how being raised on a farm that I avoided this menace for so long. Well to begin with I tried witch hazel and alcohol , very brief relief. Believe it or not nail polish remover worked pretty well for me . Then Ivy dry did well. I still have some of this mess, BUT, I had been using apricot scrub to dry up the oil. Well, that and HOT water felt good ! Then I found and read about Zanfel, WAY too expensive , SO, after much pondering and praying and research I went out and bought a female contraceptive foam, I thought foam would work better than the jelly. Beware though some are highly allergic to nonoxynal -9. I got the foam it had more in it than the jelly as well.I put the foam on my itchees for a few minutes and them added some water and scrubed with the apricot scrub, THE BEST relief I have found. Looked SO much better this morning and a LOT cheaper than Zanfel and makes a LOT more ounces to use. Well, my pharmacist told me to take 50mg Benadylr EVERY 4 hours as it seems to be systemic and I do not do well with the horrors of prednisone and cortisone.The foam and the scrub really help the old eruptions but of course will NOT stop the new ones that randomly appear. So when I see a new one I just dig out the treatment ! Zanfel does not prevent new eruptions either. Well, I hope I can spare someone some agony, and this stuff is tormenting agony, it should be named The Devil’s Revenge ! Again some are allergic to N-9 so be wary ! N-9 I discovered is in a lot of cleansers and makeup and haircolor as well. Hey, prayer and prevention is the way to go and N-9 and apricot scrub works good too. God bless each one who is afflicted with this mess !

  65. Stan

    Year ago I used Zanfel, helped especially well for the private parts. Other area less impressed. Ran out of the product quickly as I used it 4 repeated times over 2 days for small areas on legs and the ‘other parts’. While it did seem to speed the recovery and remove the itch my case was fairly mild compared to some photos and descriptions (small localized blister trails). Just found rash appearing again after campout, going to try the TechnuExtreme and will post those results…

  66. Patrick

    After suffering thru the first several days and watching my face swell and my nuts turn into red christmas bulbs. I used Tecnu Extreme and recieved a shot of Keleg to control this crap. I can tell you that after the first 24 hour period of using Tecnu Extreme there is a huge difference in my rash. In addition the steroid shot reduced the swelling and itching and I feel like I might be able to get rid of this much quicker than I anticipated. I’m extremely excited about this becuase I’m terribly allergic to Poison Oak and for the last three days I’ve wanted to take a cheese grater to my balls just to releive the ithcing! Anyway I’ll update again after another 24 hour period. P.S. Thanks for the site it was a life saver

  67. Heather

    I am soooo glad to have stumbled across this site. I am on day 3 of a PO outbreak. I received a 6 day medi pack this morning and the swelling in my face has gone down. Why do we do these stupid things for? Some of us on here have had outbreaks before doing yardwork and removing PO/PI but yet we do it again?! lol Which is how I came in contact with it AGAIN. Knowing full well my last outbreak was bad, I still cleared out PO vines and seedlings from around my yard. Each day I wake up the rash is worse. I do the hot water treatment which I learned of from last time. Its the best feeling, you almost need a cigarette afterwards! lol
    I will be trying the Zanfel(or its cheaper counterpart). I need to look human by Thursday for a night out to see a comedian stand up show. Otherwise I will be looking for some sort of head dress to hide my face! I have tried other methods listed on the internet i.e. vinegar, peroxide, acne pads, bleach, to no avail. I just want to look normal again. I will never EVER EVER EVER go anywhere near poison oak again. I will let ya know how the Zanfel(or its cheaper counterpart)works out. Thanks for the site Hans, its great to find out from others what their treatments have been.

  68. Danica

    Last night was day 8 of utter misery & it seemed that my rash was spreading, so this morning we caved & bought Zanfel (on sale, $10 off happily). One application stopped the majority of my itching, going on 3 hrs now. I don’t know if it’s stopped the entire process, but even 3 hrs of relief from the dreadful itch has been worth $30 to me.

  69. Kurt Funke

    First time at this site. Hopeing to find a place to buy Immune Oak. I took the dose while working for a tree triming comp. In 1983 Contracted by P.G.& E. .You take A 5 vile , one vile a day.If you choose. And yes U-R NOT SUPOSES to come in contac with poison oak while taking Immune Oak. One treat meant lasted up 10 yrs.or more . I made it with out getting P-O about 12 yrs. One comment said possible liver or kidney diese, was the reason it was removed from the market. Has any one read the risk’s of the pre. scrip. DRUGS. WE recive now!!! How about the treatments to RELEAVE P-O . steroids ect. And stil suffering a week or more. The best remd. I fond so far is Tecnu. I applie it as soon as rash starts. AND DO NOT wash it off. And reapplie when itching starts. Usally 3-4 times a day. And no symtons After 2-3 days! I think we should get Immune Oak back on the market. And let us decied to or not to use it. I could roll in P-O without a shirt and not get any singh of it. And yes i did. Why because i was 19yrs. DUMB.

  70. Brian

    I went to the pharmacy for my kid who has poison oak. He recommended the Zanfel but they were out. He then turned to the feminine birth control products and pointed to a vaginal jelly loaded with Monoxnol-9 he said it would work the same. He said Monoxnol fights foreign proteins and that is what is created with a poison oak outbreak. It stands to reason that the skin needs to be cleaned prior to application. I will see what happens.

  71. Erika

    PS – Forgot to mention Solarcaine Burn Relief Aloe Extra Gel – pretty cheap in any drugstore and gives a mild amount of relief for very short periods and helps w/healing (active ingredient is Lidocaine HCL 0.5%) – good to have on hand to kill the insane pain/itch urge when it erupts.
    PPS – Has anyone ever failed the math test?

  72. Robin Chadwick

    I am not even sure what i have is Poison Oak — but pretty sure. I kayak and hike a lot in northern CA — but can usually control PO if wash right away (have necnu)and dab with liquid from boiled manzaneta leaves — but what i am writing about is my eyelids — every few months (winter when not even kayaking) — last night woke up in night with familiar weird feeling on eye lids — now swollen terrible — red angry looking color — last fall i finally gave in and went to MD office and got steriod shot — worked like a charm.
    My question is do others get JUST swollen eye lids? Some people here think I am getting it from people burning brush around homes — and actually these eye bouts do seem to come spring/fall — typical times to burn off shrub.
    SO can i just get PO on eye lids? And what helps eyelids? One thing that helps other parts of my body — and I never do end up getting a bad bout if use this — is boiled manzaneta leaves — I freeze it so can keep long time.
    Any suggestions for just on eye lids?
    this is a great site, read everyting. . .robin in sonora

  73. Brian

    Tip update: If you think you are getting PO or think that you were exposed to it, and you feel that tingle coming on then just rinse/wash with good old fashioned Rubbing Alcohol. I wash my hands with the alcohol then wash with any kind of shampoo and then repeat if I feel it is necessary. If the oil is gone so is the itch. I realize rubbing alcohol is pretty hash on the skin, but I found it to be the most effective/cheapest/available thing on the market. Zanfel was ok just way too expensive.
    Warning: If you do this as a consistent treatment for an active infection your skin can get so dry that the feeling of the dry skin almost feels like the PO. The dry skin tricked me for a good week. I kept hammering what I thought was the PO, but it was just dry skin. If your skin starts cracking to the point of bleeding, then suspend the treatment until it heals up.

  74. Emilie

    Great site! Lots of good info.Clothes washing was my main concern and I think I will wash the stuff one more time. Got my current case of PI from tops of neighbor’s evergreens that snapped under ice storm damage and fell into my yard. As I hauled the last one to the drainage ditch for pick up I saw the masses of tendrils from the PI at the top where they went for sunshine in our lovely midwest winter. Egads!! It is NEVER DEAD. I am on prednisone and an antihistamine after fighting with other products 18 days. Decided I am having worse reactions each year and may try hiring out the spring trimming that will be coming up. PI all over back of my yard. Probably be cheaper than Dr and Rx. Thanks for all the info.

  75. adam

    Just a tip: The prescription alergy medicine Zyrtec works great for the itching. I take it anyway for seasonal allergies and it pretty much nullifies the itching for 24 hours. No help for the gnarly skin though.

