Pros: It works
It had been so many years since Id had a reaction to poison ivy that I had forgotten what it was like. Id even wondered if somehow Id actually developed immunity to that cursed weed. A few days ago I learned otherwise after spending over four hours cleaning out some overgrowth in a woody area of the back yard. My hands and forearms became read and blistered. The need to scratch became almost unbearable Luckily we had a tube of Stop Itch, a hydrocortisone cream, and some Benadryl pills. These got me through the night, but I awoke the next morning with the same overwhelming itch and even more blistery redness.
I drove to work miserable and squirming in the drivers seat. As luck would have it I struck up a conversation with the father of one of our students. An officer for the Maryland Natural Resources Department, he knew of a product that would relieve my itch. An hour later he returned from a trip to CVS pharmacy with a package of Oak-N-Ivy brand Tecnu. Id never heard of this product but was willing to try almost anything for some relief.
Tecnu is touted as an outdoor skin cleanser. It cleanses the skin of urushiol, the poisonous oil that is the source of ones skin irritation and outbreak of rash and blisters. This oil must be removed from the skin to defuse the reaction and prevent recontamination. By using a topical skin cream, I was just masking the symptoms and rubbing the urushiol into my skin all the more, and perhaps spreading it to other areas of the body. Just the thought of urushiol gaining a foothold in my nether regions gave me goose bumps.
Within minutes of receiving the 4-ounce container of Tecnu from my kind benefactor, I went to the bathroom to apply it. Ideally it should be applied as soon as a rash breaks out or within hours of initial exposure, but my window of opportunity had long been closed. The user is directed to rub the affected area for two minutes with the Tecnu lotion. It looks like a milky, watery paste going on the skin and doesnt provide immediate relief.
After a couple minutes I rinsed off the Tecnu and hopefully the poison oil too with cold running water. The packaging states that if irritation persists, reapply the Tecnu and rinse again in a very warm shower (not a bath.) I did feel enough relief to get through the next few hours with only minimal discomfort. When I got home, I reapplied the Tecnu and rinsed off with as warm a shower as I could stand. The relief at that point was almost instantaneous.
The next morning (today) I awoke with some itching and some blisters but the blood red rash had mostly disappeared. I reapplied the Tecnu, and again there was immediate relief from the itching. I can still remember suffering through episodes of poison ivy reactions for days and coating myself with bottles of calamine lotion to no avail.
Tecnu is for external use only. It should not be applied to raw or oozing areas of the skin and should not be used for at least 3 days after using a hydrocortisone cream. It may irritate sensitive skin. To address other sources of contamination, Tecnu is formulated for use on clothing, shoes, gloves, tool handles, pets and human skin.
Despite applying the Tecnu much later than directed and, counter to directions, using it within hours of applying hydrocortisone cream, I experienced welcome relief and am sold on this wonderful product. The next time I work out back pulling up questionable vines, Ill be sure to rub my hands and arms thoroughly with Tecnu before the urushiol gets a chance to irritate my skin.
Ingredients Deodorized Mineral Spirits, Water, Propylene Glycol, Octylphenoxy-Polyethoxyethanol, Mixed Fatty Acid Soap and Fragrance.