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! 🙂

195 responses

  1. Paul Spiegel Avatar
    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.

  2. Gunther Avatar

    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.

  3. Lee Dekker Avatar
    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.

  4. Mitzi Bergrud Avatar
    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.

  5. Steve Avatar

    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!

  6. loic Avatar

    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

  7. mark Avatar

    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!

  8. steve Avatar

    I did the ImmuneOak, or some similar product about 20 yrs. ago, and haven’t had a really bad outbreak of PI since, until now.

  9. Steven Traylor Avatar
    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.

  10. Hans Avatar

    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.

  11. Mike Avatar

    I forgot, the Clearasil also contains salicylic acid which is another exfoliant. Gets rid of the urshiol bound epithelial skin cells.

  12. Mike Avatar

    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.

  13. Simon Waddington Avatar
    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.

  14. Kyle Guthrie Avatar
    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 Avatar

      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.

  15. Archie Avatar

    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.

  16. David S Avatar
    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.

  17. Crista Avatar

    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!

  18. Ron Avatar

    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.

  19. Steven Avatar

    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.

  20. Hans Avatar

    I haven’t heard of Sumactin. I have just heard about IvyStat which is from the makers of TecNu. It’s described as a “Dual-Action Poison Ivy Exfoliant and Treatment comes in a two-step kit” http://www.teclabsinc.com/pro_ivystat.html . Less expensive than both Zanfel and Sumactin. Might be worth a try.

  21. Doug Spring Avatar
    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:

  22. Tom Avatar

    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!).

  23. Hans Avatar

    Good information Philip! Here’s the link “http://www.ewg.org/reports/skindeep/” for the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website that he mentions.

  24. Philip Batchelder Avatar
    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

  25. Lucky (Al) Avatar
    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.

  26. Lucky (Al) Avatar
    Lucky (Al)

    I meant to say it took away 2 thirds of the irritation after the first use. Sorry folks.

  27. Lucky (Al) Avatar
    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).

  28. Deric Horn Avatar
    Deric Horn

    Nice breakdown of the ingredients. Unfortunately Zanfel was $36.95 + tax wasted for me.

  29. Anne Avatar

    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!)

  30. dave, OR Avatar
    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.

  31. Hans Avatar

    Cherie – I’m not familiar with the product you describe but it sounds like a homeopathic remedy. I would be careful with those ‘remedies’. Here’s a good site with more information on poison oak and also homeopathic remedies:
    – Hans

  32. Cherie Johnson Avatar
    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?

  33. Serge Avatar

    I came across your chain of mail on Zanfel. I’m currently trying it and do not find it very effective on my Poison Ivy. I have found a site which sells it relatively inexpensively, for those of you who like the product. Go to http://store.yahoo.com/physlabs/601097.html and you’ll find they sell it for 29.70 plus shipping. My local CVS got me for around $42.

  34. Hans Avatar

    I just had to add this link http://www.poison-ivy.org/ . If you’re not shy about nasty poison oak/ivy photos then click on “The Grody Poison Ivy Skin Rash Hall of Fame Slideshow”. Yuck!

  35. Hans Avatar

    For those of you that have pondered “how much is inside” a packaged product, I must point you to http://www.cockeyed.com/inside/howmuchinside.html

  36. Hans Avatar

    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.

  37. Lee Avatar

    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.

  38. mkr Avatar

    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.

  39. Hans Avatar

    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! :’)

  40. Lee Avatar

    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?”

  41. Bill Avatar

    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.

  42. Bill Avatar

    Oops. In the previous post, the hyperlink to the US patent office has a period on the end, which causes the link to break. Try this, instead:
    Then, type in 20020183284 for the patent application number.

  43. Bill Avatar

    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?

  44. Hans Avatar

    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.

  45. Paul Goldring Avatar
    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.

  46. Hans Avatar

    Oops, fixed the typo. (thanks Paul).

  47. Paul Avatar

    Is there a typo on the Zanfel 2nd article page ?
    It says “Technu ingredients”, but appears to
    indeed be Zanfel ingredients.

  48. Doug Avatar

    Regardless of what it contains, it cured my poison ivy in two days.

  49. boarhog9 Avatar

    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.

  50. Marisha Avatar

    For a good explanation of how poison oak causes a reaction, check out: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0802.htm
    It includes a good discussion on the immunology involved and makes mention.

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