  76. Brian Grove

    I too have been battling PO since July 4. We went to a Northern
    California beach and met some people that had been camping
    there with their dog. Their dog played with our dog all day in
    the ocean. Went home and I washed the dog a day later. I got PO
    all over my palms and between my fingers which I spread to
    everything that I touched in my home, car and body. I even got
    it on the bottom of my feet probably from where the dog had
    been laying around the house. So here I am 2+ months later
    still fighting the fight.
    I like the idea about the shampoo for removing the oil from
    skin as a cheap alternative. As for hot water. No, no, no. You
    people that do this are crazy. It made everything worse for me.
    I got the advice from another site and I soon realized that it
    was a huge mistake. I have been getting PO all my life. So I
    already knew that hot water opens pores and could spread the
    PO, and I would say that is definitely true. But I acted on
    this advice because of sheer desperation. I would heat up the
    water as much as I could stand and leave my hands under the
    water for as long as I could stand it. DON’T do that.
    I have read some great advice on this site. My theory on my
    systemic re-infections is my clothes. I have been using a
    liquid Tide soap. I have washed all my clothes at least 3 times
    before wearing them again. Yet still with some of my board
    shorts and cotton shorts when I wear them for a period of time
    I can feel an itch coming from the area that was infected with
    PO. Sure enough I run home at lunch and wash the hell out the
    area before it gets too bad and then here I go for another
    week. I really want to know what is the best thing to wash your
    clothes with? I think I will try the powder instead of the
    liquid to see if there is a difference. Technu says it washes
    clothes too, but how much of it should I use per load? I also
    read somewhere how some guy took a bath and all of the oil rose
    to the top so when he got up out of the bath a nice layer of
    oil covered the whole front of his body. So I was thinking what
    happens in a clothes washer? The water fills up then washes
    everything then drains the water. So if the layer of oil floats
    to the top during the cycle and then when the washer empties
    the water, it would make sense to me that the oil would come to
    rest on different areas of the clothes. Yet I still feel
    irritation where I had it previously on my thigh. I have been
    washing everything in cold water because I don’t want to shrink
    all my clothes, but I think hot water and powdered detergent
    must be the only way. I also would think that doing small loads
    would be more effective than doing large ones. Because if my
    theory is correct, when the water empties out of the washer it
    would drain more of the oil because it would not come to rest
    on as many clothes. I would love to hear anyone else’s opinion
    on this. I am completely paranoid about everything I touch now.
    If you are reading this site you must have PO or something so
    embrace the paranoia because it is the only way to erradicate
    this vile oil. The oil lasts a lot longer than people think.
    When I go to my father’s house where I endured at least 2 very
    bad infections I can still get that familiar tingle on my hands
    if I touch the right drawer or object in my old room. My last
    infection there was 13 years ago, and that oil is still there
    and still potent. Good luck to all.

  77. Mike

    I just purchased CVS’s brand of Poison Ivy Wash for $19.99 it has virtually identical ingredients as Zanfel and the tube is 50% bigger. Has anyone used this product? Does it work as well as Zanfel. Thanks.

  78. twb

    my dad is a tree trimmer, the Immunoak people are talking about here was actually the chemical in the poison ivy/oak that makes you itch… that’s why if you take it afterwards it makes the effect worse rather than better.

  79. Cheryl Watkins

    I was working in my yard last weekend and discovered a whole nasty patch of poison oak or ivy (not sure which) and am experiencing the worst reaction I have ever had (which still is probably not too bad compared to some described above). I am going to try some of the advice listed. I’m going to order some of the Mean Green, and probably the Zanfel. I’ll let you know if these products work for me. My husband is also breaking out – I can’t even remember everything I may have touched and contaminated! The information on this site is the most comprehensive I have seen thus far. THANKS!

  80. Greta Sholachman

    I am no longer in contact with the plant. It was on a hike up north that I fell into a patch of this crazy stuff. I am no longer wearing the clothes I wore that day however I have worn clothing recently, more than once before a wash. I don’t know. Do I have to wash my hands every time i touch my infected leg? How about if I touch my metal desk at work after touching my leg. Can that spot on the desk reinfect me or another?
    I was really going crazy today what with my knee looking like a burn from hell or like red leather attached to me that I wanted to rip off with a vengance. I called the doctor and PLEADED for some steroids. To my amazment and relief, I got an RX within 4 hours of calling. Can’t take the meds until tomorrow. But that’s Ok. I’m so pleased with the result of my call. I wasn’t able to do anything today because of the discomfort and sticky legs. I did get a cortisone ointment from my doctor 2 days ago. It gave me no relief at all. Well, that’s not true. Maybe a little relief. That’s why I continued to use it. And Zanfel? A bust. I wasted my money.
    Thank you so much for your help. And I’m not taking any baths. It doeasn’t sound like a good idea. Maybe could make things worse. Yikes! Greta

  81. Hans

    Greta – If the rash is spreading after 1.5 weeks then it’s possible that you are coming into contact with the oils and poisons again. Have you fully washed the clothes, shoes, garden tools, or other items that came into contact with the poison oak/ivy? Otherwise, you might have a systemic case and you might consult with your doctor and consider prednisone. When you have a systemic case a cleaning product such as Zanfel might provide some relief but it won’t stop the rash from spreading.
    As for taking warm/hot baths, that should be fine at this point as long as you haven’t been coming back into contact with the oils. Bathing with warm/hot water when trying to wash off the oils from poison oak, ivy, or sumac can lead to a worse case. The hot water opens the pores and allows the oils and poison to enter your system.

  82. Greta Sholachman

    Broke out with poison oak 1 1/2 weeks ago. Started using Zanafel about 3 days ago, each morning and evening. My rash has continued to spread and that’s what I thought the product could help me with. No dice. It helped with the itching…a tad. Actually, I found this sight looking for advice as to whether or not taking a warm/hot bath would be advisable? I love baths but have refrained from taking one as I think I heard somewhere that it can help spread the rash. Anyone know? Thanks, Greta

  83. GRF

    The MSDS for the Mean Green cleaner lists the ingredients.
    (http://www.meangreen.com/pages/msds.htm) It’s clear it contains the polyethylene beads and ethoxylate, but it is not obvious that it contains the sarcosinate as described in the patent. The relevant section from the MSDS is listed below.
    Original Date: March 23, 1988
    Revision Date: October 06, 2005
    Product Name: Mean Green Power Hand Scrub
    (and private labels), (including MGL, FG, and OS)
    Manufacturer: Mean Green Hand Cleaners
    Section I: Production Information
    Chemical Family: Synthetic detergent blend
    Section II: List of Ingredients
    CAS: None Inert Polyethylene Granules
    CAS: None Water
    CAS: 26027-38-3 Nonyl phenol ethoxylate ( Mol”y” )
    CAS: 26027-38-3 Nonyl phenol ethoxylate ( Mol”y” )
    CAS: 61788-48-5 Acetylated Lanolin alcohol
    CAS: 137-16-6 Maprosyl L30
    CAS: 139-33-3 Versene
    CAS: 61789-40-0 Witcamide DG
    CAS: None Food coloring
    CAS: None Lemon-Lime Fragrance

  84. For The People

    No. No. There is no secret ingredient…Just read the patent for Zanfel at http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6423746.html and scroll down to the bottom of the page where is states the following:
    “It has been discovered that a hand scrub product manufactured and sold by the Redman Scientific, Company of Dallas, Tex. can alleviate the signs and symptoms of urushiol induced contact dermatitis. The product has been sold for approximately twenty years, and is known to be a safe, gentle hypoallergenic product. The product has been sold as an industrial hand cleaner and has never heretofore been known to be effective against urushiol toxicity. It has only been promoted as a hand cleaner.
    Chemical analysis and research by the inventors has revealed that two of the component parts of the Redman product are central to its effectiveness as a treatment for urushiol induced contact dermatitis: an ethoxylate and Sodium Lauryl Sarcosinate. The ethoxylate is a nonylphenol ehtoxylate. Unlike the ethoxylate of the Tech-Nu.RTM. product, the present invention’s ethoxylate has the large octyl groups removed. In this way, the ethoxylate can “wrap” around the non-polar molecules of the urushiol. Further, the long chain moiety of the present invention’s ethoxylate is only four carbons long, as opposed to ten. This feature also assists the ethoxylate in bonding to the urushiol more effectively. However, the ethoxylate itself is not capable of forming a complete micelle around the urushiol. The inventors have discovered that the addition of Sodium Lauryl Sarcosinate, the micelle is completed and the urushiol can be cleansed away from the skin. SLS also has a long carbon chain that can surround the non-polar portions of the urushiol. In addition, SLS contains a highly polar end that aids in surrounding the polar ends of urushiol and also in the invention’s reactivity with water.
    Thus, the combination of the ethoxylate and SLS create a large molecule that contains flexible non-polar groups and soluble polar groups. This permits the inventive composition to quickly and effectively surround the urushiol and then be rinsed away with water, a highly polar substance.””
    Read the whole patent and it becomes quite clear. The “inventor” totally stumbled across this application for an existing product. I am going to purchase 64 oz. of Mean Green from Phoenix Industries (formerly Redmond Scientific) at http://www.meangreen.com/pages/pricing.htm and provide myself some itching and much needed monetary relief.
    Zanfel has proven to be more effective than any other product for me, however, I will not pay $40 for one ounce when it takes two tubes to treat an average breakout.
    Knowledge is Power. This is all public information. The Mean Green Product just can never be advertised or sold as a poison ivy treatment thanks to this patent, but it doesn’t stop a person from purchasing and using the Mean Green product on their own.
    The “inventor” is from my area and he did an article in the local newspaper about four years ago where he did state that he stumbled upon it by accident, however, he aluded to the microbeads as the secret ingredient, but after reading the patent in its entirety – you all know the truth.

  85. ctrr03

    I have a case of poison ivy with a patch on my skin that actually turned purple. I’ve put water, as hot as I can stand on it, followed by an application of absorbine jr. Yes, this will burn it, but, it does relieve the itch for a couple hours. Been using shampoo to shower with, as shampoo is made to remove oil. Been doing this for a week now, but on occasion a new bump will arise. Found out hitting it like this does keep the new stuff from rashing and lets it heal faster. Only problme now, one of the bumps on my finger is infected, so I’ll end up at the doctor’s tomorrow. Right now, I’m treating it with ichthammol ointment to help draw out the infection. Shall see what happens in the morning.

  86. Lyhue

    I’ve used zanfel previously, and had gotten a postitive result (after about two thorough washings).
    I am now cambating a case of urushiol exposure, and this time even have severe burn-like patches of the rash. After the second wash I feel some releif, but still the itching is there.
    Oh, and I almost forget to mention that frequently smoking some good marijuana during the healing period seems to staunch the pain a bit.

