Bathing for eczema is not a cure-all, but it’s so important. It’s at bathtime that skin is able to get moisture. Even if you are an advocate for bathing less no matter how much you avoid it you have to have a bath at some point. This leads to the question: what type of bath is good for eczema?
A short warm bath is always the best for eczema, whether you bathe every day or every other day. But some special ingredients like oatmeal, sea salt, and even milk can help soothe and moisturize itchy skin.
Most eczema baths can be made with ingredients you already have in your home right now. So take a look at this list to get ideas for 10 types of eczema baths that are effective for cleansing and moisturizing the skin.
What Type of Bath is Good for Eczema?
A lukewarm bath with soft water is a good bath for eczema. An eczema bath should be short and relaxing, no longer than 15 minutes. Harsh soap and scrubbing can lead to dry skin. Therefore a bath that is cool and quick with moisturizers will help your skin retain water.
If you’re having a really bad flare it’s best to avoid soap altogether and choose a soak that will help moisturize the skin. You can pat your baby’s skin with a cloth, gently to allow moisturizers like oatmeal, milk, or oil to soak into the skin.
Stronger soaks with disinfecting properties can be used to help clean skin that is flaring and prone to infection. This kills the bacteria while adding moisture, giving a quick way to soothe itchiness and clean without using soap.
Talk to your doctor about what your little one’s skin might need. And keep note of what kind of baths make them happy and feel moisturized afterward. Follow a moisturize and seal routine every day for the best results.
Be sure after every bath to moisturize properly by adding oil or cream to damp skin after you’ve added any medication. Then you can add whatever sunscreens or mosquito repellents you need to enjoy a day out and about.
If you have trouble getting your baby to sit through bath time read our guide on how to calm a baby at bath time.
What is the Best Bath for Eczema?
The best bath for eczema is one that soothes the itch and reduces a flare-up. So the best bath for eczema can be oatmeal, salt, or apple cider vinegar. It all depends on what works for you.
Since you’ll have to choose for yourself, here are 10 types of baths that will help soothe eczema skin in babies and toddlers:
1. Baking Soda for Eczema
Baking soda baths for eczema, baby rash, and itchy skin are safe for babies and toddlers. But if soap can dry out the skin you may wonder what does a baking soda bath do for eczema.
The benefits of baking soda baths for babies are that they clear away toxins and dirt without drying out the skin. For babies and toddlers, a little baking soda in bath water goes a very long way.
Bathing in baking soda is best for those who are prone to infections. If eczema is continually causing your baby issues, talk to your doctor about soaking in baking soda for a few minutes. Adults have benefitted from placing baking soda directly on psoriasis or a rash and rinsing it away in the bath and shower. You may want to choose a more gentle approach for your little one.
To prepare a baking soda bath for baby, add no more than 2 tablespoons into the bath. Use less baking soda if you are using a small amount of water. Stir the bath and allow the baking soda to dissolve. The water could be cloudy, but the clumps should be dissolved before your baby or toddler gets in.
Be sure to keep this bath short and give them a rinse with clean warm water after. Once the baby is all rinsed off pat them dry and moisturize right away, while the skin is still damp.
The best part about baking soda baths is they are also great for diaper rash, detoxing, and constipation. Give this bath a try when you need a two-for-one.
Quick Bathing Tip:
If you really want to make it fun you can use baking soda to make a bath bomb for kids.
2. Epsom Salt Bath for a Child
Epsom salt baths are safe for kids and they help with relaxing and soothing children with eczema and constipation. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate it’s known for relaxing muscles and pulling out toxins.
Epsom salt is the most recognized bath on the list, but mostly because adults are familiar with taking them themselves. When drawing an Epsom salt bath for a child use less salt per cup of water.
Better still, Dr. Teal’s has Epsom salts made especially for kids. Dr. Teal’s doesn’t recommend using Epsom salt for babies or toddlers. While Epsom salt for diaper rash is a popular treatment always check with your doctor first.
For eczema, it’s best to go with pure Epsom salt with no additives. But be sure to consider the melatonin and lavender options because sleep is important for itchy eczema babies as well.
