In people with eczema, the skin’s natural moisture barrier is damaged. Loss of moisture causes dry skin – a major trigger for eczema flares. Done correctly, bathing can soothe eczema symptoms and prevent flare-ups by replenishing your skin’s moisture.
What does it involve?
Both baths and showers can help replenish the skin’s moisture. No matter how you bathe, it is vital to follow certain guidelines to safely care for your skin. Only bathe in lukewarm water – hot water can irritate skin and trigger an eczema flare. Bathe at least once a day for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not scrub or exfoliate your skin. Soap can dry and irritate the skin, so use gentle cleansers, preferably products without fragrances or dyes. If you are experiencing a severe flare, use less cleanser to spare your skin further irritation.
After bathing, gently pat yourself dry with the towel instead of scrubbing. Within three minutes of leaving the tub or the shower, apply a generous amount of moisturizer with high oil content all over your skin to lock in moisture.
Some people with eczema benefit from adding various inexpensive, household products to their baths.
Bath oils can help keep your skin lock in moisture. Choose gentle oils made without fragrance or bubbles.
To relieve itching, try adding a quarter-cup of baking soda to your bath.
Oatmeal can also help soothe itching. Colloidal oatmeal is considered the most effective form of oatmeal to add to baths. Colloidal oatmeal has been milled into fine powder to remain suspended in bathwater, rather than sink to the bottom of the tub.
For people prone to skin infections, try adding a half-cup of bleach to a full bath. A very mild bleach solution can help limit the amount of bacteria on your skin. Most people find bleach baths safe and effective when taken two or three times a week. A bleach bath may be painful if your skin is cracked. Wait until the cracks are healed before trying this addition. When using bleach in the bath, limit your soak to 10 minutes and rinse off afterwards.
Similarly, adding one pint of vinegar to your bath water may help limit the bacteria population. Apple cider vinegar is often mentioned as a popular type of vinegar to try in baths.
During severe flares, plain water may sting your skin. It may help to add one cup of table salt to your bath.
A gentle and effective bathing routine can improve eczema symptoms and help your skin stay its healthiest.
Bathing in too-hot water can cause the skin to dry even more, exacerbating eczema symptoms.
You may miss hot baths and showers, exfoliating, and scrubbing dry.
Your home may not have a bath tub.
Fore more information, visit:
Eczema and Bathing – National Eczema Association
Eczema bleach bath: Can it improve my symptoms? – Mayo Clinic