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Bleach Baths for Atopic Dermatitis

Topic Overview

You can use a dilute bleach bath to help heal your atopic dermatitis rash if you have skin infections caused by staph ( Staphylococcus aureus). The treatment is a little bit like soaking in swimming pool water.

Doctors have been prescribing bleach baths for more than 20 years. Bleach baths are an easy, inexpensive treatment for reducing skin infections. But they may not be helpful for everyone who has atopic dermatitis. So talk with your doctor before you try this treatment.

What you need

  • Lukewarm water to fill your bathtub, about 40 gal (151 L).
  • Common liquid bleach, such as Clorox liquid bleach. You will only use about 4 fl oz (118 mL), or about ½ cup of bleach.

Procedure

  1. Fill your bathtub with lukewarm water.
  2. Add 4 fl oz (118 mL) of liquid bleach. If your bathtub is small, or if you have less than 40 gal (151 L) of water, use less bleach. Too much bleach in the water can cause severe skin irritation.
  3. Stir the water so that the bleach is completely mixed with the water.
  4. Soak in the bleach water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Drain the water from the bathtub and rinse off completely with fresh lukewarm water. It is important to rinse well to avoid irritating the skin.
  6. Pat your skin dry. Avoid rubbing, as rubbing can scratch your skin.
  7. Put moisturizer on your skin right away. Or use any creams or ointments prescribed by your doctor.

Bleach baths can be taken 2 or 3 times a week or as often as recommended by your doctor.

Precautions

  • Do not use undiluted bleach directly on your skin. Even diluted bleach baths may cause dryness or skin irritation.
  • Do not use bleach baths if there are open or raw areas on your skin. This may cause burning or stinging.
  • Do not use bleach baths if you have an allergy to chlorine.

Credits

Current as of: April 1, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Patrice Burgess MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Ellen K. Roh MD - Dermatology


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