UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Dermatology

Title: Toxicodendron dermatitis

Keywords: Toxicodendron dermatitis, treatment (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/19/2010 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 6/15/2024)
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Toxicodendron dermatitis:

This is the contact dermatitis caused by the plant genus Toxicodendronm, better known as Poison Ivy.  Here are some types to prevent the dermatitis and how to treat it:

  1. Barrier products like Ivy Block® are on the market that go on like suntan lotion and provides a protective barrier on your skin that prevents the plants urushoil, the toxin responsible for the dermatitis, from making contact with your skin. This can help prevent the dermatitis if you are able to wash the oils off.
  2. Most soaps can not remove urushiol and may actually increase its spread. Several products are on the market, one being Zanfel® , that are a little more effective than water in removing the urushiol which can help to minimize the dermatitis and its spread.
  3. The mainstay of treatment is systemic steroids.  This condition does not do well with a short (5 day) burst therapy and patients will typically get a rebound dermatitis when the burst is complete.  Patients should be placed on a 14 day steroid taper.