mineral bath

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Tempted to try a bleach bath for eczema skin rashes? Did your doctor recommend them? Before you go dumping Clorox into your bath water — you need to hear this. Because honestly, the science doesn’t support bleach baths which was highlighted by Dr. Peter Lio at the Eczema Expo 2023 meeting. Turns out that the research on this outdated practice isn’t as helpful as everyone thought, which is why I recommend a mineral bath over a bleach bath for rashes every single time.

Now, I know that there’s information out there recommending bleach baths for rashes, eczema, hives, and fungal infections. A simple Google search will turn up results suggesting this practice is totally safe. Especially since many dermatologists have promoted bleach baths as helpful tools for a long time.

But newer data just doesn’t support this idea as newer studies suggest bleach baths just aren’t very effective. And that’s not to mention the fact a bleach bath can dry your skin out and INCREASE itchiness. Plus, if you’re sitting in a bleach bath, you’re exposing your lungs to chlorine, which isn’t a great idea.

Let’s explore some of the studies that have debunked the bleach bath myth and what the science says is way better for your skin.

Spoiler: mineral baths are a much better option!

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In This Episode:

  • What is a bleach bath for eczema?
  • Recommended eczema bleach bath ratio from doctors
  • Side effects of doing an eczema bleach bath (no one tells you)
  • What is a mineral bath soak — and why is it so much better than bleach?
  • Bleach bath alternatives like baking soda, sulfur, colloidal oatmeal, and pink Himalayan salt – how do they stack up?
  • Why mineral bath soak can support your skin barrier and reduce angry skin


“If you took a bleach bath that’s strong enough to kill the bacteria that may be on your skin — you’d expose yourself to dangerous levels of bleach!”

“A 2020 review… concluded that mineral-rich waters (in particular salty and sulfur waters) demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activity.”


Get the Soothing Skin Soak + MSM from DermaQuell to use 3-4x per week!

Healthy Skin Show ep. 107: Symptoms Of A Staph Infection On Your Skin

Healthy Skin Show ep. 149: How Staph Aureus Wrecks Your Skin


Woman taking a mineral bath in a large bathtub

326: Bleach Baths Debunked: Why Mineral Baths Are So Much Better {FULL TRANSCRIPT}

Welcome back to episode 326 of the Healthy Skin Show! In today’s episode, I’m going to talk about the benefits of using mineral bath soaks instead of bleach baths for skin rashes, eczema, HS, fungal infections, and staph.

This is a big deal because bleach baths have long been touted as a simple solution to keep your skin microbiome in check.

It wasn’t until more recently that researchers started to investigate how well bleach baths for eczema actually worked, and what they found was pretty disappointing.

Especially when it came to Staph aureus overgrowth on the skin.

If you recall, I chatted with Dr. Julie Greenberg about Staph overgrowth and how it can wreck your skin in episode #149. Be sure to check that one out after you listen to this episode here!


empty bathtub for a bleach bath

What Is A Bleach Bath For Eczema?

So what exactly is a bleach bath? Well, when you have itchy, scaly, dry patches of skin like we often see in eczema, sometimes dermatologists will recommend you soak in a bath of diluted bleach water to help relieve symptoms. Bleach baths are often recommended because eczema patients specifically can be prone to staphylococcus aureus overgrowth — and bleach baths are thought of as a tool to help control bacteria that can exacerbate your skin symptoms.

Sometimes, bleach baths for fungal infections are recommended for the same reason as well.

Psoriasis often comes with plaques (that can be itchy for some) and these can be softened with baths and sloughed off to some degree. And other research supports the use of baths for eczema rashes. So it’s not that baths are entirely unhelpful for skin conditions, it’s just that the risks of adding bleach to your bath water outweigh the potential benefits.


Eczema Bleach Bath Ratio

To understand the fundamental problem researchers have discovered with the bleach bath, we need to talk about how to make a bleach bath in the first place. Especially because THAT’S why the primary reason they’re recommended falls goes up in flames.

To make a bleach bath, there’s a specific eczema bleach bath recipe that you’re supposed to follow to avoid potential toxic exposure to the bleach itself. The dermatologist-recommended bleach bath recipe calls for one-quarter to one-half cup of household bleach (6%) in a bathtub full of water (about 40 gallons), 2-3 times per week. (1)

And what Dr. Peter Lio pointed out in his presentation at the Eczema Expo 2023, the bleach bath for eczema ratio doesn’t work.

You see, the concentration of bleach recommended by dermatologists and called for in the recipe for a bleach bath that is safe for the skin is 0.005%. But bleach isn’t effective at killing Staph aureus unless it’s at least at a 0.03% dilution. To be extra clear, a 0.03% bleach bath dilution rate isn’t safe for skin exposure. (1)

Here’s the chart from a paper (that I’ve marked up for you) that shows that Staph aureus can easily survive at the dilution recommended for an eczema bleach bath. (1)

Bleach Bath chart graphic

So this means that if you took a bleach bath that’s strong enough to kill Staph aureus overgrowth on your skin — you’d expose yourself to dangerous levels of bleach!


Do Bleach Baths Work?

So no, bleach as a bath additive is not anti-microbial in the concentrations recommended for bleach baths.