  87. Kim Noller

    Thanks for this site. I am no less confused, but feel better-educated thanks to your site. I am just starting to use Zanfel today (after reading about it on another site), and if it works at all, it will be worth the $35.95 that Wal-Mart charges. We all know that what works for one of us may not work for another. At least now I have some alternatives to try. I will post again if there is any benificial follow-up information.

  88. Todd

    I got the 2 bottles of Sumactin(not 3 like the operator told me) overnighted to me. I sprayed it all over and succeeded in getting wet. Since this product is almost exclusively water, it simply runs off or dries up quickly. Although the rash was not suppose to spread to new areas that weren’t exposed to the oil – It spread like crazy, especially anywhere that clothing or skin rubbed.
    I finally broke down and went to the doctor. She immediately prescribed 15 days of Predisone (5 days @ 3 pills – 20 miligrams each, 5 days @ 2 pills, and 5 days @ 1 pill. By day 3, my rash had started to subside. By day 8 it is was virtually gone. Believe me, I had a SEVERE rash and my legs, arms, and waist. In the past I never tried steroids and I would continue to have a rash for weeks.
    Aparently, I am EXTREMELY sensitive to the oil in these poison weeds from hell. As I said in my earlier post, I simply got in close to a bush to relieve myself so I wouldn’t flash the public. Contrary to the information I’ve found on the internet, I was exposed even though no leaves or branches were broke or bent and I barely touched the leaves. Also contrary to what I’ve read, my rash spread SIGNIFICANTLY to new areas of my body that weren’t exposed several days after my exposure. These new areas were primarily areas where clothing rubbed or subject to sweating. I took very hot showers and scrubbed vigorously, but it just kept getting worse.
    To sum up…my recommendations are – Shower alot, use Sarna lotion with a fan, TAKE STEROIDS(prednisone) IMMEDIATELY – don’t wait for it to spread!!! ZANFEL sucked, Sumactin sucked, everything else didn’t seem to help.

  89. Todd

    Great site…to share our common misery. I ran out of gas the other day and I found myself in the need to relieve myself. Spotting a nice large bush which blocked the view from the road, I got in real close to the bush so as not to flash the traffic passing by. The next day I woke up and immediately realized that I had met my old nemesis. This time I knew exactly where the meeting had occurred. Like most men, I am a huge miserable baby when it comes to get sick. So I begged my wife to go buy anything “poison ivy/oak/sumac” related. I went for the Zanfel instead of the generic because I knew that if the generic didn’t work, I’d end up buying the Zanfel anyways.
    The Zanfel actually seemed to make my breakout worse. I can usually keep myself from scratching because I know once I do…it just spreads like crazy on me. The Zanfel has those little sand-like granuales, so rubbing it on was akin to scratching…and that felt good. However, I don’t think it did a thing for me and actually “activated” those areas that I had managed not to scratch.
    So NO – I don’t feel Zanfel worked on me at all…and NO – that little one ounce tube does NOT cover very much area.
    So far I’ve tried Caladryl Clear (releived itching and didn’t make me pink, Calmine Spray – (temporarily relieved itching, but made me very pink..stick to Caladryl), Benadryl pills – made me sleepy, don’t know if the helped with the rash. Hydrocortizone cream – liberally applied, it seemed to relieve itching and kept the rash from spreading further.
    After wearing sweat pants to run a quick errand and trying to cover up my neon pink legs (from the Calamine spray), I came back home with Huge leathery patches on my legs and my forearms.
    We had some generic Walmart (Equate) apricot scrub with similiar type granuales as Zanfel. Since this was only a couple bucks, I took a shower and scrubbed liberally all over. The rash got a little redder and leathery from the rubbing. I then rubbed Sarna lotion in right afterword. The Sarna lotion offered immediate relieve from pain and itching and had a cooling feeling. About an hour later, the rashes on my forearms has gone down significantly.
    So far it turns out the cheapest remedies are working the best.
    I just ordered 3 bottles of Sumactin for $67 plus $28 overnight shipping. It’s only available by phone/email.
    This is only day 2 so I’ll update when and if anything else works and after I try Sumactin.
    From my past experiences, I believe the “drying” medicines only start working after the blisters and bumps are popped or are oozing. Popping these suckers, although theraputic and addictive at the time, kind of turns into a disgusting version of popping bubble-wrap. Once the blisters pop, the Caladryl works great for drying them up quicker.
    By the way…So as not to make the same urination mistake in the future, I returned to the scene of the crime. After searching the internet for pictures, my nemesis turned out to be poison sumac. It grows just like a small tree and according to the geographic map of where it grows…it’s not suppose to be in Denver, Colorado.

  90. Karen

    From one sympathetic itcher to another–Oh my, how I have laughed at this site (especially the “swipe a tube” post.) It has helped me forget the itching for just a few minutes. I, too, detest those who are grinning all the way to the bank as they take advantage of our collective miserable states & in our hour(s) of misery looking for the next cure or at least a few hours of relief.
    I itch all over, even when there is nothing visible! Go figure.
    IT’S ALIVE. Just below the surface waiting and waiting–then POW out pops some more. I too picked up the Zanfel and put it down because of the price. ( I had a RX waiting at the pharmacy counter for hydrocortizone) It’s amazing-now I suspect everything I touch has the stuff on it. computer keys, mouse, steering wheel, “good lawd” where do I start wiping first. Have a place on the river here in Texas and I refuse to give up going there just because of this nasty stuff. I just think I will be more proactive about cleanliness.
    I thought I was doing a good job of washing myself and clothes, but from the sound of it and my current round of PI it’s obvious I haven’t. TIDE huh. My mother used to say it will clean anything. That’s worth a try, and I will also go buy GOJO, apricot cleanser, clearsil cleanser, technu extreme, etc. Boy, when I was a kid, I used to play around in the stuff. Just one more thing to hate about getting old!!!
    I have to agree with Ed, we can put a man on the moon or Mars or where ever, but we can’t find a safe cure for this stuff.

  91. Ed Ryley

    I live and hike in Norhern California, so get P.O. occasionally. Thanks to all for the best comments I’ve read to date. Now, I’ve tried this thrice (three different episodes) and it works and is cheap to try. Use a hair dryer to heat the rash till the pain is too much, or maybe slowly with less pain, and the itch will fade for up to 6-8 hours. SomeOne said it erases the histamines which take time to return. It doesn’t cure, just fades the itch.
    I also believe the medicos could adapt an immunosupressant to this miserable scourge for serious cases, but are too $$$ uninterested.

  92. Hans

    Anne – Washing your clothes with a detergent should remove the oils and poisons from the clothing. That is what I do and have had no problems. For silk, I should think dry cleaning would also work fine.

  93. Dave

    I too have had poison ivy. I went to the store and bought cheaper stuff on the shelf and did not get relief and kept itching. I went back and wanted the itch to STOP after 3 days, I bought Zanfel after reading the package and calling the company. They were very helpful. I was told by the company and after doing reseach, that the oil “bonds” to the skin after 20 minutes and can not be washed off with soap and water. Soap and water will wash off the “loose” oil that is not bonded to the skin. Zanfel will relase the bond anytime so the oil can be washed off with water.
    I followed the instructions EXACTLY and my itch stopped right away and did not come back. I also learned from doing research on dermdoctor that if the itch is gone the oil is off the skin.
    I will not use anything else but Zanfel from now on. The price was 34.86 at Wal-Mart and was worth every penny to get the itch to stop.
    Tecnu you have use over and over, Zanfel will stop the itch with one application and then let the body heal itself.

  94. anne

    Last winter I had a systemic reaction to PO; I was sick for 6-7 weeks, had to take a lot of time off from work (couldn’t really wear clothes); took Prednisone which made me nuts (or maybe it was the sleep deprivation that made me nuts – I couldn’t sleep while taking Prednisone, even with Benadryl, which usually knocks me out).
    My question deviates a little from the treatment track . . . I live in a poison oak ridden area, and I do a lot of hiking. I’ve had PO before. I’m sure I’ll have it again. Does anyone know what to do with the clothes you were wearing when you came in contact with the PO? Everytime I go hiking I do the requisite washing off and toss my clothes into a pile. The pile is growing. After this last bout I am terrified to just wash the clothes, wear them, and risk coming in contact with the oil again. At this rate I won’t have any clothes left. Any clothes cleaning advice?

  95. Michelle

    i need something for posion sumac i have had it for 5 days, and nothing is working, my doctor gave me 3 medcines and they arent working any suggetions, COMMENT PLEASE

  96. Hans

    Jessica – Sounds like your son might have poison oak or ivy. Normally, at that stage you need to use a product like Zanfel. The oils that contain the poison have probably already been washed off so you need a treatment rather than a cleaner. Also, I don’t know if there are any issues with treating children. I would recommend talking with a dermatologist.
    Steve – Interesting about drinking goat’s milk from a goat that consumes PO. But you also describe taking Immunoak at the same time. So it’s not possible to know if it was one or the other that helped you.
    Now, your comment about eating small bits of PO makes alarms start ringing. I would *not* recommend eating small bits of PO!
    The body treats PO as a toxin. As you have mentioned, you have become hypersensitive to PO. That’s because the body learns to recognize and attack the poisons from PO. Eating it may cause a very dangerous reaction. Another commenter on my site mentioned trying this experiment and learning the hard way it does not work. You can not become resistant to PO. Do not even try.
    I don’t know if dermatologists have PO allergy shots. They will treat severe cases of PO with prednisone. But note that prednisone can have side effects. So it’s not something to take without a doctor’s supervision.

