Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that is often described as “an itch that rashes”. It causes the skin to be red, inflamed, and itchy, and rashes often form after itching.
Affecting nearly 31 million American children and adults, eczema makes it harder for your skin to keep out harmful bacteria, viruses, and other germs, making it prone to inflammation and infections. While there is no cure for eczema, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using bleach baths for people with moderate to severe eczema to improve eczema symptoms and reduce the risk of skin infections.
Let’s talk about what a bleach bath is and how it helps with eczema symptoms. Additionally, we will also discuss some signs of eczema that indicate you need to see a dermatologist.
Bleach Bath: What Is It?
Bleach is a common household cleaning product. It has anti-bacterial properties, and its diluted solution is considered safe and effective at lessening symptoms of chronic eczema.
To prepare an eczema bleach bath, add ¼ to 1/2 half cup of bleach to a bathtub that has a capacity of 40 gallons. Fill the bathtub with warm water. You can use household bleach, but it should contain at least 6% to 8.25% sodium hypochlorite as per the recommendation of the Environmental Protection Agency. However, if the concentration of sodium hypochlorite is near the upper range (that is 8.25), reduce the amount of bleach to 1/4 cup.
When the bleach bath is prepared, soak the child with eczema in the bathtub from the neck down for at least 10 minutes. You can also soak just the affected areas of the skin. After 10 minutes of bath, gently dry your child’s skin with a towel. It is recommended to immediately apply a generous amount of moisturizer on your child’s skin after bleach bath therapy and take the bleach bath no more than three times a week.
Remember that using too much bleach or taking bleach baths too often can cause very dry skin which can make bleach bath therapy painful.
How Bleach Bath Helps Eczema?
A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that children with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis and clinical signs of bacterial infection who received the bleach baths had a five times greater reduction in the severity of their eczema symptoms compared to those who were treated with a placebo.
Eczema occurs when there is a problem with the skin barrier. Many children with atopic dermatitis do not have a special protein “filaggrin” that helps skin cells form a strong barrier between the body and the environment. Skin with too little of this protein has a harder time keeping bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms out.
Eczema also tends to produce an overgrowth of these microorganisms on the skin. These microbes, when entering the underlying tissue or the bloodstream, cause infection, e.g., staph infection.
The antibacterial properties of the bleach help heal that eczema rash and skin infections. For some children, it also reduces the need for topical antibiotics and steroids. While bleach bath works for everyone, it works best for children who often get staph infection of the skin.
When Should You Go to A Dermatology Office for Eczema?
There are a lot of things that you can do to control eczema symptoms. However, sometimes you need to seek medical attention from a dermatologist. Visit a dermatology office if you notice the following signs:
Over-the-Counter Medications and Home Remedies Aren’t Working
There are a lot of over-the-counter medications and home remedies available that can help ease the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Some of them are very good at treating eczema in children. However, if over-the-counter medications and home remedies stop working, you should visit our dermatology office to get a prescription medicine.
Unresponsiveness to Prescription Medications
Unfortunately, when it comes to atopic dermatitis treatment, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. An eczema therapy that works for one child may not work for another. Similarly, you may have to try a few different eczema medications to find the one that works for your child.
Ironically, a treatment that was once beneficial for your child’s eczema may eventually stop producing results. In such a situation, it is advisable to consult your child’s dermatologist who will assess your child’s condition and recommend a new prescription medicine or therapy.
Signs of Infection
If you notice the signs of skin infections, such as the appearance of yellow crust on eczema patches or the development of pus-filled blisters, along with fever and warmth on or around affected areas, it is best to go to a dermatology office right away.
Eczema Treatment at Happy Skin
If you’re looking for a reputable dermatology office with a highly trained and child-friendly provider, visit us here at Happy Skin. Dr. Samantha Casselman is a pediatric nurse practitioner with almost 10 years of experience in pediatric dermatology. She treats a variety of skin conditions of children including eczema.
To make an appointment with Dr. Casselman, call us today at ——- or fill out this easy-to-use form to request an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!