Epsom salt is one of the more useful baths for an overall experience. Not only will you soothe eczema, but many other conditions as well. If you are unsure what kind of bath to start with trying an Epsom salt bath first.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar for Eczema
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is good for detoxing the body inside and out. When it comes to eczema ACV can help clear the skin of bacteria and infection in a more gentle way than a bleach bath. Apple cider vinegar balances the skin’s acidity levels, moisturizes, and acts as a toner.
Detox baths like baking soda and apple cider vinegar are cleansing, but it’s best to talk to your doctor before using. They are a little stronger than oatmeal or milk baths on sensitive skin. The reason people use apple cider vinegar is that they are effective as a detox, moisturizer, and toner.
ACV visibly treats the skin and helps with itchiness in the process. To use apple cider vinegar in the bath either wrap it on the skin and then soak it in the bath, or simply add the vinegar directly to the bathwater.
4. Oatmeal Bath for Eczema
The best type of bath for eczema may be the oatmeal bath. A colloidal oatmeal bath is safe gentle and easy to give to a toddler. The emollients in the oatmeal act as a moisturizer and help you combat dry itchy skin.
An oatmeal bath may be the easiest bath to give because you can purchase oatmeal packets and pour them into the water without needing to measure. Of course, you can get creative with your oatmeal uses as well.
5. Eczema Sea Salt Bath
Dead sea salts and Epsom salts have multiple uses including helping with eczema. Dead sea salts are special, however, because they treat both itching and inflammation. Dead sea salt contains magnesium, sulfur, calcium, and zinc.
Nutrients like these occur naturally from the minerals in seawater where they are extracted. They are best for those whose eczema is inflamed, red, and rough. They moisturize the skin and help smooth and soften it.
To use dead sea salts you’ll only need a small amount for children. For an adult bath you’d only need 1 to 2 cups of salt, so use only a ¼ cup for children. Keep the bath short, under 15 minutes, and moisturize your skin right away.
Salt baths are best during a flare. If your skin isn’t in the middle of a flare no need to use up your salts. If you don’t have dead sea salt other sea salt and even table salt can be beneficial for eczema skin.
6. Milk Bath for Eczema Baby
One milk bath and you’ll find out why Cleopatra bathed in it. The fat from milk is the best for dry skin. The anti-inflammatory properties in milk are soothing and will calm dry itchy eczema-prone skin.
That being said many babies and toddlers have milk allergies. You don’t have to skip the milk bath though. If you have allergies try coconut milk or breast milk.
Of course, if a dairy allergy is not an issue go for a full-fat milk soak. If you can use dairy the lactic acid exfoliates the skin and helps your skin retain moisture.
A milk soak is the most gentle bath you can give your little one, and nothing is more gentle than breastmilk. After all, it was made for babies. If you’re a breastfeeding mom don’t waste milk that your toddler didn’t finish drinking, save it for a milk bath.
If you don’t have a tea tree allergy coconut milk is a great alternative for dairy. Its fatty anti-inflammatory properties work just as well as milk to moisturize the skin.
All kinds of milk are easy to add to the bath. Simply pour just enough milk to make your bath water cloudy. You can’t hurt the baby if you add too much and you won’t need to worry if they take a sip here and there. No matter how much I tried to warn my babies not to drink their own soup it happens from time to time.
7. Eczema Honey Bath Soak
Eczema honey has become popular with the use of using Makuna Honey for moisturizers. But honey doesn’t only work in creams and tea you can use it in the bath. Honey is a blend of amino acids and antioxidants that help cleanse and moisturize the skin at the same time.
It’s the thickest emollient out there and helps your skin create a serious barrier for keeping moisture in and allergens out.
Try a honey bath to help with irritation and itching. Combine honey with oil and milk to make a bath that will work to soften rough skin and soothe eczema. Honey is another ingredient that works well in a bath bomb.
Try using a honey oatmeal bath bomb so all you’ll need to do is drop it in the water and go.
8. Oil Bath for Eczema
An oil bath is less popular than choosing a bath with antibacterial ingredients for eczema. That’s because it’s hard to get oil to soak into the skin. Oil baths are beneficial however for soothing little ones when you use essential oils. Some oils are also better at soaking into the skin than others.
So if you’re going to use oil you need to know: what is the best bath oil for eczema?
