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The Skin Allergy Section

Bleach Baths for Eczema Treatment Prove Effective

A bit of bleach may be all that’s needed to treat your child’s eczema, according to research from the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

The recipe? All it took was half a cup of bleach in a tub of water twice a week to see dramatic improvement.

The children taking the bleach baths saw a 24 per cent reduction in the amount of eczema on the body, compared to a 3 per cent reduction among those taking regular baths.

Bleach has an anti-bacterial effect, explains Dr. Jennifer Huang, the lead author on the study. (Huang is currently a dermatology resident at University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.)

Many people with moderate to severe eczema are infected with the staphylococcus aureus bacteria. At first, it colonizes on the body, often in the nose. But when the skin starts to break down because of the eczema, the staphylococcus aureus then causes infection.

The 22 children in the study, aged six months and up, all had clinical signs of infection with their eczema. They were all given two-weeks of oral antibiotics.

Then one-half of the group was given the bleach baths and an antibiotic cream used in the nose to get rid of the staph colonization, and the other group was given regular baths and a placebo ointment.

See also: Sea Salt and Eczema

Huang believes the bleach would probably work without the antibiotic in the nose, but that hasn’t been studied yet.

While the study didn’t find any risks or side effects from the bleach, she cautions that those who want to try this treatment should speak to their doctors first.

“They should make sure that there are signs of infection, that the patient truly does have eczema, and that this treatment is the right treatment for them,” she says.

Related:
Could sunlight prevent eczema in kids?
Daily eczema prevention routine
A surprising bath ingredient to help eczema

From the Summer 2009 issue of Allergic Living magazine.
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