Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. There are various treatment options available to manage its symptoms. One such treatment option is bleach baths, which involve adding a small amount of bleach to bathwater. Can bleach bath help eczema? In this article, we will explore the benefits of bleach baths for eczema and discuss how they can help manage the symptoms of this condition.
What is bleach bath?
Bleach is a chemical solution that is widely used for cleaning and disinfecting purposes. It is commonly made up of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) and water, although there are various types of bleach available on the market, such as hydrogen peroxide and chlorine bleach. In bleach baths, sodium hypochlorite is the primary ingredient used to treat eczema symptoms.
Most of the current treatments for atopic dermatitis have limited effectiveness, negative side effects, or are expensive. Among the activities supporting the treatment of atopic dermatitis, hypochlorite baths deserve special attention. You can easily make a bleach bath at home.
When did bleach baths begin to be used for eczema?
The history of bleach goes back centuries, with early references to the use of chlorine for cleaning and disinfecting dating back to the 1700s. However, the specific use of bleach baths for medical purposes, particularly in the treatment of eczema, is a more recent development. The concept of using bleach to treat skin conditions like eczema was first introduced during World War I, when soldiers were given bleach baths to prevent infection of battlefield wounds.
The topic may have gained traction in 2009, when a study published in the journal Pediatrics suggested that bathing in a diluted bleach solution could help relieve the symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
They found that bleach baths could be an effective way to reduce the severity of atopic dermatitis and manage the symptoms of eczema.
Why do bleach baths work for eczema?
One of the challenges of managing eczema is that it can often lead to secondary infections, particularly from bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus. According to research, individuals with eczema have a higher risk of developing staph infections compared to those without the condition.
Staphylococcus aureus infection is related to the pathogenesis of eczema and AD. In fact, up to 90% of individuals with moderate-to-severe eczema have been found to carry the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus on their skin. Staph infections are a common complication of eczema, and they can make it harder to manage the condition. In some cases, staph infections can cause the eczema to become more severe and difficult to control.
Bleach bath kill staph
Staph infections can also cause additional skin symptoms like crusting, oozing, and painful lesions. Bleach baths are one method that can be used to reduce the risk of staph infections in individuals with eczema, by decreasing the number of bacteria on the skin and preventing further infection.
Properties of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl)
Sodium hypochlorite has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce the number of harmful bacteria on the skin and calm inflammation, respectively. By soaking in a bleach bath, these properties can help to alleviate the symptoms of eczema and promote healthy skin.
Bleach bath – is it safe?
It is a completely safe method of AD treatment, provided that we maintain the appropriate concentration of sodium hypochlorite in the water.
The second factor affecting safety is the temperature of the water. Water that is too hot causes the sodium hypochlorite chemical to break down faster and become airborne, which can irritate the respiratory system.
In addition, make sure that the bleach bath takes place in a bathroom that has a window or adequate ventilation. Exposure to the smell of bleach can make asthma worse.
Are bleach baths safe for babies with eczema?
Bleach baths should be used with caution for babies with eczema. It is best to consult with a pediatrician or dermatologist before trying bleach baths for babies. Alternative options, such as moisturizing and gentle cleansing, may be more appropriate for baby’s delicate skin.
Bleach bath results
Several studies have shown that bleach baths can be effective in reducing the severity of atopic dermatitis. This 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis of 307 patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis provides evidence that bleach baths reduce clinician-reported severity by a relative 22%. One in 10 will likely improve severity by 50%.
In addition, there is an improvement in the quality of life. Success stories of bleach baths are also widely reported among eczema patients, who have found relief from itching, redness, and other symptoms. What’s more these baths show clinical effectiveness in all age groups, both in children and adults.
Bleach bath recipe
How to use bleach baths to help manage eczema flares?
This is step-by-step instructions on how to make a bleach bath for eczema:
- Fill a bathtub with warm water. The water temperature should be comfortable and not too hot, as hot water can further irritate eczema-prone skin.
