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Can A Bleach Bath Help Eczema

What Is The Soak And Seal Method

How to use bleach baths to help manage eczema flares

The soak and seal method involves getting your skin wet via a bath or shower followed by sealing the water in with a moisturizer, explains Wulkan. Explaining this to patients allows them to understand that showering and bathing can actually hurt the skin unless you moisturize and seal in the water, he says. For the record, the NEA, too, recommends this post-bathing approach for people with eczema.

Ready to give your bathing routine an overhaul, and try the soak and seal method? Heres a guide to getting your shower time right.

Do Bleach Baths For Eczema Work

Bleach baths are used by some people with eczema to help manage their symptoms. But experts are divided on how effective this treatment option is.

The National Eczema Association says taking a bleach bath two to three times a week can help reduce symptoms and bacteria on the skin that might lead to infections.

But a 2017 study found that while bleach baths could reduce the severity of eczema symptoms, they werent any more effective than bathing just in water.

However, there are limitations to the studies currently available, and larger randomized controlled trials are needed.

One Point For Water Baths

  • A 2016 placebo-controlled study compared 40 participants divided into two groups: one taking bleach baths and other taking water baths. They each took baths twice a week for four weeks. Topical steroid treatment was not permitted during the study. The conclusion was that taking water baths was actually more effective than taking bleach baths. The limitations of the study include the small size of participants and the fact that 14 of the participant were non-adherent .

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Safety Tolerability And Adherence

Adverse events of bleach baths and cleansers were documented in 4 of 5 studies. AE included stinging/burning , itch , xerosis , erythema , urticaria , oozing . There were no differences of AE between bleach and water baths.

Adherence was assessed in 3 studies, but was measured differently across all studies . There were no significant differences in adherence between patients in both treatment arms.

Follow Up With A Thick Moisturizer


“When you get out of the shower or bath, this is the best time to apply a thick moisturizer with ceramides, the proteins that lock moisture into the skin) like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream or Cetaphil Pro Restoraderm that contain filaggrin, the protein that helps also with the skin’s barrier and is often mutated in patients with eczema.”

You May Like: Best Eczema Cream For Toddlers

Bleach Bath Top Tips: Points To Remember

  • Choose plain bleach with no added fragrance or detergents
  • Dilute the bleach in the water before you put your child in
  • Bleach can lose its concentration over time, so dont go for an old bottle thats been in your laundry for years. Buy a new bottle for this purpose.
  • Store the bleach out of reach of your children
  • Use old towels to dry your child
  • Congratulate yourself a little bit for multitasking and cleaning the bath at the same time as disinfecting your child.
  • Avoid contact with your eyes

It wont work for everybody, and it might irritate some peoples skin, but overall it has a positive effect on most. Infection in the wounds and under the crusts is the worse enemy, so I do recommend giving this a try, even if it does sound awfully weird and contrary to keeping harsh substances away from sensitive skin.

If you are unsure, talk to your family doctor or skin specialist first and see what they recommend. But if they have already suggested the bleach bath to you, I say go for it. It definitely helped us.

Eczema Bleach Bath Therapy

Eczema is a common skin condition in children, which begins with very itchy skin. Scratching can cause a rash that can become infected. If your childs eczema is frequently infected, your childs dermatologist may recommend bleach bath therapy.

Bleach baths can be helpful for many children who have moderate to severe eczema. If your childs dermatologist recommends bleach baths, be sure to ask how much bleach to add to the water and how often a bleach bath should be given. Adding the wrong amount or type of bleach to the bath can irritate your childs already sensitive skin.

Dermatologists share these important steps for giving a bleach bath:

  • Use regular strength 6 percent bleach for the bath. Do not use concentrated bleach.
  • Measure the amount of bleach before adding it to the bath water. Use a measuring cup or measuring spoon to add the bleach to the bath. For a full bathtub of water, use a half cup of bleach. For a half-full tub of water, add a quarter cup of bleach. For a baby or toddler bathtub, add one teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water.
  • While the tub is filling, pour the bleach into the water. Adding too much bleach to the bath can irritate your childrens skin. Adding too little bleach may not help.
  • Never apply bleach directly to your childs eczema.
  • Be sure to wait until the bath is fully drawn and bleach is poured before your child enters the tub.
  • Pat your childs skin dry after the bath. Use white towels if you are concerned about bleach stains.
  • Wrap Up In Cold Weather

    Cold, harsh winter winds can dry out skin and cause eczema flares.