  97. Steve Moore

    Well, I’m back in CA after a 20 yr absence and now so is my poison oak. I’m 55 and used to get PO so bad as a child I’d lay in bed for days with my eyes completely swollen shut and my mother putting corn starch plaster on me (didn’t help at all). Cortizone shots were the only thing that helped. I got it so many times I became hypersensitive and if I got a sunburn or some other skin irritation it would turn into poison oak and spread over my entire body. Immunoak helped me, I first got it from a friend that worked PG&E and then they started selling it over the counter. Very sorry it is no longer available. Another thing that helped was drinking milk from my goat that ate a constant diet of PO. Between the immunoak and goats milk I would only get small patches like a normal person, hardly noticable to me with my history. I had bought the goat for my first born in 1971 and when I went to the dairy to buy the goat I saw that PO was very prevalent at the site. The owner told me it would help build an immunity. For someone that is not hypersensitive I would think it might work really good. I happened to have a couple acres completely covered in PO. The milk is really good if you get the right kind of dairy goat. I would serve it to guests and they wouldn’t even notice any difference. Got about 1/2 gal per day, perfect for a small family. Goats are pretty fun to have around and do a fine job in keeping the PO trimmed back (way better than me using the clippers and a rake). I hear there is now a good Round-up that kills it. Good luck to all of you sufferers. Thanks for the good information. You’ve answered my question of why I can’t find Immunoak anymore. Does anyone know if dermatologists have allergy shots for PO? I don’t have a place for a goat, anymore. I’m tempted to encapsulate small bits and eat it, like the previous poster mentioned the indians may have done.

  98. RonH

    Wow! There is a lot written here. I didn’t know this site existed. I thought I was an expert on poison oak, since I have gotten its rashes from time to time over the last 55 years. Anyway, my treatment: TIDE POWDERED DETERGENT and hot water is the magic bullet for me. I take a small pile of Tide powder on my hand, add some water to make a paste, apply to a washcloth and rub the skin forcefully. Let it stay on a while so skin is quite slippery, rub some more with (comfortable) hot water, and wash away. Yes, it will leave your skin dry since it has removed its oils from the surface. That is why it works. I discovered this method it works about 30 years ago when I was using to remove the black grease, dirt, and oils from my skin when I worked on my car. It worked better for me on the grease than any other soap or hand cleaner. So I figured it should work for an oil that I can’t see (the urishiol of poison oak). If I do the treatment with a few hours of PO exposure, I don’t get the rash except maybe at a few scratches. I do cross country hikes, race events (orienteering), and mountain biking in California and contact the plants. I have used Fels Naptha also; I don’t think it works as well, but it is a useful intermediary. I’ll wash with it and cold water on site to remove some of the oil until I can get home. If do get a rash later because I didn’t know I was contacted or a long time elasped, I use a hot water treatment. I do apply very hot water from the faucet until the itching is relieved. I may have some skin flake off a couple days later because it got burned a bit, but no itch.

  99. Jessica

    okay Im not sure about any thing I have a 13 year old son who has poison something he has bubbles between his fingers can we pop them if we run his fingers under water. And what can I put on him to stop the itching, what actually works.

  100. Hans

    Tom – I got tagged again with PO and have been doing the itch and scratch. I did a mountain bike race that was known for the quantity of PO on the course. So planned and I brought the Tecnu. Right after finishing I cleaned up with the Tecnu head to toe. I also tossed the clothes in a bag and later off into the wash.
    Well, I still got one good patch of PO on my arm and a few spots on the legs. Argh. I guess I should try the Tecnu Extreme.
    Btw – My friend was a forest fire fighter. He inhaled so much PO smoke that now all he has to do is walk past some PO and he will react to it.

  101. Tom F

    Guess What I just got poison oak again. This time on my head. I had long hair to my back. The oak was so itchy that I had to buzz the hair! I did get back from my doctor. She said that prednisone for the most part, and its side effects mostly effect people that have to use it on a daily basis. I’ve been trying to pay attention about any side effects, ie. mood swings, grumpyness, loss of sleep, and others. I havent noticed any ill effects on my body, but everybodys individual chemistry is different. Just like I’m more susecptable to poison oak than other people.
    As far as preventative measures goes… My bathroom has Maries poison oak soap, Two bottles of technu, Tea tree oil W lavender(seems to help a bit) Sarna (an anti itch lotion) Calendula lotion (Marygold), Old used bottles of Zanafel (with a drop or two left) and now Technu Extreme.
    I’d have to say after reading your forum, that the advice to purchase Technu Extreme @ 14.99 was a really good tip! after two applications the rash has gone down considerably and the weeping started to dry and scab over! Yeay!
    The poison oak is on my property and everywhere surrounding my property in groves! (Columbia River Gorge!) If you’ve been here you know what I’m talking about. We try our best to keep our dogs out of it but you have to watch their every move (off their runner) My girlfriend dosent get it and loves to take the dogs for walks (sometimes off the leash…) I love the dogs but just dont really pet them except after baths. If I do pet the dogs I always wash my hands right after. I have friends that keep a bottle of rubbing alchol at their bathroom sink and rinse and dissolve the Urisol oil.
    My doctor also recommended the steriod shot in your ass. She said it would help me treat my current poison oak and it would help fend off other contact of poison oak for up to three months. She said that a lot of wildland firefighters get the steriod shot before fire season. Could you imagine fighting a forest fire and inhailing burning forest and poison oak!
    I elected to take the shot.. We will see in the next three months. Thanks for the Sumactin testimonial Cindy, I may have to try some in a couple of months! Good luck on a miricle cure for oak!

  102. Hans

    Tom – Good information. But I would like to note that I would not recommend taking prednisone as a deterent without a doctor’s recommendation. It can have bad side effects on your system. If you haven’t already, please talk to a doctor about the possible effects of taking it.
    Cindy – There really isn’t any way to become less allergic to the poison. Once your body has learned the “signature” of the poison it reacts more and more. You can help to reduce the risk by applying barriers, washing after contact, etc.. There are a few “blocking” lotions on the market that you apply before venturing out.

  103. cindy

    HI Tom,
    I can’t take predinose, so I was extremely grateful to find
    sumactin. It not only works, but you can spray it. It is helpful
    in that you can reach places like your ears or awkward to reach
    places, and you can spray as needed. I keep it at work and at
    home, its a gift from heaven. I have also used zanfel, it worked
    for me.
    I am hoping to find a way to become less allergic. It makes
    me not only have a rash, but just feel terribly terribly sick.
    I’m about to order another bottle of sumactin since I gave the
    rest of mine to someone who lives near a lot of it. Only
    down side is it needs refrigeration.

  104. Tom F

    I’ve been looking for the miracle cure for poison oak. After getting it all year long from our dogs, I feel like I’m pretty much a poison oak expert.. But without a cure. I’ve been looking online and came across Sumactin. Only available on line through a super shady pharmaceutical company.Check out this link about the shadyness..
    Although they use about 5 all natural ingredients.

  105. Jane

    I stumbled across this site while researching Zanfel, a product I discovered after having spent @ $50 on other meds, including tecnu, Ivy Off, and Caladryl (and assorted band aids and bath salts and gauze, etc). I learned more from the links on this one site than all the other websites put together, so I just wanted to say thanks for helping me make an informed decision. I’m skipping Zanfel for now but filing it away – and hoping it, like the poison ivy, will soon and forever be a very distant memory! 🙂

  106. Robert

    I too am sufferring from a small brush with poison oak. I only had a small patch on one arm, so I just washed with soap and water. After 8 days, it was getting worse and spreading. I found this site, and decided to try Tecnu Extreme. I decided on this product due to the price and my past good experiences with Tecnu (regular) to remove oils after exposure. Tecnu Extreme was $15, less $2 with their website coupon. It claims to remove the poison oils, cure itching, and speed healing. I’ve been using it now for 3 days and I think it does all three very well! The thick rash on my arm is healing very rapidly, and after each use I had almost no itching for about 6-8 hours; great relief. I can’t compare to Zanfel because I’ve never used it. Unfortunately I’ve had many cases of both poison oak and ivy over the years, and this is the best product I’ve ever used for an established rash. (I would still trongly recommend regular Tecnu to clean off the poison oils as soon as possible after suspected exposure, and put all clothers immediately in the laundry. An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure.)

  107. Tracy

    OK Guys, I read all you comments — went to Walgreens, chose Tecnu Extreme over Zanfel because of the price. If it didn’t work, I could come back for the Zanfel. I had a pretty convincing outbreak of poison ivy on my neck and face, along with scattered spots everywhere else. My eyes were starting swell closed, I had rashes and bubbles, but not oooozing. Extreme seems to be working pretty effectively, and after not quite 24 hours the outbreak is definitely in remission. I’d recommend it.

