Why is it that your skin rashes seem to flare and become super itchy when you’re supposed to go be asleep? On the verge of exhausted tears, you can’t stop yourself from itching.
You followed your exact evening skin routine. And yet suddenly, you feel like you’re in the middle of your own personal itchy hell with no relief in sight.
This pattern continues night after night. Sometimes it’s worse than others.
But one thing is for sure, you just want the burning and itchiness to stop. You certainly don’t want your already fragile skin to sustain even more abuse (at your own hand, nonetheless).
None of the creams or eczema medicines prescribed by your doctor seem to work. And forget about the over-the-counter creams that promise they’re good for “extremely dry skin”, but don’t do a darn thing.
At this point, you would try just about anything to get some relief.
So what can you do when you’re suffering?
Try a skin bath.
You’ve probably got the ingredients to make one right in your kitchen!
Believe it or not, but skin baths for rash relief are a very legit part of a skin rebuilding protocol.
What Are Skin Baths For Rash Relief?
A skin bath for rash relief is a totally different experience from your usual bath bubbles, oils or soap soaks.
Therapeutic skin baths can help calm the painful, irritating symptoms of your rash. They certainly aren’t a magic cure, but there is plenty of testimonials out there on the relief that they can provide.
They use simple ingredients that everyone has in the house, such as baking soda, oatmeal, apple cider vinegar, and even bleach.
Granted, the last two — apple cider vinegar (ACV) and bleach — are more acidic. That can be good because your skin’s pH should be more acidic to maintain a healthy, diverse microbiome.
In water, diluted regular strength bleach creates sodium hypochlorite, which is an acid.
And if you’re like … “Bleach? That sounds crazy!”
Hear me out because it is even recommended by some of the top functional doctors out there who treat chronic skin rash conditions like eczema and psoriasis. So I’m going to lay out the pro’s and con’s for you to decide if it’s a good fit.
Above all, always follow clear instructions below when using ACV or household bleach. You MUST always dilute both substances with water.
Why Would You Use a Skin Bath?
There are many reasons to give skin bathes a try as part of your protocol to rebuild healthier skin. Rebalancing your skin microbiome is paramount to the process (and these skin baths actually help do that).
Remember that your unique skin rash protocol must address the underlying root causes triggering the flares and symptoms.
For example, though your thyroid might not be directly connected to your skin, an underlying thyroid condition will make your rash worse. That’s why a multi-prong approach is usually the best way to go.
Skin baths for rash relief are worth considering if:
1. You need to rebalance your skin microbiome.
No matter the chronic skin rash issue that plagues you, the microscopic residents living on your skin matter. Some strains of bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus shouldn’t live on your skin. So healthy skin would be free of S. aureus.
However, this particular bacterial strain is typically present within the skin microbiome of those with eczema. It is also problematic if you’ve got psoriasis too! (1)
And it’s even found in areas that aren’t prone to rashes.
This means you need to bathe the entirety of your skin (likely excluding the head), not just the individual problem areas.
- Regular skin baths for rash relief may help rebalance your skin microbiome and reduce S. aureus on the surface of your skin. (2)
- The major benefit of skin baths for eczema is a potential reduced need for topical steroids and antibiotics. (3) Bathing in apple cider vinegar for atopic dermatitis has also been found to be beneficial. (4)
- While bleach baths may have a therapeutic effect for patients, they don’t always help reduce S. aureus on the skin surface. (3) Some studies indicate they are not effective for everyone. (6) This may be due to having other underlying causes that no cream or skin bath is going to help on its own.
[Here’s my list of root cause skin tests to help you regain control of your skin!]
2. You need something that’s soothing to red, angry skin.
If your skin seems very angry, an oatmeal bath may be a soothing choice for your skin. There are benefits to bathing in a mixture made from breakfast oats.
But to get the full benefits of an oat bath, you must use colloidal oatmeal. Colloidal oats have been very finely ground up, but still contain the bran.
To make your own colloidal oatmeal, I recommend using gluten-free oats since you’ll be making a powder from it that can become airborne.
This can be a problem for people with celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten (or avoiding it to reduce leaky gut) when it is inhaled. Quick oats or old-fashioned oats are best to use — not steel-cut oats since they will be gritty.
Colloidal oats contain beta-glucan, a substance often used in skincare for its moisturizing properties. It is also an anti-inflammatory which helps reduce the symptoms of itching and discomfort. (7,8)
Another option is making yourself a baking soda bath. Baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate) can also ease the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis. (9)
It can also help rebalance the pH level of your skin (which is a critical part of maintaining a healthy skin microbiome). Additionally, baking soda is also a known antifungal and may be beneficial if you suspect a fungal skin infection. (10)
4 Easy Ways to Take Skin Baths For Rash Relief
If you want to try out a skin bath as part of your skin rash protocol, here are the instructions for each type of skin bath.
