Summer Skin Part 1: Treating Poison Oak, Ivy, and Sumac with Noni
Spending lots of time outside in nature is one of the best parts of summer. But summertime also has lots of dangers for your skin. Good thing Hawaiian Organic Noni is here to help! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing all kinds of ways that our Noni lotions and fruit leathers Noni lotion can keep your skin healthy this summer.
Today, we’ll cover a summertime skin woe that plagues many people: poison plant allergies. Here are some facts you might not know about poison oak, ivy, and sumac, and an awesome treatment that can help your skin heal faster and reduce your allergic response over time.
What is a Poison Oak Allergy?
Poison oak, ivy, and sumac all contain an irritating, oily sap called urushiol. The poisonous substance is in the leaves, stem, and roots of the plants, whether dead or alive, and can be released into the air if burned.
When human skin comes into contact with urushiol, an allergic reaction is often triggered within 24-72 hours.
Symptoms can include:
Redness and itching of the skin
A rash, in a pattern of streaks or patches
Red bumps (called papules) or large, oozing blisters
Rash may crust over
They symptoms usually last for 5-12 days, but in severe cases, the rash can last 30 days or longer.
Most people are allergic to urushiol, but many people don’t get a reaction the first few times they come into contact with the plant. It’s often an allergy that gets worse with each exposure, and many people become very severely allergic.
How Do People Get Exposed?
People can be exposed to poison oak, ivy, and sumac in a variety of ways:
Direct contact with the plant while hiking
Touching gear that was in contact (tool handles, camping equipment, clothing)
Touching pets that contacted poison plants (many pets don’t get a reaction)
The rash can also spread to other parts of your body if you touch the contaminated part of your skin to an uncontaminated area shortly after contact.
Preventing Poison Plant Exposure
The best way to prevent exposure to poison plants is to know what the plants look like so you can avoid contact with them. If you’re in an area with poison plants, cover your skin as much as possible and keep pets on leashes.
How to Identify Poison Oak, Ivy, and Sumac
Pacific and Atlantic Poison Oak
Pacific variety found in western North America’s conifer and broadleaf forests, grasslands, and chaparral biomes. Atlantic variety found in southeastern United States.
Tall shrub or treelike vine
Leaves divided into three leaflets with scalloped or lobed edges (like oak leaves)
In summer, leaves are usually bright red or pink
Greenish-white or tan berries
Grows throughout much of North America, east of the Rocky Mountains
Leaves divided into three almond-shaped leaflets that are shiny green in summer and bright red in fall
Grows on vines which attach to tree trunks, often with darkened dried sap visible
Berries are grayish-white
Similar species “Western Poison Ivy” is a shrub rather than a vine and grows west of the Rocky Mountains, but the leaves are very similar
Grows in very wet or flooded soils in eastern North America
Shrub or small tree
Clusters of 7-13 leaflets with oblong leaves, tapering to sharp point with a wedge-shaped base
Stems along leaflets are red, and the leaves often have a reddish tint
Berries are creamy white and form in clusters
What to Do If You’re Exposed
If you think you might have been exposed to one of these poison plants, acting quickly (within 10 minutes!) can help minimize your reaction.
Wash all exposed areas with water and soap if possible
Wash clothing and all gear that might have come in contact
Steve has a good friend on the mainland with an unusually severe poison oak allergy. It was so bad that just driving through an area with poison oak plants would cause her to break out in a rash. For years, she used the Lavender Noni Lotion to relieve the rash. Eventually, she started taking the fruit leather and was able to greatly reduce her allergic sensitivity. She now can go hiking in the woods with poison oak around and doesn't break out anymore.
We also just got this email testimonial:
“I wanted to thank you for such a quality and effective product line. I have been using 3 of your products for many years. For the past 2 years, the noni aloe bandage has stood out. I have used it after being exposed to poison ivy and poison oak. It literally has stopped the itch and the rash overnight and within a day. . . . Thank you again for your products.”
Clearly, Noni fruit has powerful abilities to combat poison plant reactions. Keep some on hand this summer in case you’re exposed to one of these plants, and keep checking back for other ways Noni can protect your skin this summer!
Have you used Noni to treat poison plant reactions? How do you soothe rashes from poison ivy, oak, or sumac? Let us know in the comments!