Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Controlling Eczema: Bleach Baths...

Okay, so you may be very skeptical of this post.  I was when I stumbled upon an article about Eczema and the mother mentioning this.


I thought... hmmm that's interesting.  I was becoming frustrated with my 2-1/2 y.o.son's eczema early this spring and was getting frustrated because I knew that he was getting a lot of secondary infections from the inflamed skin, so just moisturizing as his pediatricians constantly suggested was not cutting it.

My husband often suffers from athletes foot, I don't know what it is but he was getting it this spring (most likely from an old pair of boots that he wears on outings--that increase in frequency in the spring). He uses the same bathtub that the kids bathe in.  I was noticing that DIY-son's common eczema patch under his knee (usually flares up when the weather warms up--from sweat/or irritation or just wearing shorts) was looking patchy like a fungal infection. See image below.  His has never gotten this bad but I could see raised borders and circular patches.
source: http://www.pennmedicine.org/encyclopedia/em_PrintArticle.aspx?gcid=000877
 So I started putting Clotrimazole Cream (name brand Lotrimin-original formula) on his itchy patches... Oh they really itch him (especially when he sweats or goes more than a couple days between baths).  But,  I worried that every time I bathed him he was getting re-infected and often scrubbed the tub before bathing him. And because we have a rubber mat in this bathtub at our new home (no texture on the bottom of the tub) I was trying my best to scrub it too and to be sure everyone draped it to dry off between use.  It was becoming such a pain and I was getting so paranoid that this vicious cycle would never end.

I started searching on the web for ways to treat/prevent eczema and preventing/treating secondary infections.  I stumbled on that first article then I looked for more articles on bleach treatments and found this article that describes studies that were done.


I thought I would give it a try, so I measured about 1/4 cup of bleach into his baths about half full and I felt so much better about the rubber mat and all the fungus it could be harboring... My daughter thought it was fun because it seemed like they were at the swimming pool.  I bathe him first and then I add more hot water (to warm it up more and she likes a deeper bath) before my daughter gets in.  Then her bath is much more diluted.

Within a couple days I was seeing results and his flare ups actually went away for much of the summer.

Our Regular Routine:
I bathe my son about every other day (about 3-4 times a week) If/when my son would get a patch under his leg or around his wrist I found it helpful to scrub the patches with a washcloth and mild soap while in his bleach bath to help remove and break up the rough dry and flaky skin.  Then following his bath I apply the anti-fungal cream first (if the flare-up has lasted a while and I suspected a secondary infection---which are becoming much less often) and then I use Aveeno extra dry skin lotion or an eczema cream (see my earlier recommendations).  I apply the lotion especially to his limbs and a little on his face (using a good water-barrier type lotion after each bath really helps strengthen his sensitive/delicate skin and prevent flare-ups).

The best part is, I generally only feel the need to scrub the tub about once a week!

Seriously adding a little bleach to my son's baths have really made a difference in our lives.  I wish I had started it when he was younger... (I'm not sure how early you may want to do this... maybe after 8 months or so... or when they start bathing in the community bath tub starting with very little bleach).

If his skin is looking really good I often don't bother with a bleach bath and maybe only do it once a week.  Eventually I'm sure he'll grow out of his eczema like his sister did (although hers was more mild).

For now, this is really making a difference and if your child is suffering from eczema it's worth a try (not like we never take our children to a chlorinated swimming pool---- which some people notice clear up eczema and acne conditions too).

Please share this with mothers that have eczema tortured children... I wish someone had shared it with me long ago.

Let me know if it helps!


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