Your child has eczema. You have heard from your mom-friend that a daily bath is good for eczematous skin because it adds water and moisture back into the skin. A few days later, you read in a popular magazine that baths actually dry out your child’s skin. So who is right?
This debate is not new. In fact, there was some confusion even in the medical community in the past, with different physicians providing good evidence to support both camps.
Here are the facts. Bathing can do both. It can treat your child’s dry skin and make eczema better if you do it right. But if you do it wrong, baths can make your kid’s skin drier, and worsen their eczema.
Here are 7 useful guidelines to bathe your child correctly.
- Take a bath for 15 to 20 minutes at most. If the skin on your child’s fingers becomes wrinkly, it is definitely time to take him or her out of the bath.
- Do not scrub the skin with brushes. These hard bristles can damage the skin. The damage may be invisible because it disrupts the skin barriers.
- Use gentle soap and cleansers. Do not use harsh soap.
- Add oatmeal to the bath. Oatmeal can remove dirt, dust, and irritants on the skin without the need of soap. Also, oatmeal provides natural soothing and calming relief.
- Semi-dry your child by patting him or her down with a towel. Leave some water on the skin. Do not rub the skin with the towel; it can cause irritation.
- Apply a moisturizer such as ointments, oils, lotions or cream, immediately (e.g., 2-3 minutes) after the bath. It is preferred that the skin still has a bit of water on it when this is done. You want to seal in the water with the moisturizer.
- If your child has active eczema, consider taking a bleach bath. Just add ¼ cup of chlorine to a tub of water. There are number of great research studies showing simple weekly bleach baths helps to heal eczema.
We hope you now have a useful guide to bathe your kids correctly. Let us know how often you bathe your child. What kind of moisturizer do you use after each bath? Please share with your fellow parents who are caring for kids with eczema and dry skin.