Bleach Baths May Improve Severe Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms

In the past, research has shown that bleach baths can be a helpful tool in addressing or relieving symptoms associated with dermatological issues. For example, some doctors suggest the use of bleach baths for stopping skin infections and reducing the frequency or severity of severe atopic dermatitis flares. According to Healio, a team of researchers from McMaster University recently sought to understand the safety and efficacy of this practice through a systematic review and meta-analysis of existing studies. The findings from their review can be found in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

To begin, the research team found 12 reports comprising of data from 10 clinical trials. Altogether, data from 307 patients with mild-to-severe atopic dermatitis was included. Findings from the study include:

  • Bleach baths are “probably” like to reduce the symptoms of severe atopic dermatitis compared to not using bleach baths. Additionally, patients may experience symptom relief in as little as one month. 
  • Using bleach bath therapy could slightly reduce the risk of Staphylococcus aureus skin infections. 
  • Typically, bleach baths are considered to be relatively safe and well-tolerated. In some patients, this treatment may cause skin dryness or irritation. 
  • Taking a bleach bath 2-3 times each week could promote anti-inflammatory properties within the body.

What are Bleach Baths?

The Mayo Clinic explains that:

a bath with a small amount of bleach added to the water may help lessen symptoms of chronic eczema.

In the study shared above, the research team found that adding ¼ to ½ cup of 5-6% bleach to a full bathtub is the safest and most effective way to run a bleach bath. The Mayo Clinic states approximately the same ratio. Once your bleach bath is set up, bathe the affected individual for just about ten minutes.

After, you can rinse the bleach off if your skin feels a little sensitive. You do not have to perform this step, however. Regardless, after the bath, gently pat and dry your skin before applying a good amount of moisturizer.

About Severe Atopic Dermatitis

You may know atopic dermatitis by another name: eczema. This chronic inflammatory condition causes dry, itchy skin which often weeps a clear fluid when scratched. In severe atopic dermatitis, patients often experience this itchy, dry skin over more areas of their body, or experience worse symptoms. An estimated 30% of people within the United States have severe atopic dermatitis. So what causes this condition? Researchers believe that the cause is a mix of environmental and genetic factors. Many people with severe atopic dermatitis also have allergies. There are factors which can trigger severe atopic dermatitis, such as living in drier climates, irritating chemicals or rough materials, stress, infections, or dyes or fragrances. 

Those with severe atopic dermatitis are at a higher risk of skin infections. Additional symptoms include skin redness or inflammation, lichenification (the thickening or hardening of skin), and severe itchiness. 

Learn more about severe atopic dermatitis.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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