- Add bleach to the water. The recommended concentration for a bleach bath is typically ½ US cup of regular strength (6%) sodium hypochlorite bleach per 40 gallons of water.
- Mix the bleach into the water thoroughly with your hand.
- Soak in the bath for 10-15 minutes, making sure that all affected areas of the skin are submerged.
- Rinse off with warm water after the bath.
- Pat your skin dry gently with a towel. It is important to moisturize the skin immediately after the bath to lock in moisture and prevent dryness.
Note: It’s important to avoid using undiluted bleach directly on the skin, as this can cause further irritation and damage. It’s also important to follow recommended concentration guidelines and only use bleach baths as directed by a healthcare provider or dermatologist.
Bleach bath concentration – How to calculate?
Adding too much bleach can irritate your skin. However, adding too little may not be beneficial. So, how much bleach do you put in a bath for staph? The final concentration of sodium hypochlorite should be around 0.005%.
What is the amount of bleach in milliliters?
Add 10 ml of regular strength (5%) bleach per every 10 litres of water.
Don’t know how to calculate the amount of bleach? Check out my free calculator:
Water temperature for a bleach bath
The water temperature for a bleach bath should be close to body temperature – warm, but not hot. Ideally, the water should be between 98°F and 104°F (37°C and 40°C). It is important to avoid using water that is too hot, as it can cause skin irritation and discomfort. Additionally, using water that is too cold may reduce the effectiveness of the bleach bath.
In what form and where can I buy bath bleach?
You can buy sodium hypochlorite or bath bleach in various forms. Sodium hypochlorite is typically sold as a concentrated liquid, which can be diluted to the appropriate concentration for a bleach bath. This concentrated liquid is often available at hardware stores, pool supply stores, and some grocery stores. Bath bleach, which is a pre-diluted solution of sodium hypochlorite, can be found in some drugstores and online retailers. It is important to read the label carefully to ensure that the product is safe for use in a bleach bath and that it is the correct concentration.
Should I rinse off after a bleach bath?
Yes, it is important to rinse off with warm water after a bleach bath to remove any residue from the bleach. Drying off with a soft towel and moisturizing immediately after the bath can help prevent dryness and irritation.
Bleach bath card recipe PDF
Do dermatologists recommend bleach baths?
Many dermatologists recommend bleach baths as a treatment option for chronic eczema (atopic dermatitis). However, it is important to note that bleach baths should not be used as a replacement for medical treatment prescribed by a healthcare professional. It is best to consult with a dermatologist before trying bleach baths to ensure they are safe and effective for your specific condition.
Things to remember and safety rules
Before using a bleach bath, it is essential to take certain precautions, such as checking with a dermatologist or pediatrician for safety, not using undiluted bleach, and following the correct concentration and duration for the bath. It is also important to moisturize immediately after the bath to prevent dryness and irritation.
- DO NOT use excessively hot or cold water
- DO NOT use undiluted bleach and never apply bleach directly to your eczema
- DO NOT add any other products or ingredients to the bath
- DO NOT soak for longer than 15 minutes
- DO NOT submerge your head or face under the water
- DO consult with your health care provider first before trying a bleach bath or giving one to your child for the first time
Bleach baths can be a cheap and effective way to manage the symptoms of eczema, including reducing the severity of atopic dermatitis and treating staph infections. While many dermatologists recommend bleach baths, it is important to take precautions and follow the correct recipe and directions to ensure safety and effectiveness.
By incorporating bleach baths into a comprehensive treatment plan, individuals with eczema can find relief from their symptoms and promote healthy skin. Additionally, it is crucial to keep in mind that bleach baths are not a replacement for medical treatment and should be used as a supplement to other treatment options.
Author: Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson is a passionate advocate for healthy living and skin wellness. Through her work, Emily aims to empower individuals to take control of their skin health and lead happier, eczema-free lives.