If you suffer eczema, like me, and someone suggests that you bathe in bleach, don’t jump right in. Some research claims that bleach baths help control and alleviate symptoms and are effective in reducing bacteria, inflammation and itching. Yet, there does not appear to be any conclusive evidence that bathing in bleach helps. It may actually cause more discomfort.
Those with eczema have a higher rate of asthma than those without. Imagine bathing in a not so well-ventilated bathroom, in warm, bleached bathwater? Bleach fumes in warmth create the perfect storm for an asthma flare-up. Also, nasal irritation, dry skin and rashes. Bleach bath treatment is temporary, so at least twice a week is recommended. Steroid creams might be suggested for moisturizing. These may provide some temporary relief but can also cause more side effects.
Most bleaches also contain fragrances. Not good. It is best to consider other ways to bathe.
The ‘so much better than bleach bath’ alternatives
Baking soda: ¼ cup baking soda (a good choice is Red Mills aluminum free) added to warm water. You can also make a paste and apply to the skin
Oatmeal: Same method as above.
Vinegar: 1-2 cups of vinegar (organic apple cider vinegar is best) to kill bacteria and restore the skin’s PH to normal
Oil: add about 1 tbsp or 15 ml of your favourite carrier oil to the bath water (argan, emu, jojoba, sunflower, apricot oil, almond, avocado, coconut, shea etc.) or 5-20 drops of essential oils (tea tree, clove, chamomile, geranium etc.) Avoid mineral oil or fragranced products.
Salts: Add about 1 cup salts to bathwater. Himalayan, Dead Sea, Epsom
If you do not like baths or one is not available, you can apply baking soda, oatmeal or water diluted vinegar spritzes, leave for a few minutes and then shower off.
Soap is key. Use natural homemade soap bars made without fragrance or dyes. Unless using the latherless liquid castile, most liquid soaps are chemically laden detergents which can highly aggravate skin issues. Beware of detergent bars. They are not real soaps.
To moisturize and soothe dry, itchy skin after the bath
Anyone suffering dry, itchy skin, whether winter month flare ups or all year haunts, choose all natural moisturizers (oils, creams. lotions, butters).
One’s DNA, diet, and environment all play a role in our issues. Many are puzzling and often beyond our control. We can, however, feed our skin the best it deserves. And Bleach is not the best.