    Keep the skin covered when temperatures are low. Also, consider covering the face with a scarf if eczema occurs on the face.

    Many home remedies are suitable for babies and children, but always speak to a doctor before using them on kids of any age.

    The following home remedies may help:

    Avoid Anything With Fragrance Or Labeled As Antibacterial

    Eczema and bleach bath

    Also, youll want to stay away from products with fragrance or that are antibacterial, Wulkan adds. Keep in mind that unscented may still have fragrances, so ensure that any products you buy say fragrance-free and sensitive skin, says Wulkan. Beware of big health claims on the bottle, too. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s gentle on the skin, Wulkan adds.

    Beyond The Bath: Other Methods For Using Apple Cider Vinegar For Eczema

    Because apple cider vinegar has a variety of healthy properties, there are a variety of ways you can use apple cider vinegar for eczema treatments either internally or externally.

    Aside from bathing in apple cider vinegar, you can choose to ingest it through either tea or as an energy shot. You can also use apple cider vinegar as a natural laundry alternative. For instructions, make sure to check out this article from StyleCraze.

    Because apple cider vinegar is an astringent, you still want to be careful when using it. Always keep in mind:

    • Apple cider vinegar should be diluted as to not irritate skin.
    • Dont use the vinegar if you are pregnant.
    • If you suffer from heartburn, ulcers, or chronic indigestion, its best to stay away from it.
    • Those with diabetes should avoid apple cider vinegar due to its interaction with insulin.
    • It can erode tooth enamel if used too often.

    Is A Bath Or Shower Better For My Eczema

    Water is an effective way to put moisture back into the skin, but only if you use lukewarm water, avoid scrubbing and apply a moisturizer within three minutes after bathing or showering. As long as you follow these rules, both bathing and showering are equally effective in keeping the skin barrier healthy and flexible, so that it can better lock in moisture and keep irritants out.

    However, too much contact with water or improper bathing can actually cause irritation. Especially if you repeatedly get your skin wet without moisturizing it immediately afterward. This causes your skin to lose its moisture content and become dry and irritated.

    Studies On The Use Of Bleach Baths

    Despite the fact that there have been very few clinical studies published on the use of bleach baths for infected atopic eczema, they are being suggested as a treatment option by some clinicians since bleach is readily accessible, inexpensive and well-tolerated.

    One of the first studies that suggested that the use of bleach baths may reduce the incidence of recurrent S.aureus cutaneous superinfection, including methicillin-resistant S.aureus among susceptible groups was presented as a poster at the 2007 Society for Paediatric Dermatology Annual Meeting. As an anti-staphylococcal measure, clinic outpatients and household members with a history of cutaneous superinfection with S.aureus were treated with both intranasal mupirocin ointment , and with bleach baths . This dilution of bleach was compared to that of 0.06 teaspoons per gallon or 0.078mL/L in a normally chlorinated swimming pool. A retrospective chart review of 243 children clinically diagnosed with atopic eczema were observed to have a dramatic decrease in culture-confirmed S.aureus skin infections concomitant with the implementation of these measures. In continuing these preventative measures, S.aureus infections decreased from 60 to 6 cases a year with the treatment being well tolerated.

    The Solution To Chronic Skin Infections Is Not Bleach

    Bleach Bath recipe for Ezcema

    The bottom line is that adopting the practice of a bleach bath on a repetitive basis to address chronic issues with MRSA or eczema ultimately will not solve where the infections are coming from in the first place. The skin infections of today are much hardier, stronger, and scarier than in days of old when one or two bleach baths would clear up a simple, one-time bacterial skin infection and that would be that.

