Eczema Bleach bath therapy
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* This section is provided free of charge to you from the American Academy of Dermatology's library. We do not treat all conditions listed here, nor do we perform all treatments discussed in this section. This is purely meant to be a reliable resource for patients with an interest in, or questions about, a wide array of dermatologic topics.
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Eczema is a common skin condition in children, which begins with very itchy skin. Scratching can cause a rash that can become infected. If your child’s eczema is frequently infected, your child’s dermatologist may recommend bleach bath therapy.
Bleach baths can be helpful for many children who have moderate to severe eczema. If your child’s dermatologist recommends bleach baths, be sure to ask how much bleach to add to the water and how often a bleach bath should be given. Adding the wrong amount or type of bleach to the bath can irritate your child’s already sensitive skin.
Dermatologists share these important steps for giving a bleach bath:
- Use regular strength — 6 percent — bleach for the bath. Do not use concentrated bleach.
- Measure the amount of bleach before adding it to the bath water. Use a measuring cup or measuring spoon to add the bleach to the bath. For a full bathtub of water, use a half cup of bleach. For a half-full tub of water, add a quarter cup of bleach. For a baby or toddler bathtub, add one teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water.
- While the tub is filling, pour the bleach into the water. Adding too much bleach to the bath can irritate your children’s skin. Adding too little bleach may not help.
- Never apply bleach directly to your child’s eczema.
- Be sure to wait until the bath is fully drawn and bleach is poured before your child enters the tub.
- Talk with your dermatologist about how long your child should soak in the tub. Most dermatologists recommend a five to 10 minute soak.
- Pat your child’s skin dry after the bath. Use white towels if you are concerned about bleach stains.
- If your child uses eczema medication, apply it immediately after the bath. Then moisturize your child’s skin.
It’s very important for parents to talk with their board-certified dermatologist before beginning bleach bath therapy with their child. Bleach bath therapy can be a key component, along with overall good skin care, to gain control of your child’s eczema.