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Hot water and eczema, by many accounts, don’t mix – so why do so many eczema sufferers claim it helps them? Read on to discover how hot water on eczema interact.
Why Can’t I Use Hot Water On Eczema?
The short answer: because it’s dehydrating.
Heat is one of the most common triggers for eczema flare ups.
This is because heat causes sweating, which can lead to chaffing and can further exacerbate irritated skin. Even in water, a hot shower or bath can still cause you to sweat. This sweat can drag dirt and bacteria from your skin to common eczema spots.
The transition between temperatures is also another trigger. On average, a hot shower is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if you are in a heated house, stepping into that water will be a jump in temperature. If you are shifting temperatures that dramatically on a daily basis, it will take its toll.
Lastly, bathing can cause eczema to exacerbate, so it’s important to keep time in water to a maximum of 15 minutes.
So Why Do Some People Claim That Eczema and Hot Water Works?
Doctors are not really sure why hot water provides such relief to eczema flare ups. Yet, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that extremely hot water provides some help.
For skin conditions such as poison ivy and bug bites, scalding hot water is helpful because it washes out the substance causing the reaction.
Some studies also suggest that hot water can overload the nerves in the affected area. When the nerve overloads, it shuts down, so you no longer feel the itch. Unfortunately, this is only a temporary effect.
Dermatologists and doctors always recommend lukewarm baths. Scalding water can easily cause burns and possibly increase the risk of infection.
Is There Anything Else That Will Give Me Relief?
Good news! There are some things that can provide the near-instant relief that hot water does. Once of these processes is called wet wrapping.
Wet wrapping is extremely effective in reducing the itch-scratch cycle.
The first step is to soak the wet wraps in lukewarm water, and wring them out so they’re damp, but not soaking wet. Next, apply a natural emollient like this Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream and careful wrap the bandages or wet wraps around the affected area. Lastly, wrap the wet layer in a dry layer and leave on for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
For more information on wet wrapping, make sure to check out our blog post: Our Eczema Trials – Wet Wrap Therapy.
However, wet wrapping should never be used as a long-term solution. This therapy is very time consuming and requires a lot of patience.
Alternatively, you can find relief with dry wrapping.
Like wet wrapping, dry wrapping involves using a natural emollient and bandages to wrap skin. However, this is done by wrapping a single dry layer, instead of a wet layer.
For more information on dry wrapping, make sure to read this blog post.
Garments like Remedywear make the perfect bandage or layer for dry wrapping. Not only do they provide soothing and nourishing effects with their TENCEL and zinc-embedded fibers, but they offer solutions for sensitive skin conditions like eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, eyelid dermatitis, and much more.
For dry wrapping, we suggest the following Remedywear garments:
What Do I Do About Bath Time?
For you and your little one, bonding over bath time can be fun, yet contentious, depending on the day. Add in an eczema flare up, and the uncertainty increases.
So how do you give your little one a soothing bath time to prepare them for a good night’s sleep or a wet wrap?
1) Run a bath that is lukewarm: Water that is too hot or too cold can further exacerbate symptoms. Make sure that the bathwater is warm to the touch but still cool. Remember – eczema and hot water don’t mix!
2) Wash with a cleanser: A gentle cleanser, like this Emily Skin Soothers Liquid Soap can be used all over the body and doubles up as shampoo. It cleans and reduces inflammation, while locking in the moisture your little one’s skin needs.
3) Pat dry with a towel: Rubbing the skin dry can further irritate eczema and cause inflammation.
4) Follow up with a moisturizer: A moisturizing balm or cream will help seal the skin from irritants overnight and give a boost to skin post-bath.
This Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream not only nourishes skin while calming irritation, but offers anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties as well.
The most important tip? Make sure to keep bathing to a minimum and always use lukewarm water. This will allow skin to feel good and properly heal.
Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.