Tips For Showering With Eczema
Last updated: May 2020
Anyone with eczema knows the stinging pain when it comes to trying to wash. Usually, there is a lot of the dread and doom as you approach your shower head and many memories of feeling thousands of stinging razors of pain as the water shoots down on you. I could take a bath, but I am a slightly impatient person who doesn't want to wait for the tub to fill up before soaking in and the water eventually getting cold, so I choose to go for showers when it comes to washing myself.
4 tips for a pain-free shower
Luckily, at some point I experimented with some different techniques and found some really helpful and effective tips for being able to have a successful and virtually pain-free shower while having eczema, even with open wounds and cracking. Hope these tips will help you out the next time you head to the shower!
Should you bathe every day with eczema?
Not taking a shower every day or showering less often if you can stand it may help especially if you have open eczema lesions. Having all of your wounds closed up will definitely make it much easier to stand the chlorination that's put into water these days. It's not so much water that stings, but the chlorine content I find.
If somehow you can wait at least until the wounds are drier, it will make things a little easier than showering with open, wet, bleeding wounds.
Use oil before showering
Though, to be realistic, most of us don't have that luxury and often have daily scratchfests that reopen old wounds, so what really is a game changer for me is applying some kind of oil on top of open wounds and cracks before showering. I find coconut oil to be quite effective, but olive oil, almond oil, and shea butter could also work just fine.
So long as the oil is at least monounsaturated to saturated, it will provide a strong enough barrier that won't completely wash off while you're still in the middle of sudsing up. This works well because oils are hydrophobic which means it will repel water and repel the chlorine from entering the insides of your wounds which will make them sting and make this a torturous experience. I would not use a polyunsaturated oil like evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil, or hempseed oil because those oils are less stable and tend to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin very quickly not providing as much of a protective barrier.
Use a water filter
I have never used one of these myself, but I have heard of filters that filter out chlorine and harsh chemicals from plumbing water which could be useful in theory. But I don't really know for sure, so if you have experience using one of these type of devices would love to hear about them in the comments below!
Should you shower with hard water?
Bathing in hard water-I know this sounds counterintuitive but I'm currently traveling through the South Pacific and recently in Perth, Australia, I was renting an Airbnb that only had hard water and while it was difficult for me to drink because it was so thick with calcium and magnesium minerals, I found that my skin really liked the magnesium.
Magnesium is a healthy mineral and associated with pain relief, bone health and wound healing. My skin did not feel as dry as it does with chlorinated soft water, so maybe there was some protection with minerals. This is all honestly speculation, but it is worth experimenting with washing with hard water because magnesium is so good for us.
Hope you found this article interesting and informative. Let us know if you try any of these with any success or failure. It's always good to share the knowledge and see what patterns work and don't work for us people with eczema. Happy washing!
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