  108. scott

    I’ve gotten PI and PO many times and some intense cases in all the wrong places. researched and have tried every over the counter,perscription,and folk cure that seemed plausable. 1-immuoak could do severe liver damage. native americans used a similar technic; they ate the leaves to build immunity (don’t!). repeated exposures cause a sensitivity
    (opposite of an immunity). 2-cortsone injection with predisone orally works but you might have to find a doc willing to give injection. predisone will make you feel strange. don’t devate from the decending dose schedule. 3-tecu(have not tried tecnu extreme)as with any wash to remove method, the sooner the better,and if an hour or so passes from exposure time anything is pretty ineffective. 4-the exception being zanfel.tried it on two occasions at first sign of rash and was amazed at itch relieve and rash dissapaering. I think it’s overpriced but if you consider missing work and going crazy with itch the alterntive, well… I could tell about my research and into other so called “treatments or cures” but no point really. 5-antihistimes (benedryl) oral and topical and colloidal oatmeal bath give a little itch relief. scott

  109. Hans

    Robin – That’s an interesting allergic reaction to salicylic acid. Although possible, be sure you aren’t blaming the wrong source. I did a quick search and found the following information:
    “Do not apply salicylic acid and sodium thiosulfate topical to large areas of open, broken, burned, or infected skin without first talking to your doctor. Large areas of damaged skin may allow more medicine to be absorbed by the body, possibly resulting in side effects.”
    Source: http://www.drugs.com/MTM/salicylic_acid_and_sodium_thiosulfate_topical.html
    So applying it as you did might have been the cause. Of interest though is that most serious allergic reactions to it are rare. Some symptoms of a serious allergic reaction are shortness of breath; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, face, or tongue; or hives. Someone experiencing any of these conditions should seek emergency medical attention or contact a doctor immediately.

  110. Robin

    After reading on this page that salicylic acid might be beneficial, I went out and bought some Stridex pads. Within an hour or two of applying the Stridex to the affected areas (both arms from shoulder to wrist), I got intense stomach cramps, faintness, sweats, and diarhea. I tried rinsing the affected areas to remove any residual Stridex, and the cramps soon stopped. SO, be careful before applying alot of salicylic acid to large areas of poison-oak affected (possibly broken) skin. A remedy that is safe to apply to small patches of acne may not be safe to apply to large areas of poison oak.

  111. Sam

    Hello folks,
    Just thought Id offer my .02 Ive got poison oak all over both arms..and Im simply too damn cheap to cough up the 30+ bucks for the zanfel. So instead, I bought some “Gold Bond” medicated powder, with the active ingredients zinc oxide and menthol. Is the itch still there? YES! Is it somewhat improved? YES! I applied it liberally, and ofcourse it turned both of my arms a nice alabaster. There is also the pleasant aroma. Im as much of a crybaby about suffering as anyone, but I flat out refuse to allow some rip-off company to take advantage of my suffering. I’ll wait it out for the 14-20 days if I must. If youve got it on your face or genitals, see a doctor..otherwise, grin and bear it. Do what ya can with what ya got…and resign yourself to the fact that its going to take atleast 2 weeks before you see the end of it.

  112. jan

    I am laughing at some of these descriptions because I am suffering now, and do every year. This year was worse – actually handled the vines, cutting and moving. Tried Zanfel first. It did seem to help dry, and legitimize the scratching but certainly no cure – I think mine was too far gone. Went the prednisone route – two consecutive doses. I am at day 18. I still have some itchy spots and of course lots of red scars.
    The itching is not as widespread, but it is still there.
    Today I am trying to detox with rhus toxicodendron and I think I am itching worse so perhaps it will work.
    I was relieved to see the reports of doctors not wishing to prescribe the steroid – I thought it was just my area. But when you have a systemic exposure, what recourse? All this topical stuff is fluff. So far this year, I’ve spent $148 trying to get cured. This is America and they can’t find a remedy for urishol?

  113. Lori

    Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I frequently get poison ivy from my cats who are indoor/outdoor. Everyone tells me to just keep them inside, but I don’t have the heart. I’ve been through so many remedies, I can’t list them all. Something that works great for me when I first get it is to take Beta Glucan, 200mg several times a day. Beta Glucan builds up the immune system. However, this time around, I have it all over and I’ve been through 3 bottles already and can’t seem to keep up as it is getting expensive (it’s about $13-$14 for a bottle of 30). I bought Technu and have been washing with that twice a day and got some Benedryl Extra Strength spray, but, after reading everyone’s comments, I think I’m going to try Mike’s suggestion of Clearasil and Dr. Scholl’s Exfoliating Foot Scrub. Thanks to those also who mention the dangers of taking Prednisone. I’ve taken it several times and the side effects are pretty bad. Thanks again..Lori

  114. David Gurney

    Everyone should be aware that steroids can destroy your vision. Steroid medications like topical creams, shots, and allergy inhalers are associated with central serous retinopathy, (sometimes called chorioretinopathy), in which a blister forms under the retina. The sometimes-subtle blurring of vision is on ly one symptom; even after the fluid subsides, there is a permanent loss of color perception and contrast.
    Some literature makes it sound as though CSR resolves itself in most cases and the victim is just fine afterward. This is outdated and simply wrong. Very specific studies have proven that permanent damage always remains.
    You should avoid steroids unless they’re the last resort and you deem the benefits more important than your vision. Tell your doctor and MAKE SURE you know what’s in your medicine.

  115. adam

    I find zanfel to be the most effective solution, but too expensive to use for as often as I get PI. This weekend I tried the only thing in my garage to address a new case – GOJO hand cleanser. Seems to work about as well as the clearasil/dr. scholls solution (but i’m much more likely to have gojo nearby). Just noticed steve mentioned waterless hand cleansers above. Definitely a good first line of defense. I have since stocked all my bathrooms and kitchens with emergency gojo reserves.

  116. Steven Traylor

    If Zanfel does not work you should move immediately to Tecnuextreme. It is so much cheaper and it works better. Brand new product from the same company that makes Tecnu.

  117. dave

    Last year I vigorously applied a locally made spray of Jewelweed (with other plant extracts) for my poison ivy. It didn’t seem to work, and I ended up taking an oral steroid. I got a small poison ivy rash this year, and after succumbing to scratching and opening the blisters, I applied the jewelweed. Remembering how it didn’t work last year, I immediately applied some hydrogen perxoide just for the heck of it. It immediately made the skin dry and seal up, permanently relieved itching. It was miraculous, and the area continued to heal without any symptoms. I doubt it was the combination of jewelweed and hyd.peroxide, but I thought I’d mention it to be accurate. Anyone try hyrdogen peroxide on open blisters?

  118. Barry R. Nicholson

    July 14, 2005 07:11 PM
    This worked repeatedly for me in stopping the itching of a bad but isolated case of Poison Oak under my forearms.
    Very Hot Compresses (as hot a as you can bear without scalding) using a towel, wash cloth, or cotton sock and applied with a little pressure for 30 seconds to the rash and repeated five (5) times. This completely relieved the itching for 8 hours, didn’t take as much time, or use as much hot water as using a showerhead spray. The latter works just as effectively if you use as hot as you can bear hot water without scalding and the heavy rather than light spray setting on the showerhead. When you initially apply the hot compresses or hot water, you will experience an initial increase in itching, but after repeated application under either method you will eventually reach a “flush” of no itching. Ahhhh!
    This method does not appear to prevent or reduce weeping of blisters (in my case it was more like crying than weeping especially at the silver dollar size leather like rash on the underside of my right forearm next to the elbow) and may actually increase weeping, but it controls the itching 100% for long periods of time.
    Whether this method has any deleterious effects or aids/prolongs healing has yet to be determined, but it controls the itching 100% for long periods of time (up to 8 hours or more.)
    I tried ZANFEL after 7 days from contact and needed two (2) consecutive 3 minute washings as prescribed to eliminate the itching for only 4 hours and did not want to scrub again due to the tenderness of the skin from the prior 2 back to back washings. (I am still evaluating its efficacy.) I instead “shower headed” the forearms with hot water and got complete relief from the itching.
    I’m still experimenting with “healing” topicals. There has to be a natural or generic solution to this NASTY NASTY affliction!
    Barry bearsf@pacbell.net

  119. Hans

    Annie – I haven’t experienced a burning feeling from Zanfel. The only irritation I noticed was from scrubbing on the areas where the poison oak had already ruptured the skin. It’s possible that your boyfriend’s skin is sensitive to the ingredients. Always test first with a small dose on a small area of skin to check for reactions such as that.

  120. Steve

    Many years ago there was a liquid product that came with popsicle sticks and I simply can’t remember the name. You would apply the liquid to the area infected and then rub vigorously with the sticks to irritate the skin. It burned a little, but felt blissfull while you legitimately scratched the hell out of the area. This stuff dried everything up over night like a little pack man eating up those dots. It was incredible stuff, and probably dangerous considering how it ate the poison up, and I’m sure that’s why they took it off the market soon thereafter. Wish I had bought a ton of it. Any one remeber the name of this stuff and if, per chance, it is still available simewhere?

