A lukewarm water temperature (around 84-86°F or 29-30°C) is best for eczema.
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Eczema is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Aside from using doctor-prescribed creams and ointments, one way to manage eczema is by taking care of the skin during bathing, particularly the water temperature.
According to dermatologists, a lukewarm water temperature (around 84-86°F or 29-30°C) is best for eczema. This is because hot water can strip away the skin’s natural oils, leaving it dry and itchy. Meanwhile, cold water can trigger a histamine response, which can lead to itching and irritation.
The National Eczema Association recommends the following tips for bathing with eczema:
- Keep baths and showers short (5-10 minutes).
- Limit the use of soap to only the areas that need it.
- Avoid using harsh soaps or body washes.
- Pat the skin dry with a towel instead of rubbing it.
- Apply moisturizer immediately after patting the skin dry.
A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology also suggests that adding oatmeal to bathwater may help improve eczema symptoms. Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties and can soothe irritated skin.
In addition, some essential oils, such as lavender and chamomile, can also provide relief for eczema symptoms when added to bathwater. However, it is important to dilute the oils properly and patch test on a small area of skin first to avoid any adverse reactions.
Here is a table summarizing the best water temperature and tips for bathing with eczema:
|Water Temperature||Tips for Bathing with Eczema|
|Lukewarm (around 84-86°F or 29-30°C)||Keep baths and showers short (5-10 minutes), limit use of soap, pat the skin dry, apply moisturizer immediately after|
|Add oatmeal to bathwater to soothe skin|
|Dilute and patch test essential oils before adding to bathwater|
In the words of dermatologist Dr. Joel Schlessinger, “Proper skin care, especially when it comes to bathing, can make a huge difference in managing eczema. By following these tips and using the right water temperature, you can help prevent flare-ups and keep your skin healthy and comfortable.”
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Dr. Dray provides several tips to help manage and heal eczema. Firstly, she advises avoiding scratching and using a moisturizer such as Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm to soothe the skin and restore the skin’s barrier. She also suggests wearing loose-fitting clothing and washing new clothes before wearing them to reduce exposure to irritants. Secondly, Dr. Dray recommends regulating the temperature and humidity in living environments and using a gentle, non-soap cleanser to avoid stripping away lipids from the skin barrier during daily baths. She also stresses the importance of using an occlusive balm or ointment like Aveeno eczema therapy itch relief balm for deeper moisturization. Additionally, Dr. Dray advises being aware of triggers such as stress and allergens and practicing good sleep and skincare habits. Finally, she encourages viewers to take control of their condition and learn to manage it.
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Be sure to bathe with lukewarm water, which is typically 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (though you can simply go by feel, or base it on room temperature), notes the Baylor College of Medicine.
The National Eczema Association (NEA) recommends bathing or showering in lukewarm water rather than hot water, which may damage fragile skin. Bathing and showering in lukewarm water can help hydrate the skin. However, people must also apply moisturizer within 3 minutes of patting the skin dry with a towel.
Now if you dread the feel of cold water on your skin, opt for lukewarm water instead to avoid the damaging effects of hot water.
Water is an effective way to put moisture back into the skin, but only if you use lukewarm water, avoid scrubbing and apply a moisturizer within three minutes after bathing or showering.
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For people with itchy skin, hives or eczema, taking a cold shower could provide some much-needed relief, Dr. Tania Elliott, faculty at NYU Langone Health, told TODAY.