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Allergic Contact Dermatitis

The Croton or Codaieum is in the Euphorbiacae family and as such these plants are commonly found to have a free flowing juice or sap with toxic or irritating compounds. Anyone working with Pencil Cactus, Poinsettia or Crotons knows that the sap or juice will stain clothes badly and cannot be removed. Extensive work with these plants requires old clothing or protection.

The chemical compound found in the Croton sap and associated with contact dermatitis is:


This compound is part of the plant’s natural defense system and if ingested will cause pain and discomfort in small doses. If the skin is repeatedly exposed to this sap, a rash can easily develop (just like Ficus sap). If you are sensitive, we recommend long sleeves, gloves, frequent washing with soap and avoidance as the first line of defense. If a rash develops, we have found 2.5% hydrocortisone cream beneficial and as a last result, a physician directed treatment of oral cortisone steroids. It’s a nasty rash on the arms and neck that we have learned about the hard way.

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