Zanfel FAQ

About Zanfel

Zanfel Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac Wash® is a safe and effective topical solution for the reaction caused by exposure to poison ivy, poison oak, and sumac. Zanfel is a specially formulated wash that is clinically shown to remove urushiol, the toxin found in poison ivy, oak and sumac, from the skin and relieve itching ANYTIME after an outbreak.


How Does Zanfel Work?

Urushiol is the sticky resin found in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac that causes skin irritation, rashes, and other allergic reactions when people come into contact with it.

Zanfel works by effectively removing urushiol from the skin. While regular products temporarily reduce itching but do nothing to remove urushiol, Zanfel treats the problem, not just the symptoms. It works to effectively remove urushiol from your skin by binding with the toxin to create an aggregated cluster, then moves it to the surface of the skin where it can quickly and effectively be washed away with water.

We've been asked if Zanfel can prevent poison ivy reaction, and the answer is no. Zanfel actually removes the toxin, urushiol oil, from the skin after contact has been made with the plant. There is no need to use it until you are certain you contacted the plant or when swelling and itching begin. In this way, you avoid wasting the product. Even if you use barrier or preventive creams, they may not always be effective and they do not shield your clothing.

For information on poison ivy protection and increasing resistance to the plant, see Outdoor Joe's!

Why Does Zanfel Work?

The key to stopping the itch is actually removing the poison ivy, poison sumac, or poison oak toxin from the skin. This toxin (urushiol) is the cause of the allergic reaction (contact dermatitis). Zanfel actually removes the toxin from the layer of skin so that the itching stops and the body is put into a position to immediately begin healing the rash. 

So, to clarify, Zanfel removes urushiol, the oil in poison ivy that binds to the skin and produces the symptoms of itching, redness, and swelling. Zanfel surrounds and removes the toxin from the dermal layers so that the body may immediately begin healing, and will no longer attack itself!

How Fast Does Zanfel Work?

Zanfel works by surrounding and removing the toxin (urushiol) from the dermal layers so that the body may immediately begin healing, and will no longer attack itself. This process is done very quickly and efficiently so that relief usually comes within 30 seconds!

You can typically expect that you will begin to feel relief within seconds of washing with Zanfel. The healing begins as the toxin is removed so in most cases, you will feel relief very, very quickly! After completing the first treatment, you should be itch-free and 75-80% of the rash also should disappear within 24 hours. For most people, no more treatments are required. 


Is Zanfel Safe?

Yes! Zanfel is perfect for everyone! This safe formulation can be safely used by children, pregnant and nursing women. No matter your age, Zanfel provides the healing relief you need most! Zanfel is safe to use on any external body area, including the face and genitals. 

We do not, however, recommend ingesting Zanfel. Zanfel is for external use only.

If accidentally swallowed, Zanfel usually causes gagging. If not, it enters the digestive tract and seeks out and kills all bacteria. Good bacteria in your gut aids in digestion, so you may experience mild diarrhea for several hours until your body regenerates the good bacteria. If Zanfel gets into your eyes, rinse them with water until the burning subsides. If problems become severe or if they persist, see your healthcare provider immediately.

When is the Best Time to Use Zanfel?

Zanfel can and should be used ANYTIME after the rash appears. Remember, You will begin to feel relief within seconds of washing with Zanfel!

Poison ivy, sumac, and oak secrete a toxin called urushiol oil. When human skin contacts this oil, it sets up an allergic reaction that causes itchy rashes, blisters, and lesions. A course of treatment with Zanfel involves washing the affected area until no itching remains. Some spots may contain more urushiol oil than others and, therefore, require a second washing with Zanfel. If you feel any itching whatsoever, you have not properly completed the first treatment!


After completing the first treatment, you should be itch-free and, within 24 hours, 75-80% of the rash also should disappear. For most people, no more treatments are required. For others, the deeper oils that were out of Zanfel's reach the first time begin to move up to the surface, and the itch may return within two to 24 hours, depending on the severity. In this case, a second treatment may be required. Note: For any severe reactions typically having the appearance of thick leathery spots, further applications may be needed in those areas only .

-Zanfel's Official Website Product FAQ

What Side Effects Should I Expect from Zanfel?

Zanfel has been clinically tested. There are no known side effects to using Zanfel, and its formulation can be safely used by children, pregnant, and nursing women. No matter your age, Zanfel provides the healing relief you need most!

Important: If your reaction is systemic and you treat it only with Zanfel, Zanfel IS working if your itch and pain go away. However, new oil will continue to resurface, and the rewashing cycle may go on for weeks. It is important that you see your healthcare provider to halt further outbreaks.

-Zanfel's Official Product FAQ

What Else Should I Know About Using Zanfel?
  • Zanfel is the ONLY product clinically shown to remove the toxin urushiol ANYTIME after the outbreak. 

  • Zanfel is very instruction-specific. Be sure to read and follow ALL steps in the instructions.

  • For most mild to moderate cases, ONE application of Zanfel is all that is needed.

  • If the itch returns, rewash with Zanfel as per the directions. If the itch is gone, there is no need to reapply.

Again, Zanfel is effective at any point after contact with poison ivy and will provide relief regardless of how long you have suffered from the allergic reaction.

If you know within the first hour that you contacted poison ivy, sumac, or oak, some experts claim that plain soap and water might wash it off the skin. They suggest that washing is effective if you catch it within the first two to four hours after exposure. Other experts believe that unless you wash within the first 10 minutes, the oil will bind to the skin. Once the oil has bonded, Zanfel is the only substance known to remove the oil.

Want to avoid getting poison ivy-related rashes? 

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