5 Common Causes of Skin Irritations on the Face

Poison ivy causes an itchy, blistery rash that forms on your skin.
Poison ivy causes an itchy, blistery rash that forms on your skin.

Lazy rambles through the great outdoors can be fun, inspiring and relaxing. But redness, itching, swelling and blisters from contact with poisonous plants? Not so much -- especially when it affects your face.

We've all heard of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac, but that doesn't mean we know them when we see them. Common causes of contact dermatitis, these plants release an oily resin known as urushiol, which produces an allergic reaction in many (but not all) people. You can get a rash from directly touching a plant like poison ivy, but you can also get one from clothes, shoes, gear, tools and pets contaminated with urushiol [source: Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania].

Rashes from poisonous plants typically resolve on their own, but you'll be itching like crazy in the meantime. Try an over-the-counter corticosteroid, calamine lotion, oatmeal baths or an oral antihistamine to stop the insanity. For very severe rashes that linger for weeks, doctors may prescribe an oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone, or an antibiotic [source: Mayo Clinic].

Contrary to popular belief, scratching doesn't spread rashes caused by poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Nevertheless, resist the urge so you don't develop scars or a bacterial infection -- two things you definitely don't want on your face.