What are bleach baths? How do they work?

Atopic dermatitis (allergic eczema) is a chronic itchy skin condition that mostly affects children. It can be exacerbated by many factors including environmental allergies, irritants like harsh soaps, food allergies, and sweating. Another factor contributing to flare ups of this condition is Staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria that frequently colonizes and infects the skin of individuals with atopic dermatitis.

Bleach baths are sometimes recommended as part of the treatment regimen for individuals with atopic dermatitis to decrease their bacterial skin colonization and infection. Bleach baths make the bathtub at home into a swimming pool. A ¼ - ½ cup of common household bleach is added to a tub-full of water. Individuals with atopic dermatitis are instructed to soak 2-3 times per week for about 10 minutes each time and then rinse off with fresh water. Researchers recently found that children treated with diluted bleach baths had a reduction in their eczema severity that was five times greater than those in the placebo group. The dilute bleach baths were very well tolerated.  

As always please call if you have questions about the treatment of your eczema.

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