In a previous article, I talked about seeing several doctors for my eczema child. A pediatric dermatologist was the one that recommended bleach baths for eczema in babies. Ever since then I’ve been giving them which baths whenever their eczema flares up. I have found it especially helpful when managing their eczema with cream doesn’t help. Sometimes cream/moisturizing is not enough. Sometimes you just need a little boost and that’s where the bleach bath comes in.
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How does a bleach bath help eczema?
A bleach bath helps reduce Staphylococcus aureus (SA). This is a bacteria that is part of the normal flora of your skin. It usually doesn’t cause problems for most people. For people with eczema, however, it can exacerbate their skin condition. It’s uncertain why it happens, but it does. (1) By decreasing the load of S. Auerus on your child’s skin, you can help calm their skin down. This has definitely been the case for me. As always, speak with your physician before starting a bleach bath.
How do I give a bleach bath?
This is a protocol for giving a bleach bath per American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):
- Speak with your doctor before starting a bleach bath
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of bleach for 40 gallons of water in a bathtub(2), (3)
- In the United States, bleach product may contain 6- 8.25% sodium hypochlorite
- Soak from neck down for 5 minutes
- Rinse the skin well
- Pat dry with towel
- Moisturize as soon as they are out of bath within 3 minutes
That seems like a lot of water!
Agreed! I don’t fill my entire bathtub with water because 40 gallons is a lot! Not only do I not want a high water bill, but I also want to be a good steward of my water use. So I use a toddler tub instead AND a capful of bleach into the toddler tub.
Does a bleach bath really help?
The idea of applying bleach on your child sounds harsh, but it’s very dilute. Bleach baths are very similar to a chlorinated pool. Pools tend to have a higher concentration strength of chlorine than bleach baths. It works very well for my little one and so far has not had issues. Many mothers I have talked to stated it worked well for their children as well. Some people give their child daily baths. Others, 3x a week. Personally, I give a bleach bath when he’s having a bad eczema day.
Is bleach bath a cure-all?
From my experiences, treating eczema is multifactorial. Bleach baths do help, but they are not the only thing that helps. I have been treating my children from the inside and outside. Meaning, I give them nutritious foods that will help their gut and not cause allergic reactions. I do avoid certain foods, but that’s until they outgrow their allergies. Also, I treat their eczema from the outside. Besides bleach bath, a good moisturizer and occasional steroids on bad days go a long way.
Is a bleach bath safe?
This is a common question that I hear frequently and I think it’s a legitimate question. From personal experience, I did not have bad side effects or outcomes with bleach baths for eczema in babies. It definitely sounds scary giving bleach to your precious child or baby. The good news is that the bleach bath that I give to my children is dilute enough to not irritate their skin, but potent enough to get kill the S. Aureus bacteria and reduce the exacerbation of eczema. Again, if you have more questions or concerns, please discuss it with your physician.
Who should avoid bleach baths?
If your child has a known sensitivity to bleach, discuss it with your doctor before using this type of bath. Although most people do not have issues with bleach baths, everybody is unique so proceed with caution.
What type of bleach should I use?
Household bleach can be used. For example, in the United States, bleach products usually contain 6% to 8.25 % sodium hypochlorite. I use CLOROX, which contains 6% sodium hypochlorite.
I hope this article gives you more information about bleach baths for eczema in babies and the benefits. In general, bleach baths are touted to be safe for babies and children because it is diluted. With that said, always consult your physician first before giving a bleach bath.