Bleach baths can help to restore normal balance of skin flora (bacteria and yeast). This is a safe way to try to improve eczema by soaking in a full bathtub of lukewarm water with ¼-½ a cup of bleach for 10 minutes 2-3 times weekly. Although people worry that this will dry out the skin, a recent study shows scientifically that there is not an increase of dryness or any irritation to the skin. The mechanism of action by which the bleach improves eczema is now known. Bleach kills bacteria, which colonize the skin of people with eczema. The bacteria produce a biofilm which irritates the skin and contributes to itching. The bacteria also induce a cascade of inflammatory factors which lead to itch. The bleach both kills the bacteria and directly inactivates the inflammatory mediators triggering the itching.
Another tried and true remedy is to apply a wrap soaked in lukewarm water, then wrung out to a flared area. Alternatively if the entire body is flared, a pair of long johns or pajamas can be wet. Dry pajamas, blankets or towels should be used to keep the person warm while these are on. After 10 -15 minutes this should be removed and moisturizer or steroid should be applied. This may be done as as often as needed to relieve symptoms. Other helpful tips may be found on The National Eczema Association website.