New research reveals the simple daily habit that can help ease your eczema

New research reveals the simple daily habit that can help ease your eczema

New research reveals the simple daily habit that can help ease your eczema

Andrea DowneyThe Sun

And it’s something we thought would dry our skin out more. 

Image: iStock

Anyone who has ever experienced the pain of eczema has probably tried everything they can think of to stop the itching.

There are all sorts of creams, washes and medication out there to help rid you of the skin condition.

But now experts suggest taking a bath every day can help ease the pain and prevent infection.

Previous advise suggested having a bleach bath – adding a small amount of bleach to the bath water to decrease the risk of bacterial infections, especially if the eczema is cracked and bleeding.

Meanwhile many believe regular baths can actually make the condition worse, drying the skin out.

Experts from Northwestern University in the US found that bleach baths can cause unnecessary stinging and burning to the skin and that regular water baths were just as, if not more, effective.

Dr Jonathan Silverberg, lead author, said: "I don't know if it throws the baby out with the bathwater, but bleach baths lack the evidence to support how commonly they are being recommended.

"The water baths appear to be doing most of the heavy lifting. If bleach is adding any benefit, it's quite modest."

He noted that many eczema sufferers avoid bathing too much for fear it will dry out their skin and make their symptoms worse.

Many people notice their skin is dry and more itchy when they have regular baths and showers, and that may be the case.

But the reason for this is often down to harsh soaps and shower gels that dry out sensitive skin.

Instead use an emollient cream or bath lotion as it moisturises the skin as well as cleansing it.

Dr Silverberg's research found a warm or cold bath can do just the opposite, improving symptoms.

Soaking for 10 minutes in water only will "wash away most the germs and crud from your skin", he said.

And the National Eczema Association in the US agrees.

They also suggest regular bathing will help keep your eczema symptoms at bay.

That's because when your skin is dry and itchy it's because it isn't retaining enough water to keep it moist, therefore soaking in water can help keep your skin moisturised and reduce the flakiness of eczema.

The most effective way to treat eczema is to give your skin the moisture it needs.

The best way to replace moisture in the skin is to soak in a bath or take a shower and then moisturise immediately afterwards, they say.

Bleach can cause flare-ups for people with asthma.

"Patients with eczema have much higher rates of asthma than non-eczema patients," Dr Silverberg added.

"Everyone's home setting is going to be different, and many bathrooms don't have great ventilation, so a warm bath that causes the bleach to fume can be the perfect setup to potentially have an asthma flare-up."

This article was originally published on The Sun and appears here with permission.

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