Bleach has been used in medicine as an antiseptic and disinfectant since the 18th century, to treat gangrene, ulcers, burns, and wounds. It is later during the 20th century when it started being considered for eczema. Bleach is harsh at full concentration but when diluted it can be used as a strong arsenal to treat both children and adults to control the symptoms, reduce eczema flare-ups as well as in fighting off bacteria encouraging eczema. Here is more on the use of bleach bath for eczema, whether it is safe and how to prepare a bleach bath for eczema.
How Does It Work? What are the Benefits?
Bleach has several unique qualities and when added to a bath it reduces inflammation, it moisturizes your skin and most importantly kills bacteria all in the same treatment. Bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus which 90% of people suffering from eczema have on their skin will be destroyed by this method of disinfection. The low levels of oxidation help calm inflammation by turning on some anti-inflammatory pathways in the skin
Bleach baths will also reduce chances of eczema flare-ups and will also control some of the symptoms. These are among the reasons why people who have regular bleach baths are less likely to get secondary bacterial infection e.g. staph infection which comes as side effects of eczema.
Is Bleach bath irritating to the Skin? Is it safe?
When bleach is used as a concentrated form it’s extremely harmful to your skin, a reason why it is diluted when used in baths. The correct ratio of water to bleach should be used. When diluted and mixed correctly it similar to the way correct chlorine concentration is in swimming people which well tolerable. So correctly diluted bleach baths do not irritate the skin and are not harmful and safe for people of any age with eczema.
What Should I Beware of When Using or Buying Bleach?
There are several things you should watch out when buying or using bleach for a bleach bath. You should pay attention to sodium hypochlorite concentration of bleach it should be about 6 percent which is the same as many home bleaches (for example Clorox liquid bleach) but it’s still important to check. Avoid bleach that contains fragrances because they linked to worsening eczema flare-ups. Avoid bleach with perfumes and sub suppressors they are known to bring about skin irritation.
What amount of bleach should you add to bleach bath?
It depends on the amount of water you want to use. For a ½ full tub of water use ¼ cup of bleach. For a full tub of water use ¾ cup of bleach, you can see where am going with this, the measure is to ensure to get hypochlorite to be around 0.005%; the tub is a U.S standard – sized tub. Or in specifics mix about 118 milliliters (½ a cup) or 59 milliliters (¼ a cup) of bleach to about 151-liters (40-gallon) bathtub filled with warm water.
How to Prepare Bleach Bath for Eczema
- Lukewarm water of about 40 gallons of water (151L)
- ¼ a cup or ½ a cup (59–118mL milliliters) of bleach
- Pour ¼ a cup or ½ a cup of bleach into running lukewarm water into the tub. It will ensure proper dispensation of the bleach. Then mix the water and bleach well before bathing.
- For babies, it should be 2 tablespoons for.4 gallons bathtub
- Get into the tub and soak for 5-10 minutes and you can go up to 15 minutes if your eczema is severe. Do not completely submerge in the bleach bath to avoid the bleach water mix from getting into your eyes “you can wear eye protection”.
- Rinse your skin clear thoroughly with fresh lukewarm water at the end of the bleach bath, it will prevent irritation and dryness.
- Pat dry gently with a dry towel but don’t rub to avoid scratching. If you are concerned about bleach stains use white towels.
- After all of these apply moisturizer like Vaniply emollient which is highly recommended by dermatologist
Do these for 2 to 3 times weekly
Talk to a dermatologist before embarking on using bleach bath for eczema. Don’t add any other ingredients or products to the bleach bath and if baths are painful stop using them and consult a doctor.
Tips when using Bleach Bath for Eczema
- Don’t soak more than 15 minutes
- Never pour bleach on your skin directly
- Use latex-free gloves when measuring and dispensing bleach
- Don’t allow children to prepare their own baths
- If you are allergic to chlorine don’t use bleach
- Don’t swallow
- Properly measure water and bleach in the right ratio
- Discuss with a doctor if you are using bleach bath for the first time and follow directions and warnings.
- Don’t use very cold or very hot water
I personally cringed at the sound of intentionally adding bleach to bathwater. When you think of how harsh it has to be to strip of tough stains, putting it in the same sentence with delicate eczema skin doesn’t sound right. But I finally understand the reasoning behind this. Other than get rid of stains, at dilute concentrations, it effectively kills bacteria a common cause of itching in eczema. Bacteria will easily enter the broken skin and cause irritation which will in turn cause itching.
I summed this up with lots of positive reviews from people who have found relief from the use of bleach baths for eczema. Have you used bleach baths for eczema? Comment below on how this worked for you. Would you recommend it to other people?