Q. When I was a kid my parents always used calamine lotion for poison ivy. I hated the way it looked on my skin. Is there anything for poison ivy without the pink color?
A. Calamine lotion contains zinc and iron, which creates its distinctive appearance. One option might be Calaclear Lotion, which contains zinc and a local anesthetic, pramoxine, to ease itching. It is colorless.
Other readers have reported that milk of magnesia can ease the itch of a poison ivy rash. It goes on milky, then dries clear.
Prevention when possible is the best approach. If you know that you may be in contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac, you may want to prepare before you go out. A barrier product made for the purpose such as Ivy Block or Stokoguard can be very helpful. Camping stores often carry such products.
If you suspect contact, washing well with soap and water as soon as possible will often prevent the rash from developing. Failing that, alcohol wipes can be used. Cleansing products such as Tecnu or Zanfel are marketed especially for removing urushiol (the irritating oil in these plants that causes the rash).