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Eczema bleach bath: Can it improve my symptoms?

A bath with a small amount of bleach added to the water may help lessen symptoms of chronic eczema (atopic dermatitis).

Eczema is an itchy skin condition, often worsened by a bacterial infection. An eczema bleach bath can kill bacteria on the skin, reducing itching, redness and scaling. This is most effective when combined with other eczema treatments, such as medication and moisturizer.

If properly diluted and used as directed, a bleach bath is safe for children and adults. For best results:

  • Add 1/4 cup (about 59 milliliters) to 1/2 cup (about 118 milliliters) of bleach to a 40-gallon (about 151-liter) bathtub filled with warm water. Measures are for a U.S. standard-sized tub filled to the overflow drainage holes. Use household bleach and read the product label. In the United States, bleach products may contain 6 percent to 8.25 percent sodium hypochlorite, the Environmental Protection Agency says. If the concentration of sodium hypochlorite is at the higher end of that range, use less than a 1/2 cup of bleach.
  • Soak from the neck down or just the affected areas of skin for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse if your skin doesn't tolerate the bleach bath well. Gently pat dry with a towel.
  • Immediately apply moisturizer generously.
  • Take a bleach bath no more than three times a week.

You may experience dry skin if you use too much bleach or take bleach baths too often. If your skin is cracked or very dry, any bath — including a bleach bath — may be painful. Talk to your doctor before trying an eczema bleach bath.

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