If you suffer from eczema, you know how painful, itchy, and annoying it can be. Finding an effective treatment isn’t always easy, but if you’ve tried everything and are still itching, you might want to try this safe, affordable cure: The next time you feel an eczema flare up, try soaking in a bleach bath. Yes, bleach!
In order to understand why this works, it’s important to understand eczema. Eczema is a skin condition that causes itchy rashes, which often become infected when bacteria or viruses get into open wounds. Unfortunately, these rashes can develop anywhere on the skin (most often on the arms and behind the knees) and are endlessly irritating. People who struggle with eczema also often struggle to find relief, as the condition doesn’t always respond to one simple treatment.
What gets rid of eczema fast?
Most eczema patients turn to moisturizers, and sometimes steroids, for relief from the itching — but a bleach bath can work much more quickly. That’s because bleach kills the bacteria on the skin and helps reduce painful symptoms like inflammation and redness. “It gently exfoliates skin to reduce the scaliness that accompanies eczema,” New York City dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD, tells First for Women.
If this sounds a little crazy to you, think of all the times you’ve swum in pools — especially public ones. Those are filled with chlorine (are you remembering the familiar smell?) which is essentially bleach. So, if you’ve ever gone swimming, you’ve already tried this trick! In addition, the practice is approved by the Mayo Clinic and the National Eczema Association, both of which point to research on how bleach baths kill harmful bacteria.
How to Take a Bleach Bath for Eczema
First things first: It’s always a good idea to talk to your dermatologist before trying a new at-home treatment. And if you’re concerned about vaginal health, it’s best to skip it. Bleach baths can change the vaginal flora, since they kill both good and bad bacteria, and potentially lead to yeast infections. But if you’re still hoping to try a bleach bath for eczema, here’s how to do it.
To ensure that your bleach bath for eczema is safe, add a quarter cup of bleach to a full tub. You won’t want to add more bleach than that — otherwise, it could irritate your skin. Then, soak for 10 minutes. The soak will hopefully give you the soothing relief you crave, but try not to overdo it. “Limit a bleach-infused bath to once a week, since bleach can end up drying out skin,” Dr. Jaliman says.
If your skin is sensitive to the bleach, you can rinse off after the 10 minutes are up. That will reduce the chances of irritation developing without taking away the benefits of your soak. In addition, the Mayo Clinic suggests adding this practice to your already established treatment plan, as it works best in tandem with medication or moisturizers.
While it might sound a little out there, a bleach bath might just be the thing that finally gives you relief from eczema. (Plus, your tub will be sparkling clean afterwards!)