Mom Review: Bleach Baths for Eczema…Do they Work?

eczemaMy daughter has severe eczema.  So severe that she referred to herself as "polka-dotted" when someone commented on her tan. "Boy are you tan..."..."no, I'm just polka-dotted".  Thankfully, she's only six and the "polka-dots" caused by dry skin are still somewhat funny to her...

Lately her condition has worsened and it is no longer funny to either of us.  While I had hoped that the humidity of summer would improve the problem it has aggravated it.  (I am suspect that the 3X daily dose of sunscreen or seasonal allergies is making it worse).

I've tried just about everything to treat her eczema - from slathering on Hydrocortisone creams to trying the "as seen on TV" skin care remedies and while her condition improves somewhat (off and on) nothing has eliminated it.   During my monthly search for the "next best thing" I came across numerous websites that suggested adding a small amount of bleach to a child's bath water will help treat eczema.  Yes - bleach. Like many of you reading this, my initial reaction was, "are you kidding me?". Why would I put bleach in my child's bath water?   So I continued to search and realized that the bleach treatment was actually featured in numerous reputable magazines and websites including Time, WebMD, and ABC

From Time Magazine....

When treating children for chronic eczema, pediatricians may want to look in the laundry room, according to a new study published this week in the journal Pediatrics. The study reports that adding a small amount of household bleach to a child's bathwater can dramatically reduce the itching, rashes and discomfort caused by eczema.

The treatment sounds harsh, but the findings confirm what many pediatric dermatologists have seen anecdotally for years. The theory is that the antimicrobial properties of bleach help relieve symptoms of eczema not by acting directly on that skin condition, but by improving children's skin infections of staph bacteria — a common co-occurrence that exacerbates the irritating symptoms of eczema.

Last year  my husband (who also suffers from eczema) nearly wound up in the hospital after contracting a severe MRSA (anti-biotic resistant) strain of staph infection, therefore, I've been especially concerned about my daughter's condition.   While the "bleach bath" treatment sounds harsh, there is nothing worse than watching a loved one suffer from a staph infection and not knowing what antibiotics (or even *if* antibiotics) will help.

So I'm giving it a try and will post the results (after a few weeks) here.  She had her first bath tonight and so far, so good!  🙂  I used 1/4 cup of bleach in our full tub.   Her hair is the same color...her skin is the same color...and she didn't seem bothered by the smell.  (She actually liked it..."it smells like a pool in here".  Oh...and the tub is bright white and looks AWESOME.  🙂

I'm planning to give her a 10 minute bleach bath nightly followed by a slathering of Aveeno oatmeal lotion (recommended by our neighborhood pharmacist).  Bookmark this post and I will share my review in a few weeks.

(This is just my personal opinion and review - please consult your pediatrician or dermatologist before trying this treatment).