A bathroom scene with a t-rex shadow behind the shower curtain scaring a house cat that's hanging out by the toilet.

Scary Shower Syndrome: Tips and Tricks for a Better Shower

Last updated: March 2020

Showering. The part about atopic dermatitis that we all LOVE and look forward to everyday. Said no one ever.

Over the years with my eczema flare-ups and topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) symptoms, I’ve learned some great tips to combat the scary shower. I’ve also discovered products that have helped make my showers a bit more bearable.

Tips I still swear by:

Avoid body wash and/or soap

NO body wash and/or soap. Avoid using body wash and/or soap in the shower, except to clean your groin and underarms. This is the technique that I adopted and still use. I use an extremely mild and unscented body wash made for babies – Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash. I love this product because it is not smelly, doesn’t sting, and feels like baby oil! The best thing you can do for your shower experience is to find and use products that are fragrance-free or unscented. This product is also a personal favorite because it does not contain lanolin, which is a wool-alcohol that I’m allergic to. Many products contain chemicals and ingredients that can be allergens or irritants, so make sure you read the label and google what you can to avoid reactions.

Take lukewarm showers

Lukewarm showers. Whatever you do, do not shower with scorching hot water! I STILL do this sometimes, because I love hot showers when it’s cold out. However, every time I make this mistake, my skin is very red, itchy, and burns like no other. Do your best to avoid this and your skin will thank you.

Pat dry and apply moisturizer

Soak and seal. This is a tip that I still very much do. The trick is to pat dry after your shower and immediately apply your moisturizer while your skin is still damp to lock in the moisture. My moisturizer of choice is coconut oil, specifically Shea Moisture Coconut Oil.

I’ve never tried the tips below but have heard many reviews about:

Bleach baths

Bleach baths. These are baths in which you soak for about ten minutes in a bathtub full of water and a cap full of bleach. The purpose of this bath is to actually kill the bad bacteria on your skin. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never tried this because it sounds awfully painful, although every dermatologist I’ve had has recommended this to me. However, an alternative to a bleach bath that is comparable is soaking in a pool for a few minutes - the chlorine in the water can have the safe effects as the bleach in the bath.

Dead Sea mud

Dead Sea mud. This is mud from the literal Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is known for having ten times as much salt as the ocean. Mud from the dead sea can soothe inflammation, acne, eczema, and psoriasis by removing dead skin from the body, which uncovers healthy new skin that is sitting underneath.

Final personal tip of mine is an easy one to follow: Do not shower every day. I found that showering every day really dried my skin out. Because of this, I now shower every other day or as needed!

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