    There are many things that can kill MRSA and other bacterial nasties on a topical basis. However, this is not where the health problem is ultimately rooted. Chronic, recurrent issues with MRSA and eczema stem from internal, whole-body issues rooted in gut imbalance .

    For example, Vetericyn might be fine for infection prevention for cuts and wounds or very superficial MRSA infections that wont recur. However, for chronic, entrenched skin problems that dont heal with conventional methods, non-chemical, holistic approaches such as allicin, silver, oregano oil, activated charcoal , and others are far more effective depending on how the MRSA is manifesting and the location on the body.

    For more information, the linked article outlines effective, nontoxic, dietary and supplement approaches for MRSA treatment. And, this linked article outlines doctor-approved, natural eczema remedies.

    Skip the bleach bath!

    Properties Of Household Bleach

    < 9 N
    • Black & Gold bleach, Campbell Consumer Products, Smithfield, NSW Coles Smartbuy bleach, Coles Smartbuy, Hawthorn East, Victoria Power Force liquid bleach, Aldi Stores, Minchinbury, NSW Riviera premium grade bleach , Riviera Whitemount Products, Somerton, Victoria Supremé premium liquid bleach, Loral Ipsum, Bayswater, Victoria White King concentrated bleach , Sara Lee Household and Body Care, Pymble, NSW White King premium bleach , Pental Products, Shepparton, Victoria Woolworths Homebrand bleach , Woolworths, Bella Vista, NSW. NaOCl sodium hypochlorite, NaOH, sodium chloride. AUST L numbers are issued by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and indicate that the product is accepted for supply in Australia and is included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

    Other Faqs About Eczema

    Q: Is Eczema Hereditary?

    The direct causes of eczema are still unknown, but research supports the theory that this common skin condition is genetically linked: occurs more often in people who have a personal or family history of asthma, hay fever, and other allergies. This suggests that there is a genetic factor in the development of eczema .

    Q: Is Eczema Contagious?

    One thing we do know for sure is that eczema is not contagious. You cannot contract the disease simply by touching another patient experiencing an eczema flare up.

    Q: How Can I Treat My Eczema?

    Although theres no cure for eczema, there are a multitude of effective medical dermatology treatments, therapies, and medications available to help manage your symptoms and help you:

    • Control itching
    • Reduce skin inflammation
    • Clear infection

    Eczema Bleach Bath Recipe And Instructions:

    • Warm Bath Water:
    • Draw a warm water bath. Make sure that the amount of bathwater is right-sized to the age of the person taking the bath.
    • Proper dilution of the beach in the water is VERY IMPORTANT. Estimate how much water is going to be used
  • Bleach Bath Recipe:
  • Use regular household bleach which contains between 4 percent to 6 percent sodium hypochlorite. Read the label before usingas you should reduce the amount of bleach used the higher the percentage of sodium hypochlorite.
  • Add ¼ cup of bleach with 5 percent sodium hypochlorite mixed with approximately 20 gallons of water.
  • Bathing:
  • Soak from the neck down or just the affected areas of the skin in the warm water bath with diluted bleach for approximately 10 15 minutes. It is recommended to start with shorter baths initially to make sure the skin is tolerant of the diluted bleach water.
  • An infant suffering from eczema should not soak for longer than 10 minutes.
  • Never leave a child 10 years and under in a bleach bath unattended.
  • Do not use soap, medicated washes or shampoo, a bleach bath is for helping irritated skin inflammation and controlling bacteria that is on the skins surface and not about hygiene.
  • Avoid getting the head wet with bathwater diluted with bleach and make sure to avoid any eye contact. If bleach bathwater gets in the eyes rinse with clear tap water, not the bleach bathwater.
  • After Bleach Bath:
  • Rinse off with warm, clear water to remove all residual bleach.
  • Never apply bleach directly to the skin
  • What Is A Chlorine Bleach Bath

    Eczema: Bleach bath therapy

    The common directive for a therapeutic bleach bath is as follows:

    • Fill a standard size bathtub with warm water to the overflow drainage level.
    • Pour 4 oz of chlorine bleach into the filled tub.
    • Soak the entire body or affected areas only for 10 minutes.
    • Rinse off with warm water and quickly dry with a towel to avoid chills.

