There are plenty of us who suffer with any number of dry skin conditions, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, to name a few. Baths can work wonders for any of these, when utilised correctly.
The theory of ‘Soak and Seal’ is the best advice to follow:
- Take a bath using lukewarm water for five to ten minutes. Use a gentle cleanser, but no soap, and avoid scrubbing the skin.
- After bathing, pat the skin lightly with a towel leaving it slightly damp.
- Apply prescription topical medication if it’s been prescribed to the affected areas of skin as directed.
- Within three minutes, liberally apply a good quality moisturizer all over the body. It’s important to apply the moisturizer within three minutes or the skin may become even drier.
- Wait a few minutes to let the moisturizer absorb into the skin before dressing or applying wet wraps.
- Use a high-oil content moisturizer twice a day to improve hydration and protect the skin barrier.
- Moisturize hands every time you wash them, or after they encounter water.
- Schedule your bathing and moisturizing routine at night, just before bed. This can help your skin better retain its moisture.
- Try to avoid waterless, antibacterial cleansers, which often contain ingredients like alcohol and solvents that are very hard on the skin (especially during flares). Remember not to scrub your skin while cleansing and to gently pat your skin dry when you’re done. As always, moisturise your skin immediately afterward.
Bath oils are a nifty tool. Natural plant oils have a powerful moisturising effect, as they penetrate the outer layers of the skin, creating an occlusive layer and trapping water beneath it. Plus, you have the bonus that different scents can help with sleep, relaxation, and energy levels.
Baking soda is a natural antiseptic, so it can help reduce harmful bacteria levels and can aid with many things such as eczema, psoriasis, chickenpox, and even nappy rash!
Oatmeal serves as a natural emollient, and with the help of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties it can soothe and protect skin. I can speak for experience when I say a pouch of plain porridge oats in the bath to soothe chicken pox really does work, as tried, and tested on my son last year, when he had the most horrific case, including spots in his ears, on his tongue and in between his toes!
Though it doesn’t sound too appealing, vinegar in a bath can be marvellous. Not only does it help kill bacterial infections, but it can also reduce body odour, and improve hair and skin health. It is also fabulous in aiding foot conditions.
There are a plenty of natural remedies out there that can work like magic, but where medical treatment would be more suitable, please seek the advice of a medical professional.