A steamy bubble bath overflowing in a clean bathroom

The Pain of Showering and Bathing with Eczema

Bathing with eczema, along with sleeping with eczema is one of the most daunting things that you can do when you are really in a bad flare. On the surface, it seems like bathing and showering should be relaxing and relieving. Commercials of people smiling and even singing while cleansing themselves with aromatic soaps promise of bliss and a fresh new you! Bathing is your time, your sanctuary to detox and take away the day’s grime. But, sometimes bathing and showering is the last thing you want to do when you have active, open wounds from scratching.

The pain of water on eczema cracks

A large reason for that for me would be the pain of feeling the water hit those cracks in my skin. Whenever I have had a freshly scratched rash and tried to shower or bathe, immediately the chlorine in the water where I live would make those areas sting so badly. If you ever got a paper cut I would imagine having that painful sensation times 10 except it's just from water hitting your skin and not an actual tear. And it's such a confusing experience because it seems like cleansing one’s skin should be a good thing. It's always advertised as a relaxing time to unwind and let go and create clean skin.

Unpredictable pain and eczema

But because the pain and the intensity of it would vary, there was no way to predict how much I could take each time I got into a shower or bath. This would cause high amounts of stress and anxiety that would make me scratch more. There is also the uncertainty of which rashes would hurt more. Sometimes, I would go into the shower stall only to be surprised that the wounds I had thought had dried and scabbed over, weren't. This would send huge shockwaves of pain all over my body, face and head and neck.

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Certain rashes would get more itchy with humidity, which was inevitable in this situation. Sometimes I would have a wound irritated by the moist environment that I would scratch in the shower which made me bleed more and ache with all the pain, shame, and guilt. The worst ones were the ones on my face, neck and scalp. So much so that I would I would have to keel over or kneel and bend forward just to bear it all and try to get through it.

Avoiding showers because of eczema

Sometimes if I have a really bad flare on a large portion of my body or my face, I just wait for however long it takes to get the scabs going before I take a shower. And I’ve actually been advised by all of my Chinese medicine doctors to bathe less if my skin is very damaged because the water and chlorine dry out the skin. Sometimes it takes days and even as much as a week for me to feel confident enough and brave enough to venture back into the shower stall. It’s embarrassing and does require that I use more deodorant, but in times of war (as it feels living with eczema), one needs to choose their priorities wisely. nd I’d rather feel as comfortable in my skin as possible than worry about the opinions of others.

What has your experience been bathing or showering with examined a? Was the most painful thing that you've experienced during this time?

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