Setting up a good skin care routine that includes daily bathing and moisturising is very important for managing eczema symptoms and preventing flares. And very importantly, bathing is a way to hydrate the skin. Because people with eczema have very poor outer skin function, their skin can have trouble retaining the water. Showering is such a basic part of your daily routine that you probably don’t think much about it. But if you’re living with eczema, it’s crucial to make sure you’re taking steps to ensure your showering habits won’t make your symptoms worse.
A shower might be at the root of your regular routine, but a bath comes with health benefits. Bathing, in fact, can be used to combat all kinds of symptoms. There’s even a term for the practice: balneotherapy, aka the treatment of disease through bathing.
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a chronic skin disease that causes a variety of symptoms, including itchiness, swelling, redness, and scaling, according the Mayo Clinic. Skin care is vital to eczema treatment, and bathing is vital to skin care – but just as the right bath products can soothe skin, the wrong ones can irritate it and bring on a flare-up. Even the temperature of the water you use may be triggering.
Why is bathing so effective?
When your skin is dry, it’s not because it doesn’t contain enough oil. It’s because your skin isn’t doing a very good job of retaining its moisture (water). Wind, low humidity, cold temperatures, harsh soaps and too much washing without the use of a moisturiser can lead to dry skin, which can irritate your eczema and even make it worse.
People with eczema, especially atopic dermatitis, tend to have very dry skin in general. This is because the disease causes defects in the skin barrier. The skin barrier is upper most layer of skin that protects irritants, bacteria/viruses, and allergens from getting into our bodies and moisture from getting out. Genes, skin trauma such as from scratching or rubbing, and inflammation can all contribute to this defective or “leaky” skin barrier in people with eczema.
The most effective way to treat dry skin is to give it the moisture it needs. Proper bathing and moisturising are important for this reason – especially if you have eczema. The best way to replace moisture in the skin is to soak in a bath or take a shower and then moisturise immediately afterward.
The Soak and Seal Method
The “soak and seal” method of treating eczema is recommended by many providers to combat dry skin and reduce flares. The method involved getting your skin wet via a bath or shower followed by sealing the water in with a moisturiser. To get the full therapeutic benefits, soak and seal often follow these steps:
1. Take a bath using lukewarm (not hot) water for 5-10 minutes. Use a gentle cleanser and avoid scrubbing the affected skin.
2. After bathing, pat the skin lightly with a towel leaving it slightly damp.
3. Within 3 minutes, liberally apply a moisturiser all over the body. It’s important to apply the moisturiser within 3 minutes or the skin may become even drier.
Tips for bathing and moisturising with eczema
Some things to remember when bathing:
• Take at least one bath or shower a day
• Bathe or shower in lukewarm (not hot) water for 10-15 minutes
• Avoid scrubbing your skin with a washcloth or loofah
• Use a gentle cleanser
• During severe flares, limit the use of cleansers to further avoid irritation
• Lock moisture into the room by keeping the bathroom door closed to trap humidity in the air
Some things to remember when moisturising:
• Use a high-oil content moisturiser twice a day to improve hydration and protect the skin barrier
• Wait a few minutes after applying your moisturiser before putting on clothes, to let the moisture seep in
• Moisturise hands every time you wash them, or they come into contact with water
• Schedule a bathing and moisturising routine at night, just before bed. This can help your skin better retain its moisture.
Opt for oil in your moisturiser
When it comes to choosing an eczema-friendly moisturiser, the oilier the better. Try Dreem Distillery Among the Stars body oil for post-bath/shower relaxation.
Essential oils for eczema
Some essential oils may have anti-inflammatory or antimicrobial effects, which could help with eczema symptoms. Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts. The effects vary depending on the plant. According to one study, more than 90 essential oils have properties that may make them suitable for dermatological use, with the number of combinations reaching at least 1,500.
The following essential oils found in all Dreem Distillery bath and body products, created with our Dreem Complex ingredients, have the potential to alleviate some eczema symptoms:
Chamomile is a traditional treatment that may soothe and calm eczema, inflammation, and skin infections. Some research found that essential oils can penetrate into the deeper layers of a person’s skin and may therefore be useful as an anti-inflammatory.
Extracts from the geranium shrub contain over 12 active ingredients that are anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Studies also report that they act against a range of bacteria and can help with acne.
Healing Bath to Try
Improve your mood (and sleep) with lavender
Beyond its skin-healing powers, lavender also has anti-anxiety effects. Aromatherapists may recommend an essential-oil bath to aid sleep, promote relaxation, manage stress, and lift the mood. Mix in a few drops of Dreem Distillery Into the Deep bath oil to your bathwater for ultimate relaxation. The deeply relaxing organic essential oils, finest quality broad-spectrum CBD and soothing arnica of our proprietary Dreem Complex is enhanced with complimentary botanicals to boost its efficacy. The addition of organic sunflower oil disperses throughout the bath, providing skin and senses a luxuriously soft, hydrated finish.
Even though showering – or bathing – may seem complicated for someone with eczema, if you keep things consistent, it will likely become as easy as your previous showering routine. And when in doubt, ask your dermatologist, who can give you suggestions and advice on further remedies.