Last year, when an eczema bleach bath study was published in the Pediatrics journal, I was crossing my fingers for our one-year old toddler (he has very severe eczema). The treatment is suppose to reduce symptoms of chronic eczema (atopic dermatitis). According to the buzz in the media, a bleach bath is practically a miracle treatment for eczema. In reality, the treatment doesn’t cure eczema, but it is suppose to help significantly. This year, our dermatologist finally gave us approval to try the bleach bath treatments for eczema on our little toddler.
Bleach Bath Treatment for Eczema
For the eczema bleach bath treatment, a small amount of bleach is added to warm water (a half cup of bleach for a 40-gallon bathtub). According to research, an eczema bleach bath kills bacteria that grow on the skin. The bath is suppose to reduce itching, redness, scaling, and other symptoms of eczema. For the treatment, dads and moms are suppose to soak the affected areas of skin for at least five to ten minutes. According to the medical community, moms and dads shouldn’t give a bleach bath to their kids more than twice a week. Two times a week wasn’t work out for our toddler, so we give him a bleach bath every other day.
We’ve been giving our toddler bleach baths for about three months now. The verdict: it helps, but it is not a miracle treatment for eczema. Before we started the treatments, our one-year old had swollen hands and they felt like alligator skin. OK, I’ve never actually touched an alligator or crocodile before, but our toddler’s hands were very rough and he didn’t like people touching his hands. His hands use to itch so much that he would rub the back of hands on the carpet until they got bloody and eventually became infected.
After three months of bleach baths, his hands are still not baby soft. But they are not rough like an alligator either. They feel more like the texture of a unicorn’s horn (smooth, but kinda gritty). This is an improvement from before, but sometimes he still scratches like crazy. That’s why I concluded the bleach baths treatment is helpful, but is not a miracle treatment for eczema (in our case). My guess is that the treatment might work better with older kids because they have better control when it comes to scratching.
Note: eczema bleach baths are more effective when combined with other eczema treatments, such as medication and daily moisturizers.
[Warning: a bleach bath can cause skin dryness if the bleach concentration is too high or if the bath is done too often. Please consult your doctor before giving a bleach bath to your children or yourself.]