Eczema and Bathing

March 11, 2022
Eczema and Bathing

When living with atopic dermatitis (eczema), setting up a good skincare and moisturization routine is important for managing symptoms and preventing flares. Keeping the skin clean is one of the many reasons bathing and eczema go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Eczema and Dry Skin

The uppermost layer of our skin is what keeps irritants, bacteria, viruses, and allergens from getting into our bodies and moisture from getting out. Eczema is a skin condition that affects this layer and causes dry skin and a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Itchiness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Scaling
Picture of skin with eczema

Eczema also causes your skin to be more sensitive to irritants, leading to a flare-up. A flare-up is a phase of eczema where you experience worsening severity of one or more of the symptoms. Common triggers may include:

  • Extended exposure to dry air
  • Extreme heat or cold
  • Some types of soap, shampoo, bubble bath, body wash, facial cleansers
  • Laundry detergents and fabric softeners with chemical additives
  • Certain fabrics like wool or polyester in clothing and sheets
  • Metals, especially nickel, in jewelry or utensils

Soak and Seal

Woman soaking in a bathtub

Individuals with eczema tend to have drier skin and are sensitive to encounters. Proper bathing and moisturization are good ways to keep the skin clean and prevent drying out. The “Soak and Seal” method is what many providers recommend to combat dry skin and reduce flares. To get the full therapeutic benefit, follow these steps:

  1. Take a bath using lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 to 10 minutes. Use a gentle cleanser (no harsh soaps) and avoid scrubbing the affected skin.
  2. After bathing, pat the skin lightly with a towel leaving it slightly damp.
  3. Apply a topical prescription medication to the affected areas of the skin per your doctor’s instructions.
  4. Within three minutes, liberally apply a cream or ointment type of moisturizer all over the body.
  5. Wait a few minutes to let the moisturizer absorb into the skin before dressing or applying wet wraps.

Eczema Symptoms Can be Persistent.

Eczema shouldn't stop you from living your life

Do you have eczema and are experiencing persistent symptoms? Clinical research studies may help! As a research volunteer, you can help advance future care options for yourself and other individuals living with eczema. To learn more about currently enrolling eczema studies here at ActivMed, contact our Portsmouth, NH location at (603) 319-8863 or visit our website.


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