Bleach Baths And Eczema: Time To Take The Plunge?
Ok, we know what you’re thinking.
“I’ve just spent 10 minutes scrubbing the toilet with bleach, why on earth would I then want to jump into a bath full of the stuff?!”
And trust us, you’re not alone!
But give us some room to breathe here.
We don’t know who first tried the idea (someone desperate mid flare up - surely?) or when for that matter, but bleach baths have gained traction globally as an effective technique for dealing with chronic eczema symptoms.
So humour us here.
In this article, you’ll find:
1) Why are bleach baths considered a good idea for eczema?
2) How to use bleach baths
3) Risks and side effects
4) Top tips
First up - why are bleach baths considered a good idea for eczema?
As we know, eczema can cause the skin to crack and break open.
The itch/scratch cycle that goes with this can then increase the risk of you contracting a skin infection.
The thinking therefore goes that a diluted bleach bath can kill unwanted bacteria on your skin, reducing redness, itching and scaling.
Makes sense - right?
Well, not according to everyone.
A review conducted in 2017 found that bleach baths were no more effective for clearing eczema symptoms than bathing in water after 4 weeks of treatment.
But alas, it seems to work for some people, right?
Let’s delve in.
How to use bleach baths
1) Add between 120-150ml of regular, un-concentrated household bleach (4-6% sodium hypochlorite) to at least 10cms of water in an adult bath tub. It’s a good idea to then fill the bathtub up so you can soak all over.
2) If the sodium hypochlorite levels are at the higher end of the range - use less bleach than suggested above.
3) Soak the affected areas or your whole body from the neck down for roughly 10 minutes (15 mins max).
4) Once finished, rinse your skin down with lukewarm water and pat your body dry.
5) Immediately use our calming spray on your eczema patches and moisturise.
6) Don’t repeat more than 2-3 times a week.
7) Never apply bleach directly to the skin.
Risks and side effects
Be careful with the strength of bleach you use - too high a concentration can dry out your skin as can taking too many baths.
If your skin is particularly cracked or broken, a bleach bath can also be painful. If this is the case maybe consider increasing the dilution or reducing the % of sodium hypochlorite.
Point to note - it’s best to consult a doctor first before trying a new treatment for your skin.
Are bleach baths safe for babies?
We know this can seem daunting - placing your baby into a bath full of bleach.
But remember, the amount of chemicals in a bleach bath is similar to the level of chlorine in your local swimming pool.
So yes - they are safe for babies (but always consult with your child's health care professional first).
The advice remains the same as for adults but remember to alter the concentration - 2ml of bleach per litre of bath water should do the trick.
Don’t forget - bleach can make surfaces extra slippery, so be very careful when helping your child in and out of the bath.
1) Avoid using very hot or very cold water - tepid is the order of the day.
2) Resist the temptation to throw in that foaming bath bomb - keep it to just bleach in this instance.
3) Consider using in conjunction with a wet wrap before bed time.
4) If for children - reduce the amount of bleach you use and be sure to check extra carefully for any adverse reactions.
5) Don’t use if you have asthma - the fumes from the bleach can cause trouble with breathing (especially for young babies).
Bleach baths may seem a drastic response to your eczema, but they can be a very effective treatment in helping to reduce symptoms and protect against infection.
If you’re considering this for either yourself or your child - make sure you’re happy with the risks and be sure of the exact steps to follow.
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The yan-yee team
- Skin infection: Types, causes and treatment. (2019). Link
- Chopra R, et al. (2017). Efficacy of bleach baths in reducing severity of atopic dermatitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. DOI: Link
- Wet wrap therapy. (n.d.). Link
- Eczema bleach bath: Can it improve my symptoms? (2020). Link