  121. Debbie W.

    Hello to all my fellow poison “plant rash” sufferers. I have read all the comments and home remedies and would like to offer my advice. As for myself, I have had 4 bouts of this bane from Hell, never really knowing which plant was the culprit, but I do know how maddening the intense itching can be and how horrid it can make you look & feel. Some of the home remedies I have read here are definitely harmful as your skin absorbs all those chemicals not meant for prolonged skin contact like bleach, ammonia, goo gone, etc. and could make you quite sick now OR in the future. Your liver will have to try to detox these chemicals and I would advise not to use ANY of them for your rash. I have found that FELS NAPTHA LAUNDRY SOAP in bar form is SAFE and is excellent for removing any kind of plant sap or oil from your skin after exposure and should be used after any questionable contact. This has always worked for me as long as I do it IMMEDIATELY after exposure. Last year I was so tired after 7 straight hours of hedge trimming, I just washed up with regular “antibacterial” liquid hand soap and I paid the price for my laziness–1 whole month of intense itching torture & ugly oozing blisters. I did not sleep more than 2 hours a night for 3 weeks from the itching. Hand towels soaked in ice water were the only things that brought some temporary relief. In the past I have tried calamine, calagel, benedryl, Iva-rest, cortisone, vinegar, tea bags, baking soda paste, aloe…none of these really worked well for itch relief. Keeping the area very cold is best if possible. Yesterday I was out in the yard & when I came inside I felt an itchy tingle on my wrist, and looked to find that familiar “red line” that you KNOW is the beginning of a rash from one of the big 3-poison oak, ivy, or sumac, and I knew I had to react right away. This time I wiped it with isopropyl alcohol and then rubbed some EMU OIL on it. It stopped itching in 1 minute and hasn’t itched since! Today it is much lighter pink, without blisters, and NO ITCHING! So I am very impressed with the EMU OIL which has anti-inflammation properties. It is healing already and I can tell it will not blister over and ooze. As for the one comment about the Clearasil/Footscrub combo for already blistered skin, I would change the footscrub to just using SUGAR SCRUB which is easy to find or you can make your own. Your foot skin is much thicker and can tolerate rougher treatment. After rinsing & patting dry I would gently rub in EMU OIL to heal the raw skin and reduce redness. One of the benefits of the emu oil is it is like a first aid oil and goes through all the layers of skin with beneficial vitamins. It even makes scars and wrinkles go away. Chrsitine K. if you read this it sounds like you may have re-exposed yourself on the tender areas by contact with something that still has the plant poison on it…it could be clothing, your pet, or even your chair that you sat in when you had the poison on your skin. Try to remember what you did right before you got the first bumps. I know of a man that kept getting it on his face because his steering wheel of his car was contaminated with the poison, and of course he would transfer this to his face. Wipe down anything you touched with alcohol to cut through the oil.I hope this helps you and anyone else reading this in your time of misery!

  122. christine k.

    I have to say that I tried the Zanfel with little relief. I am going on week #3 with Poison Oak. I have gotten a steroid injection and am still taking Prednisone. I am also using Fluocinonide cream which is a topical steroid on the rash itself. I have found the only true temporary relief is using ice packs on the affected areas. I am concerned due to this going into week number three, how long does it take for this misery to go away. People typically say it takes 10 days. According to my doctor this is a systemic reaction. I took a fall and had direct contact with the bush.
    Can anybody out there offer any advice for relief? I’m tired of taking steroids, they make me feel really weird.
    Just one more thing to add, my rash was getting better, but in the areas it is healing there are other areas that are getting new breakouts. Is this normal?

  123. Cliff

    I have read your Site with much gratitiude for the extensive focus on pi\po I found unfourtunatly that zanfel isn’t available directly in canada though I have ordered it, it will take “14 to 30 days” long past the time when this batch of pi will be gone .In frustration I applied a generic shampoo and a generic hand cleaner that had some of the same ingredients as Z I got some immediet relief and good long term relief with this simple test ,I’m going to forge ahead and try and synthezise a Zanfel clone and call it Zinfindel from the base of Zan-infedel” with strong recommondations that one does’nt try to drink it. Poison Ivy forces the mind into some dangerous places doesn’t it? I think I’ll use that as my defence of a civil suit ever comes forward. As I would recommend to our clypto-zanfel artist Mark who was obviously temporarily out of his mind when he risked a a shop lifting charge for a little tube of hope for relief .Anyway from the Patent office here is the listed formulation in the application.I should have paid more attention in chemistry but Dr Sholls and spermicide in a mean green base here I come
    “Thus, a representative composition for the inventive solution might be polyethylene granules, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, nonoxynol-9, C12-15 pareth-9, disodium EDTA, quaternium-15, carbomer 2%, triethanolamine, and water. ”

  124. Yoed Cameron

    Oh, this is hillarious. Myself, thought I had a case of the bed bugs until an allergist’s nurse told me I had PI (what’d you expect? I am from Puerto Rico, well, now in the States). Anyway I’ve been scratching like crazy to the point of looking like a dog infested with fleas…
    She told me to get Ivy Free but we had no luck at the drugstore. We were shown Z but ended getting the Rite Aid version. 27 dollars later all I feel is like I’ve given myself a good rubdown with GoJo. I too read the ingredients and to me it is nothing but a suspension of recycled plastic. I believe the abrasion opens the skin to release and rinse out the offending oil. I myself will try a fine scrub next time. After reading this I believe the next product that will be sold for a ridiculous amount is going to be water.
    –“I am desperately thirsty”
    -“I got the thing for you, just $29.50 a gallon”
    –(reading out loud) H 2 0″
    I just wonder how people with eczema/psoriasis deal with this as their skin is already lacking elasticity.
    Also, why does the skin turns “leathery”?

  125. Nancy Sterner

    Well, I just broke down tonite and bought the Zanfel…Cost $39.99 at Rite Aid, but they had a sale, so I bought it for $29.99…I dont even know where i got poison..Im pretty sure I didnt touch the plant, but we live in the mountains in the woods, and my husband had it on his arm from working outside, a week or so ago…I could have got it laundering his clothes, or just touching something that had the oil on from his poison…I really only have 3 spots on my stomach, and a patch on my back..I think I have had it about a week or a little more..The blisters are scabby and seem to be healing, not oozing or anything, but the itchy and pain is driving me crazy, esp. the itching…I used hydrocortisone cream, Caldryl, and Benadryl tablets, but the creams didnt help the itching and sorenes…I used the Zanfel, and as I was doing it, it felt great and no itch, but after I rinsed, I noticed the itching came back, maybe not as bad..I have a feeling I didnt use enough of it..I may have only used 1/2 inch, rather than the 1 1/2 inch, and I dont think I left it on long enough…It says a minute…I am going to have to do it again before I go to bed to see if it really works…

  126. Paul Spiegel

    ImmunOak was indeed produced by Cutter Labs in Berkeley, CA. What a shame they discontinued production. It was really great stuff. It’s a shame nobody’s been able to get the formula for home use, or to bootleg.

  127. Gunther

    I sure would like to see some authoritative clinical studies, but then who would be stupid enough to voluntarily break out in PI for the trials?!? As it is, this anecdotal information is much like the old Elephant Repellent joke: I’ve applied it twice and haven’t seen a single elephant, thus I conclude it’s quite effective at repelling them.
    I’m currently on day 10 since exposure to p. oak, only 8 since the start of symptoms. I broke down and got a tube of Zanfel last night. A couple of comments:
    1. $36.99 at Longs Drugs, highway robbery! Even if it works. They’re taking advantage of us in our time of need and pushing their monopoly to the fullest.
    2. Dosage instructions are inadequate; they should give a more precise analogy in 3 dimensions (e.g. “a disc the same diameter as the cap on the tube, 1/16 inch thick” or whatever), since a ribbon can be thick or thin.
    3. I got two applicatoins out of a tube, but then I’ve got both arms, both legs and parts of my torso to deal with.
    4. Highway robbery or not, I’ll be getting some more today, because the application process is almost orgasmic! To finally get to scratch that crud is heaven, and the relief felt, albeit only temporary so far, is the best I’ve had so far.

  128. Lee Dekker

    This is all good fun. Read everything here and on a similar site and have come to conclusion that I just don’t know. Does ZANFEL work as advertised? Maybe, maybe not. It’s too hard to say in spite of the fact that so many swear by it. That bites, but after two tubes I could not honestly say one way or the other.
    Through applying a very old and apparently very ineffective bottle of Tec Labs barrier cream and then trudging through several hundred feet of very thick poison oak (legendary stupidity), I have a massive case on all parts of my body with the exception of my feet. But it’s only the third day so the feet may look like the rest soon.
    One would think that with an assault like that my doctor would want to help out. But no. He told me he wanted to be conservative and went on to tell me to go get some over the counter antihistamines and some cortazone cream. Surprisingly, I was not in the best mood at the time and probably lacked finesse in my response. Looking a bit hurt, he wrote up a prescription for a 12 day dose of steroids. Subsequent reading indicated the dose should have been for 21 days. The twit.
    What I do know or do believe I know has worked for me in the past are the barrier creams and carefully administered hot water. But, as already noted, the barrier creams should be new and not years old. They are greasy and not cheap. But apply them to ALL parts of your body before venturing into poison oak. If you are as susceptible as I am, missing any part will be a mistake. Eye lids, behind the ears and of course genitals. Soft skin needs extra care because it seems to be penetrated more easily. I have used regular detergent to wash it off and the result was no poison oak. The special washing stuff may be better, I don’t know, dish washing liquid did the trick.
    The hot water treatment works. It’s a little ridiculous when you are covered from head to ankle but it works. Over years of getting at least some poison oak a few times per year I have learned a best way to use this technique, for me. First, crank your water heater to high. Next if you don’t have one of those hand-held shower heads, get one. It doesn’t have to be fancy. In fact the cheap ones may be better. Plan this out because you don’t want to run out of hot water half way through. The hand-held sprayer is much easier to direct and also conserves water. Start out with warm and up the temperature slowly. The goal here is to heat the itchy skin to the point that it no longer itches or it starts to scald. You do NOT want to scald your skin, no matter how tempting. Scolding will only add to your misery. Move the spray around on your skin as though you were using the water to scratch with. Keep turning up the hot or down the cold in small increments. As you get to the hottest threshold, only adjust the tempriture in very small steps. And if you feel it is getting too hot, quickly move the sprayer away from your skin, instead of trying to re-adjust the temp with the faucets. You do not need a lot of water to do this. The sensation of spraying your itchy skin with hot water may make you go crazy but you would anyway if you didn’t do something about the itching. This treatment of hot water, carefully done, will concentrate the itching in a short space of time and you will receive relief for at least a few hours. Following up with cool and, if you like, cold water is a good idea.
    Hope that helps someone.

