I have a very bad reaction to poison ivy. I take extraordinary measures to avoid any and all contact with it. I wear long socks and full pants in the middle of summer but I still end up getting it on my hands.

Is there a spray or cream that I can use to create a barrier on my skin?

  • 3
    You might find this question contains some useful tips on how to deal with the problem after it occurs: outdoors.stackexchange.com/q/19/33
    – Phil
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 22:54
  • Whatever you do, don't burn it. Breathing the smoke is a no-no.
    – Drew
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 22:41

3 Answers 3


I have researched this occasionally over the years. Ivy Block, Tecnu, and Ivarest all have preventative lotions. The oil may still spread, but it is a good first step. As an alternative, the forest service has recommended spray deodorant as well. The active ingredient, aluminum chlorohydrate, may prevent absorption by blocking pores, just as it does to prevent sweating. None of these methods will prevent you from spreading the oil to some extent once in contact, but may help protect the treated area.

  • 1
    In addition to this: If you are able, rinse off within 30 minutes of coming into contact with it. This is usually enough to prevent a reaction. Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 22:34

I have a similar extreme reaction, so this is what I have learned:

Tecnu works pretty well after you have been exposed, but before the rash develops (I realize that is a pretty short window of opportunity). It can also help to stop the oils from spreading. It works by washing the oils off of your skin, and it works better than soap and water, which can sometimes just serve to spread the oils.

Other than that, as a more preventative measure, I would make sure that I cover my legs completely, and avoid touching my pants after I know that they have rubbed against poison ivy.


There are no creams that will prevent poison ivy. Avoidance and long clothes are best.

One thing you can do is wash it off. Usually if you catch it within a couple of hours, you can scrub off the oil on your skin with soap and water and a washcloth. You can't see the oil, but it seems to require about the same amount of scrubbing as if you were scrubbing off motor oil or grease. Since you can't see it, you have to scrub the entire exposed area.

This won't help so much if you get a systemic reaction to poison ivy. If you wait too long, the oil binds with the skin and the fun begins.

  • Experts say that washing within the first hour may help limit the rash.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 12:01
  • Strong soap, especially.
    – Drew
    Commented Oct 8, 2023 at 22:40

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