Is a Bath or Shower Better for Eczema Control?

Does taking a bath or taking a shower make a difference when it comes to controlling eczema?

Doctor Answers 2

Both will be fine for eczema control

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If young, a bath is probably better. Most of us dermatologists recommend tepid, lukewarm water be it shower or bath. Some, including myself, recommend a short bath or shower. This is controversial in that some recommend a longer bath or shower and others only once a week.

If bathing, use a good bath oil like Neutrogena bath oil. It has sesame seed oil which is very smooth and nice smelling. (BTW, I've never seen a sesame from which the seeds come from, have you?). I tell my patients to put 1/2 cupful of bleach for the last five minutes of the bath. This kills the staph bacteria which aggravates eczema.

Use a mild cleanser such as Dove, Cerave, or Cetaphil after bathing or showering pat yourself dry (or your child dry) with a terrycloth towel. Wait three minutes and apply a moisturizer. I like Dr. Chen's suggestion of Aveeno Advanced Care, others that are good include,Eucerin Repair Cream and Cetophil Moisturizing Cream. Wait another three minutes and apply another layer. This really seals in the moisture.

Virginia Beach Dermatologist

Eczema control - bath or shower

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If you have eczema, whether you take a bath or shower is not so important. It is, however, important that after bathing or showering, you apply a good moisturizer. Cleansers are far better than soap in order to hydrate the skin and avoid ingredients that are also irritants. Over-the-counter products such as Aveeno Advanced Care is an example of a good moisturizer for eczema-prone skin. For bathing, clear bath oils with minimal fragrances such as Johnson & Johnson's baby oil or Eucerin bath/shower oil can be helpful when added to the bath water. These oils can be use in the shower as well. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of frequent application of moisturizers to help control and prevent eczema flares.

Good luck.

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.