The best bath oil for eczema is a blend of oils that work to both soothe itch, and moisturize and provide anti-inflammatory properties. So, coconut oil is good for itching, tea tree oil is good for inflammation, and vitamin E is good for dry skin.
Only a few oils like tea tree oil, thyme, clove, rose, and eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory properties.
To give a toddler an oil bath you’ll only need a drop or two of oil, so it may be best to go with a blend. If you’re an essential oil lover remember you can add a drop of lavender to soothe the baby before bedtime as well.
Try Products like Mustela, or make your own blend. Shake your mix before using and only add one or two drops of the blend at a time.
Here are some oils including essential oils you can try in the bath:
- Vitamin E
Essential Oil Bath
When it comes to children, not all essential oils are safe. With everything you try, you will need to talk to your doctor. Essential oils have multiple uses and have been around for a long time. Oils are natural, but you can have allergies to them and too much of a good thing is not good.
Children under 3 months shouldn’t use any essential oils, but older children can benefit from tea tree and lavender oil. Lavender oil and tea tree oil are strong so you have to dilute them and never use them on a baby under 6 months.
For babies, the recommended dilution ratio is .5 to 1 in carrier oil or water before putting them in the bath. When using oil on the skin try a patch test first. Dilute the oil and test it to see if there is a reaction in that area before you use it all over.
Shea Butter Bath
Shea butter can be used as a carrier oil, but it’s a solid oil that contains essential fatty acids. To place Shea butter in bathwater melt it down first and add it to the water in the liquid state. To use shea butter as a cleanser gently massage the oil onto your baby’s skin with a cloth.
Treat the shea butter as if it were soap and rinse away any excess. Be careful trying this method could get a little slippery.
9. Clay for Eczema
A clay bath detox works to clear eczema and remove dead skin cells.
Bentonite clay is a popular dead sea skincare product used for face masks. I’ve used bentonite clay directly on the skin (as a clay mask) to help clean and pull out toxins. It works to clear eczema and remove dead skin cells on babies as well.
After mixing clay with water and vinegar place it on the skin and let it sit for a few minutes. When you are done place your little one in a bath and rinse the clay away. The water will become muddy and your little one can continue to soak for a few minutes.
If you’d like you can rinse the oil away, but there is no need. Simply pay dry and moisturize immediately.
Bentonite clay detoxes by pulling bacteria, oils, and toxins from the skin. This is best for acne for the overproduction of oils, but it can be used for eczema as well when you moisturize directly after. Clay works so well in the bath because it pulls out all the bad and the water puts the moisture right back into your skin.
10. Bleach Bath for Eczema Toddler
The most controversial bath for eczema is the bleach bath. A small amount of bleach in a bath will kill bacteria in the bath and on the skin. It seems like an extreme measure and isn’t meant for babies who could try to drink the water.
Older children and adults, however, have been directed by doctors to give diluted bleach baths a try. With such a harsh chemical you may wonder how it could help with delicate or dry skin.
What Does a Bleach Bath do for Eczema?
A bleach bath kills bacteria and prevents infections. When staph infections commonly occur, it’s important to do what you can to stay healthy. With your doctor’s, approval bleach baths can help with cleaning and disinfecting oozing eczema and clearing away dead skin.
There are a lot of misconceptions about bleach baths, but remember everyone’s eczema experience is different and you should only try something with the approval of your doctor.
After taking a bleach bath for eczema be sure to rinse off in lukewarm water. As always after a bath, pat the skin dry, apply any medications, and then moisturize right away on damp skin.
The Best Type of Bath for Eczema
The best baths for eczema are lukewarm, short, and straight to the point. Whether you put bentonite clay on your skin or choose to add ingredients to the water you have options. The best type of eczema bath is the one that feels right to your baby. If the baby is all smiles and has moisturized skin you’re on the right track.
Remember to consider if you are bathing for moisture, to soothe the itch, or to fight infection. Each ingredient on this “10 types of eczema baths” list will help with a specific eczema need. This baths list includes Epsom salt, oatmeal, and even bleach, so whether you are looking for a strong cleanser or a gentle moisturizer there’s something here for you.
Always be sure to consult your doctor before trying anything new.
One thing that is for sure is that a bath is important for eczema, so try a gentle soothing bath today to calm your little one.