It sounds like a really extreme treatment for a common condition. But thousands of people around the world swear by bleach baths to manage their eczema.
How bleach can help your skin barrier
People with eczema are more prone than most to skin infections, as their protective skin barrier is not as robust as others. It can let bacteria or yeasts flourish, causing more damage as well as pain and itchiness.
In order to keep infections under control, some dermatologists recommend taking regular baths with a very small amount of bleach added to the water.
The dilution of the bleach is similar to the chlorine added to swimming pools to kill off microbes, so it is a safe way of managing your infection risk.
How to have a safe bleach bath
If you are considering taking bleach baths please discuss with your doctor or dermatology nurse first, as it’s vital to get the dilution of the bleach at safe levels!
Follow these steps:
- Use half a cap (150ml) of regular, thing (not concentrated) household bleach to a full tub of water.
- Do not add any other products (bubble bath etc) to the water.
- Soak in the luke-warm bath for no more than 10 minutes.
- Get out and rinse immediately if your skin reacts strongly to the bleach.
- Pat dry with a very soft towel: don’t rub!
- Apply emollients all over as soon as you get out.
- Limit bleach baths to twice a week.
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If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.