    The premise behind the bleach bath recommendation is that the chlorine is a very effective sanitizer. No argument there! Chlorine does kill the bacteria associated with all types of skin infections including the staph from eczema lesions or MRSA, the mutated superbug with the scary-sounding name Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

    Tips For Bathing And Moisturizing With Eczema

    Some things to remember when bathing:

    • Take at least one bath or shower a day
    • Bathe or shower in lukewarm water for 10 to 15 minutes
    • Avoid scrubbing your skin with a washcloth or loofah
    • Use a gentle cleanser
    • During severe flares, limit the use of cleansers to further avoid irritation

    Some things to remember when moisturizing:

    • Use a high-oil content moisturizer twice a day to improve hydration and protect the skin barrier
    • Moisturize hands every time you wash them or they come into contact with water
    • Schedule your bathing and moisturizing routine at night, just before bed. This can help your skin better retain its moisture
    • If you have eczema on your hands, soak your hands in water, then follow with an application of your prescription medication and moisturizer. Wear cotton gloves over your hands while you sleep to help lock in the moisturizer

    What Can You Put In The Bath To Wash Eczema Skin

    With first two children, we knew it was bad within their first months out of the womb. I gave birth to tiny little hot eczema babies.

    I had been using the baby products recommended by my midwives at the hospital, but apparently, that was way too harsh to expose tiny eczema babies too. Not only could I not use baby bath products, I couldnt even use soap or shampoo to wash my baby.

    There were, fortunately, some recommended natural products that I could pop in their bath. All of the following were helpful:

    It does sound like I was making cake batter rather than bathing my children, but with eczema, you start to learn to just roll with it.

    My son would scratch so much that his skin never got a chance to heal, and infection inevitably set in, on his little scalp and chubby red cheeks. Because he was drooling and teething and sucking on his hands as well, his face was always being irritated and exposed to constant bacteria.

    So, I gave the bleach bath a try.

    Opt For Oil In Your Moisturizer

    When it comes to choosing an eczema-friendly moisturizer, the oilier the better. An ointment, such as Vaseline, is the ultimate moisturizer the problem is that it can be too greasy for many patients to apply to their entire skin, says Wulkan. Therefore, I typically recommend a cream, which is the next best thing, he says. Meanwhile, lotions are often less oily, and not as effective for people with eczema, so the American Academy of Dermatology advises skipping them. The American Academy of Dermatology also suggests buying moisturizers that are dye-free and fragrance-free, too.

    RELATED: Top 10 Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

    Other Irritants In Bleach

    The Rise of Sleep Deficiency

    As well as containing approximately 36% NaOCl, household bleaches usually also contain up to 0.51.5% NaOH as a stabiliser and often small amounts of surfactants, perfume to hide the smell, and sud suppressors., , Skin contact with NaOH will produce caustic irritation or burns due to the defatting and saponification of skin oils and the destruction of tissue, giving a slippery feel on the skin due to this process. Surfactants , perfumes and sud suppressors are also known to be skin irritants., ,

    Bleach Baths For Eczema In Babies

    In a previous article, I talked about seeing several doctors for my eczema child. A pediatric dermatologist was the one that recommended bleach baths for eczema in babies. Ever since then Ive been giving them which baths whenever their eczema flares up. I have found it especially helpful when managing their eczema with cream doesnt help. Sometimes cream/moisturizing is not enough. Sometimes you just need a little boost and thats where the bleach bath comes in.

    There are affiliate links in this post. Read my disclosure policy to learn more.

    Is A Bleach Bath Safe

    This is a common question that I hear frequently and I think its a legitimate question. From personal experience, I did not have bad side effects or outcomes with bleach baths for eczema in babies. It definitely sounds scary giving bleach to your precious child or baby. The good news is that the bleach bath that I give to my children is dilute enough to not irritate their skin, but potent enough to get kill the S. Aureus bacteria and reduce the exacerbation of eczema. Again, if you have more questions or concerns, please discuss it with your physician.


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