  129. Mitzi Bergrud

    My husband today is suffering from poison ivy contracted 6 days ago. He found Zanfel ($39.99) 3 nights ago and it was a great relief. His forearms were red, oozing, and bumpy. The Zanfel relieved his extreme discomfort for one night and part of the next day.
    Two days ago I cut about a dozen aloe vero leaves from a yard plant, peeled them and layed the long slices of aloe all over his arms then wrapped them with one layer of gauze. He had a good afternoon and night well into the next day. He used the Zanfel again this morning but came home from work at noon.
    His arms are scarlet red. I just fixed a glass of ice water and salt. Soaked 2 mens handkerchiefs in it and laid them on his arms. This created a soothing effect and relieved the itching. Unfortunately the one tube of Zanfel only lasted him 2 washings. He is that covered with the rash.
    I see in Sundays newspaper CVS has their counterpart of Zanfel on sale for $19.99, so I’ll head over to CVS and get another tube.

  130. Steve

    For post-exposure protection:
    I’ve had great results using the waterless handcleaners that you can buy at the auto parts place (with or w/o pumice). I don’t know where I heard that these cleaners would be as effective as Tecnu for post-exposure cleansing but they seem to work. These handcleaners may be the “Goop” sited by http://edhiker.home.comcast.net/poisonoak.html as having been compared in a study published in the Int. Journal of Dermatology 2000 Jul;39(7):515-8 and found to have 61% effectiveness compared to 70% for Tecnu.
    For prophylactic protection:
    ImmuneOak sounds an awful lot like something called Cutters Drops that were popular back in the 60’s: you took increasing doses of this stuff to build up your immunity (and God help you if you were exposed to real poison oak during the desensitization period.) This stuff was also removed from the market, I think because of the possibility for mishaps and liability exposure.
    For rash reduction:
    Somebody here with an outbreak ought to try adding a bit of N-9 spermacide to the Dr Scholls/Clearasil combo and see if its effectiveness is increased. This concoction sounds too hilarious to pass up!

  131. loic

    If you are very sensitive like me, there is only one recipe to follow each time yu go to a place where there *might* be some poison oak:
    1) remove immediatly your clothes after your hike, have spares in your car
    2)wash hands and face asap with a cheapy like Tecnu
    3)home, take a full shower with Tecnu and wash your hair too
    4)if any doubt, wash with Zanfel
    5)if within 12-24 hours the rash starts to spread, go directly to the hospital and ask for corticoids pills and hydrocortisone cream; wash with Zanfel

  132. mark

    I had heard of Zanfel before but the price was fairly daunting. Heck, even Tech-Nu seems pricey to me. But, when I awoke at 7am this morning to find that my arm had approached the leathery state, I knew I had to do something about it. I went down to Walgreens and grabbed a package or Zanfel, grimacing at the $39.99 price tag.
    While in line at the cash register, I decided that I just couldn’t stomach the price and flipped the box open with my thumb and slid the tube out of the package and into my sleeve and tossed the empty box into the candy racks under the counter. I would never do something like this in a mom and pop drugstore but Walgreens? Screw those capitalistic pigs.
    Anyway, I followed the directions and rubbed the abrasive cream onto my leathery arm. It says to rub until the itching goes away but, I think it is more accurate to say that the itching will go away after you rinse. I had to do it twice because there was still some considerable itching after getting out of the shower and drying off. But after the second time, I honestly think the rash is on its way. I wholeheartedly recommend going down to your local Walgreens or other mega-drug store and stealing a tube of this! Great stuff!

  133. Steven Traylor

    The folks at Tecnu have come out with a new product that is incredibly effective and less than half the cost of Zanfel. I bought it on Amazon it is $14.99 for 4 OZ. It is called Tecnu Extreme. It makes me think Zanfel is WAY overpriced.

  134. Hans

    Mike – Great information on an alternative to Zanfel. It sounds like you have found the right combination that works in the same manner. I’ll pick up that combo and have it ready for the next unfortunate encounter with poison oak.

  135. Mike

    Being a suceptible guy living in the tulies I get poison oak at least once a month. Certain habits I follow minimize my direct exposure but I can’t fend off my kids and pets all the time.
    I too choked on the cost of Zanfel, and it DOES work, but I end up buying for the whole family because that stinkin’ little tube doesn’t go very far.
    A little putzing around in my local Safeway pharmacy and I came with a combo that works just as well (for me and so far).
    In the foot care section I bought Dr. SCholls exfoliating foot scrub. There are two kinds one a little more aggressive than the other, I got the sandpaper version. $5.99 for 5 oz.
    The other buy was some Clearasil facial cleanser which lists some the same ingredients as ol’ “Z” at $4.99 for 5 oz.
    I have a current nasty case of the rash. I put equal dabs of each bottle in my hand and scrubbed away at the leathery sites as well as around my eyes as well as some other places I won’t be specific about.
    I got the same results as with the Z. Itching stopped, rash shrank overnight and I got to SLEEP!!!
    I use the Clearasil as disinfecting soap to give the Scholls scrub (which feels like an astringent by itself) a little lubrication and dilution.
    Let’s see, 10 oz for $11.00. versus $390 for equivelent amount of Zanfel.
    I think I see some light here. I tried a little topical cortisone, minor benefit. A coupla asprin help too if I’m really messed up.
    My two cents.

  136. Simon Waddington

    I was doing the same thing – looking at all the ingredients trying to figure out what it really is and why it costs so much. Apparently Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate is used to help the ingredients penetrate into the skin better, see http://tinyurl.com/3vcqn and C12-15 Pareth-9/nonoxyl-9 appear to be the clensers.
    Beyond that the other listed ingredients all seem to be standard cosmetic gel contents/preservatives/stabilizers.

  137. Kyle Guthrie

    With regards to Immunoak, it wasn’t homeopathic, it was an over the counter remedy from about 2 decades ago. It worked…WELL. All the PG&E guys swore bye it. It was proactive, you took it before you went out and you just didn’t absorb the oils, they would wash off. Pretty cool huh!
    Well, problem was that after you got poison oak, taking immunoak just made the condition worse, you couldn’t shed the poison oak as fast and it lasted longer. Well, dumb people would take it after the fact, and be worse.
    Lawsuits took place
    Violla…No more Immunoak.
    Thanks Much all you attorneys

    1. LP

      So that’s what happened to ImmuneOak. I took it for several years and it really worked for me. As I remember, I took three vials every summer. Each year my poison oak outbreaks were less and less until I only felt a little itchy for a day. My husband’s grandfather was PG&E and he gave it to me.

      Bummer that they don’t make it any more.

  138. Archie

    What would I pay to cure a case of poison oak? It depends:
    a) Rash on one arm: $100
    b) Rash on both arms: $200
    c) Rash on chest: $300
    d) Rash on back: $425
    e) Rash on balls: $1,100
    f) Rash on face: $1,103
    g) Severe rash on face: $2,500
    h) Severe rash on balls: $3,950
    i) Severe rash on balls while traveling on business: $8,800
    j) Severe rash on balls and getting married in 5 days: $36,500
    Forutnately I only had case (i). I paid Long’s Drugs (Marina, CA) $36.99 for a tube of Zanfel, which completely arrested the problem in two washings. I had never heard of this product before and was initially staggered by the price. I am SO GLAD I chose not to be cheap this one time ! After using Zanfel I had no itching, oozing, spreading – nothing except a lot of dry skin, and my private parts left intact looking forward to better days. I’ll have to wait a week for the dry skin to heal but this is NO BIG DEAL after a week of torture.

  139. David S

    Because Zanfel worked so well for me, I did a little research on the web and found their patent, # 6,423,746. You can look up the patent yourself at http://www.uspto.gov. The chemistry, the way it all works, is in plain english and quite interesting too.
    If you have a case of poison oak, find $40 and buy Zanfel, it’s as close to a silver bullet as you’re going to find. I know what it’s like to suffer from poison oak, and how ineffective everything except Zanfel is once you have it.

  140. Crista

    The Zanfel was worth every penny of the $39.99. My 12 yr. old son had a terrible case of poison ivy on his face, eyelids, underarms, trunk — you name it. Within five minutes of the showering/drying process, he had no detectible itch. The redness started to subside. This stuff works and is worth it not to have to ingest Benedryl and other steroids. I would recommend it in a heartbeat!

  141. Ron

    I am using Tecnu as a cleanser and CalaGel as the anti itch solution. I still have the rash but not the itch. I am resigned to the fact the rash has to run it’s course, but at least I am not suffering while it does.

  142. Steven

    I know it is expensive, I know that $40.00 is the most I’ve ever paid out of pocket for a drug at a drug store, I know they are making tremendous profit…. but after seven days and having proceeded to the “leathery rash” stage all over my neck face and! genitals, I want my life back and if they figured out a remedy, bless them and their profit. Remember, we consumers are paying not only for all the remedys that work, but for all the research done and abandoned on things that don’t work. The ingredients may not cost much but the “discovering” does.

