Touching certain plants can cause a skin rash. Learn how to identify and avoid these plants, and discover treatment options for their rashes. Many plants can cause rashes. People with sensitive skin may experience skin irritation when touching plant matter without protective equipment, like gloves. But some plants are more likely to lead to terrible itching than others. The poison ivy
Many plants can cause rashes. People with sensitive skin may experience skin irritation when touching plant matter without protective equipment, like gloves. But some plants are more likely to lead to terrible itching than others. The poison ivy plant, for example, is well-known for causing a painful, itchy rash.
This article outlines several common rash-causing plants you should avoid, along with the symptoms to look out for and when to see a healthcare provider.
Most people are allergic to the oil found in poison ivy plants called urushiol. When it comes into contact with the skin, it causes a rash. Other plants that also contain this oil include poison oak and poison sumac.
The severity of the rash will depend on how much contact you've had with the plant and for how long.
Keep in mind that you may only get a minor rash or none at all after touching any of these. But it's possible for your reaction to be different the next time you come into contact with the plant, so be cautious regardless.
The rash happens after your skin touches the plant and you develop red, itchy bumps and blisters on your skin. If you have never been exposed before, it may take two to three weeks to develop the rash. If you've had the rash previously, it can appear within a few hours of exposure.
A rash from poison ivy tends to last about three weeks if you've never had one before or between one day and two weeks if you've had a previous rash from these plants.
Treatment typically involves waiting things out and managing the intense itching. Options to relieve itching include:
Remember the rule: "Leaves of three, let it be." Poison oak and poison ivy look similar since they both have a three-leaf pattern on a stem. Poison sumac has clusters of leaves—usually seven to 13.
This perennial (meaning it regrows each year) plant’s stinging hairs contain toxins that cause skin irritation upon contact. Both the leaves and stems have these tiny irritating hairs.
Itching, rash, and hives (raised, red, itchy bumps) can happen soon after the hairs touch your skin. Fortunately, the itching and burning that occurs after touching stinging nettle usually subside within a few hours.
Wood nettle, or stinging nettle, can grow up to 5 feet tall and has toothed leaves with pointy ends.
You’re probably aware that ragweed can cause allergies of the sneezing and sniffling kind, but did you know the plant can also cause skin irritation? If you’re allergic to ragweed, you might also experience hives if you come into physical contact with the plant or its pollen.
There are different species of ragweed, but common ragweed is a tall plant with fern-like leaves. In late summer, the plant also produces green flowers.
Leadwort, or plumbago, is a shrub that’s often planted as a hedge. If you come into contact with the shrub’s sap, leaves, stems, or roots, you may experience a skin reaction that causes blistering and a rash.
This plant with a climbing growth habit has flower clusters that can be blue, white, or pink.
These delicate-looking flowers often show up in flower arrangements. They’re pretty, but their pollen can trigger allergies, and the sap can cause a nasty skin reaction that leads to a rash.
This perennial plant grows up to 3 feet tall and features branching clusters of hundreds of tiny white flowers.
The sap of this tall plant with large flower clusters can cause severe skin irritation in some people. If you get giant hogweed sap on your skin and stay in the sun, the combination of the two can lead to painful skin blisters. In some people, the sap can also produce black or purple scarring.
If you encounter giant hogweed sap, be sure to cover the area until you can get out of the sun and wash off the clear, watery fluid as soon as possible.
If you have minor burns from the plant, try applying aloe vera or other topical creams to soothe the skin and reduce swelling. Serious irritation warrants a visit to your healthcare provider.
Once the skin is exposed to hogweed sap, it’ll be more sensitive to the sun. This increased sun sensitivity can continue for years.
This very tall umbrella-shaped plant is topped with wide flower clusters. It can grow up to 14 feet tall and has very big leaves that span up to 5 feet across.