Please note that these instructions are for adults only.
You should seek a dermatologist’s approval first before preparing a skin bath for a child.
Be aware that this article is for informational purposes. In no way is this suggesting that you should include skin baths in your skin healing protocol, nor should you perceive this article as medical advice or direction.
There are risks associated with any of the skin baths discussed herein. If you decide to try any of these skin baths, you do so at your own risk. As always, it is best to discuss if skin baths are right for you and how to do them with your doctor before proceeding forward.
Soak for 10-15 minutes – this should be sufficient time to allow the skin bath to work. (You also don’t want the water to cool down too much!)
It is important that the temperature of your bath is warm, not hot. Hot water strips your skin of its essential oils, worsening dryness, and ultimately counteracting the benefits of a skin bath in the first place.
It is not advisable to submerge your head. To be on the safe side, keep your head above the water at all times to avoid ingesting the skin bath water or from it coming in contact with your nose, ears, and eyes. And do not apply these on or around the face in any other manner.
Apple Cider Vinegar skin baths
- Dilute the apple cider vinegar before it comes in contact with your skin.
- Straight ACV should never be applied to the skin directly.
- The National Eczema Association recommends you add between one cup to one pint (maximum) of ACV to your bath water. (11)
Bleach skin baths
- You must use regular household bleach. Do not use a concentrated formula.
- IMPORTANT — Dilute the bleach before you come in contact with it. Otherwise, you risk a chemical burn.
- The National Eczema Association advises diluting ½ cup of bleach for a full bath, and ¼ cup for a half-filled bath. (12)
- Only soak for 10 minutes maximum.
- Do not take more than three bleach baths per week.
Colloidal Oatmeal skin baths
- In a high-speed blender or food processor, process 1 cup of gluten-free oats until they have been turned into a fine powder.
- The resulting powder must be fine such that it quickly dissolves in warm water.
- Add 1 cup of your own ground oats to warm bath and gently mix until the powder has dissolved. (13)
Baking Soda skin baths
- Drink water before and after your bath when you use baking soda.
- The National Eczema Association advises adding ¼ cup baking soda to your bath water. (13)
Drawbacks to Taking a Skin Bath
Nothing in life is perfect. The same goes for skin baths — they all have drawbacks.
It’s obvious that there are some definite drawbacks to taking skin baths if you don’t prepare them correctly! You could find your oat bath gritty to sit in or at worse you could make yourself very ill.
Typically the first question someone will ask once the topic of bleach baths comes up is “Are bleach baths safe?”
Truthfully, exposure to full-strength, undiluted bleach can make you very sick. Undiluted bleach can give off strong chlorine fumes that can damage your lungs.
Bleach also has the potential to give you a severe chemical burn.
If you get it in your eyes, it causes a lot of pain as the moisture in your eyes combines with the bleach to create an acid. (14) You must wash it out with saline or water and seek emergency treatment as soon as possible.
That’s why it is best to err on the side of caution when making a bleach bath for the first time.
Be sure you wash your hands before touching your eyes or face during and afterward. And above all remember that in this case – more is not better.
The stronger the bleach bath, the more likely it is to do harm as demonstrated by a woman named Sarah Cole who used more than the recommended amount. She ended up being admitted to the hospital with severe burns. (15)
Apple Cider Vinegar is also harmful to the skin if not diluted, often resulting in chemical burns. (16) That’s why it should not be applied directly to the skin.
There is a lot of hype around ACV these days. So the temptation to add more vinegar to your bath than is recommended is understandable. However, doing so can cause much more pain and discomfort than skin rashes ever could!
Please remember – Apple Cider Vinegar is a strong acid… treat it with caution.
And of course, if you have an allergy to wheat and/or oats, avoid the oat skin bath. Regular oats are often contaminated with wheat which is why I recommend using gluten free oats. This helps avoid inhalation of the fine powder or bath water.
Make Skin Baths Part of Your Skin Rash Protocol
Skin baths for rash relief can play a role in rebuilding healthier skin (provided you closely follow the guidelines discussed herein).
Doing whatever you must to rebalance the skin microbiome is important since we now know just how vital it is. Pairing skin baths with topical probiotic applications can also be a great additional step too!
And by all means, don’t forget – there are fifteen root causes that play a role in driving these inflammatory processes. Diet is certainly a big one as is gut dysbiosis, liver detoxification challenges, genes, heavy metal exposure and more.
In the meantime, you can try any of these smoothies in my 7 Eczema-Soothing Smoothie Guide to reduce flares and rebuild healthier rash-free skin!
REFERENCES FOR SKIN BATHS FOR RASH RELIEF