  143. Doug Spring

    Unfortunately, I’m suffering from a poison oak rash now. I’ve used Tecnu for the last couple of years and it generally works if used within about 3 hours of exposure. Once the rash breaks out it takes about 3 weeks to disappear.
    I was looking at the Zanfel and Sumactin. I’ve not tried either. Has anyone tried Sumactin (www.sumactin.com)? The ingrediants listed are:

  144. Tom

    Spermicide with N-9 works like Zanfel at a fraction of the price. It’s the N-9 that does the trick. Does anyone know about the chronic effects of using this drug? I get PI at least 5X a year, even though I am careful about exposure (pets make it difficult!).

  145. Philip Batchelder

    This ‘conversation’ is much appreciated, as is any product that helps in the short term without longterm nasty side effects!
    People should know that Prednisone can be very dangerous.
    What about Zanfel? I’ve found nothing conclusive, but a look at the product ingredient descriptions at the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” website indicates reasons for concern and cites scientific studies to back them up. (The site is quite a resource for checking out any of your bodycare products) Here are a few tidbits to add to the fine ingredient descriptions at the top of this thread:
    – Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate is a “penetration enhancer” that may possibly contribute to the creation of carcinogenic nitrosamines.
    – Nonoxynol-9 is extremely toxic to aquatic life, which is bad news if people are rinsing Zanfel off in ponds and streams.
    – Disodium EDTA
    (Disodium Ethylene

  146. Lucky (Al)

    OK, I tried the Apricot Scrub a few hours ago. Here is mt opinion of the comparison:
    1) Apricot Scrub was not as gentle in the rash. Causing minor discomfort (maybe i rubbed too hard)
    2) It eliminated the itch, but not as well as Zanfel.
    3) The Apricot Scrub seems to have left me with a different (much less mild) itch.
    4) If money was a major concern for me I would surely use the scrub over the WAY OVER PRICED Zanfel.
    I will try the scrub at least on more time, scrubbing softer, & if the result varies drastically I will post the results.
    Best of luck to all my fellow sufferers.

  147. Lucky (Al)

    Just adding my 2 cents here. I am glad to see I am not the only one out there to purchase such a high priced item for such an annoying rash…the need for sleep drove me to the store to try this product. After reviewing what everyone wrote here is what I was thinking. After using the product last night for the first time & it took away at least one third of the irritation, I was wondering how this syuff worked. I was about to research the ingredients & found this site first… thanks Hans for doing the research for me. So anyway, I was thinking how closely this product appears to be like St. Ives Appricot Scrub…making me wonder if I may just be cleaning my skin well which is what is giving me the relief????? HMMMMMM. Now after checking this site out I am nearly convinced that is what we are doing & paying through the nose for it. What a shame a company is making soooo much from the consumer on a product that is not even tested or FDA approved, they should be ashamed of themselves. I will have to give St Ives a shot at relieving the irritation & see what the results are. Has anyone out there tried the St Ives on a poison i/o/s rash? What was the result? Thanks for offering a great way to chat to so many folks about such an annoying rash. I will also check how many 1 1/2 inch streams I get from one tube & write to the company with my results on that (thanks Lee).

  148. Anne

    I checked out Serge’s website for the price for Zanfel from Med Shop Express. $29.70 plus $6.95 for shipping (rip off) — so the price ends up being $36.65. Cheaper than CVS — but not that much. And – it works really well for me even if the case has gotten to the “thick skin” stage. So when I’m ” an-itchin’ and a-scratchin’ all over the place” I’ll pay the few extra bucks to have it right away. The manufacturer really knows they’ve got you where it hurts (or itches!)

  149. dave, OR

    Some insight from someone who gets poison oak in a bad way.
    I’ve had both extremely bad poison oak and poison Ivy. As far as which one is worse, I’d say they are both equally as bad for someone is as reactive of skin as mine. The Ivy rash covered my face and required a Prednisone shot that seemed to work but I can’t even imagine the oak on my face, so that might be a little worse because of the worse blistering from the oak that I get. All I’m really sure of is that they both itched…badly.
    None of the remedies have worked for me that well, and I have used them all. I went into Rite aid and bought every single product available.
    My comments on the Zanfel are positive…but so are my comments on the Ivy Free. They are both similar products which are ‘cleansers’ as described above. They both have the polyethylene beads (or granules) which I believe is the key. The difference is that the Ivy free is half the price for 1.5 oz, when the Zanfel is 1 oz. The Ivy free also comes with some hydrocortisone gel which doesn’t help, and which I don’t even use anymore.
    That said, out of all the variants that I tried, these were the only two products that seemed to give me any relief from the itching. I did combine their use with some of my other home methods including salt, pleanty of cleansing and cool air.
    Even then, the iritating rash and their blisters persist.
    The prednisone is the sure fire way, but the side affects are riskier than the other methods…and as I’ve eluded to, some doctors are reluctant to prescribe this.
    I’ve visted doctors time and time again, and the answer they give me is always the same…take this topical 1% hydrocortisone cream. On the fourth doctor that told me this, I demanded the prednisone.
    My advice if you are highly allergic like me: if it’s really bad, go right to the dr. get the prednisone shot, but if you can spot it quickly, use a product that contains polyethylene beads and keep the area as clean and dry as possible. and wash all of your clothes with Tecnu…that stuff works to wash away the poison…it just doesn’t relieve the itching.

  150. Cherie Johnson

    A few years ago I ran across a product called IMMUNEOAK.Not sure of spelling. It was packed in vile form.It was taken by mixing with water and drinking it.What it did was made you immune to poison oak up to a point where the rash was very small or not at all even with heavy exposure.Have you heard of this product?

  151. Hans

    Lee – Good question about the quantity of product received. It would be interesting to weigh the tube when full and later when empty of all product. That would verify if they are providing the specified 1 ounce of product. If the package contains the correct amount then the label and application of the product is misleading. Let us know if you get a reply from Zanfel.

  152. Lee

    Unlike mkr, I did get relief and bought 4 tubes in all. Perhaps my question wasn’t clear though, Hans.
    Even though it’s awfully expensive and even though they might be taking advantage of us (because, thankfully it did work for me) how do we know that we are getting the quantity we are paying for? The second tube had no more product than the first tube so it probably wasn’t air or mis-filled. My email to them (as posted above dated 8/03) has not been answered.

  153. mkr

    I bought Zanfel on the recommendation of a friend. I followed the instructions carefully. The Zanfel was a disappointment. It did a little smoothing perhaps- as would a facial scrub with granules. Zanfel instructions indicate that it will work on all but systemic cases. My case is not systemic and the product did not prove successful for me. I applied it three times over the course of several hours…as the instructions indicated repeat might be necessary.(I was already taking benadryl for the itch and therefore was looking for some subsidence of the rash/swelling /soreness/blisters etc.). At the most it seemed like a gentle way to scratch without doing further damage. I can’t recommend Zanfel however…and it cost me more than the prednisone prescription I now have and doctor visit combined. More scientific information should be on its way – The Berkeley Wellness web site indicates that clinical trials are underway but no results reported yet.

  154. Hans

    Yes, Zanfel is rather expensive for the amount of product you receive. I wonder where the cost is? Note the comments above by Bill regarding the ingredients. There doesn’t appear to be anything exotic and expensive.
    Maybe Zanfel is taking advantage of people when they have gotten to the “gone crazy itching” stage and would pay anything to stop! :’)

  155. Lee

    I used the product for the past few days and although it appears to relieve the itching for a while I was surprised that the quantity of product seems to be considerably less that what you are lead to believe. I sent this email to Zanfel a few min. ago.
    “According to the label there is enough product to treat approx. 15 “patches”. The directions also say to use 1 1/2″.
    I did that faithfully and there was enough product to treat only six times. There were several “air bubbles” or dead spots while I was squeezing the tube.
    Going by your literature 15 patches at 1 1/2 inches would yield approx. 22 inches of product.
    My tube produced approx. 9 inches. I didn’t have product to treat even half of what you stated.
    What’s with that?”

  156. Bill

    OK after more research I found out that nonoxynol-9 is the ethoxylate. BTW, I found a bunch of literature on the web about how bad nonoxynol-9 is for the environment. It doesn’t biodegrade well, and it mimics estrogen.

  157. Bill

    I got a nasty bout of poison ivy myself, and I found that Zanfel worked well for me. I too have been researching the ingredients of Zanfel to determine if there is a cheaper alternative (possibly from a combination of other products).
    I found Zanfel’s patent application – it is #20020183284. You can access it from http://appft1.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.html.
    In the description, they mention a hand cleaner made by “Redmond Scientific”, which I believe is now http://www.meangreen.com . They mention this cleaner was found to be somewhat effective with removing urushiol. MeanGreen hand cleaner has the polyethylene scrubbing beads in it, too.
    The patent application talked about a combination of an ethoxylate and Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate as being the active ingredients. Does anyone know which of the Zanfel ingredients is the ethoxylate?

  158. Hans

    To follow up… Yes, Zanfel works well. I have found it best for use when cleaning with Tecnu has not worked and a reaction to poison oak appears. I do note that it contains some ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction for some people.

  159. Paul Goldring

    I read your article with interest.
    Thank you.
    My question is,
    Are you saying that Zanfel works,
    or doesn’t?
    You write, “the specific active ingredient that does all the magic”
    which leads me to believe that it is effective.
    I’d appreciate learning if this was your intent.
    Thanks in advance.

  160. boarhog9

    quaternium was also the word used by the late C.G.Jung to formulate the existence of events without apparent cause and effect,which when combined with synchronicity and coincidence formed a four way vision of events or, a quarternio.

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