And, when researchers in a well-designed, randomized, placebo-controlled study compared bleach baths to plain old water baths…the bleach baths were not more effective at reducing S. aureus infection. (2)

The same results were echoed in a 2017 review. Again, the researchers concluded bleach baths were not more effective than water baths at decreasing symptoms of atopic dermatitis (AD). (3)

Even the American Academy of Dermatology Association started to question how effective bleach baths were back in 2019 due to the problematic dilution rate, and yet somehow this message hasn’t fully trickled down in all this time. (16)


woman wondering if a bleach bath is damaging

Are Bleach Baths Damaging?

Bleach is a highly caustic and drying substance. When you add bleach to your bath water, you’re risking drying your skin out and irritating it even further.

Plus, bleach can irritate your nasal passages and if you have asthma, you definitely don’t want to risk inhaling bleach. (4)

It’s also important to mention that if you accidentally ingest even a tiny bit of bleach it can be extremely toxic. And for sure, if you do keep bleach in the house — make sure to keep it out of reach of children.


minerals for a bath soak

What Is A Mineral Bath Soak?

Now you know that a diluted bleach bath is probably NOT going to be super helpful for your skin rash or fungal infection.

So what else can you do that research shows could help?

A soothing, skin-supportive mineral bath soak!

Mineral baths are a fantastic alternative to bleach baths because they support your skin’s barrier, rather than upset it, like a bleach bath can and don’t contain caustic chemicals.

For centuries, people have flocked to natural mineral springs to soak in their waters, a practice that’s known as balneotherapy or hydrotherapy.

And, unlike with bleach baths, there’s quite a bit of evidence to suggest there could be benefits to mineral baths.


minerals for a mineral bath

Mineral Bath Benefits

Let’s talk about some of the research that shows balneotherapy and mineral baths could help itchy, rashed skin like eczema and psoriasis.

Improvement In Quality Of Life For Patients With Skin Diseases

In one study, a 3-week course of treatment in the mineral waters of Avéne, France significantly improved the quality of life for study participants with skin diseases. What’s even more impressive is the changes were still noticeable 3 and 6 months after the mineral bath treatment. (5)

Mineral Baths Reduction In Eczema And Psoriasis Severity

Several studies have noted mineral baths could help reduce the psoriasis area and severity index (PASI) score of patients.

One study looked at psoriasis patients who soaked in the waters of a spa in Trentino, Italy. A one-week course of balneotherapy resulted in a significant reduction in the participant’s PASI score. And a two-week therapy that combined both balneotherapy and photobalneotherapy, which included a daily narrow-band ultraviolet B treatment as well, resulted in an even larger improvement. (6)

A systematic review of 22 different studies also demonstrated the benefits of mineral baths for psoriasis patients. Researchers concluded that the results of the studies they reviewed showed an improvement in the PASI score index as a result of hydrotherapy. (7)

Another 8-year observational study analyzed the records of over 14,000 patients with skin diseases, including psoriasis and eczema, who received a three-week mineral bath treatment in Avéne, France. The results? A significant improvement in “scoring atopic dermatitis scores” (SCORAD) as well as significant reductions in PASI scores as well. Researchers also noted the treatment was effective in reducing eczema by 42%. (8)

Mineral Baths Could Reduce Colonization of Microbes

In one study looking at the benefits of hydrotherapy — again in the waters of Avéne, France, had “positive effects on the skin of patients suffering from chronic dermatosis, with decreased inflammation and reduced colonization by S. aureus.” (9)

And a review of the literature regarding mineral baths in 2020 noted similar findings. Researchers concluded that mineral waters – particularly those that are salty and sulfur-containing – demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activity helped by the presence of minerals such as “sulfur, manganese, magnesium, zinc, selenium, strontium, silica, and calcium bicarbonate”.  (10)

The bottom line?

Mineral baths can offer many positive benefits for chronic skin issues including atopic dermatitis and psoriasis WITHOUT the toxic exposure that comes with a bleach bath.


woman having a mineral bath at homeMineral Bath At Home

If you don’t live near a natural mineral spring in the heart of the Alps, I have great news for you.

You can still enjoy the benefits of balneotherapy at home with a mineral bath soak.

Although, just like with most things, mineral baths are a supportive tool, but not a “silver bullet” and research indicates that consistency is important. You likely won’t see an impact from doing them just once or twice.

A regimen of doing a mineral bath 3 to 4 times a week over the course of a month will likely yield better results.

So let’s talk about some of the ingredients you can add to your bath water that could actually benefit your skin barrier instead of drying it out and irritating it.


hot springs with sulfur water

Benefits Of Sulfur Water

Sulfur is one of the most abundant minerals in the body and it’s one of the important beneficial ingredients in natural mineral waters. (10)

In bath water, sulfur feels soothing and refreshing for your skin barrier and is thought to be antibacterial.

I recommend methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a form of sulfur that’s believed to improve skin quality and texture and even potentially demonstrate anti-microbial properties. (11)


oatmeal and brush for oatmeal bath

Colloidal Oatmeal Bath

I also love a good colloidal oatmeal bath soak. Colloidal oatmeal is just oats that have been ground to a fine powder.

Colloidal oatmeal is a classic that has a long history of use for the soothing of skin diseases. It’s thought to exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and skin barrier repair properties. (12,13)

In fact, a recent paper concluded that colloidal oatmeal was effective as an adjunct therapy in AD patients, noting its beneficial reputation as a bath additive that’s preferred by patients over bleach baths. (14)


pink Himalayan salt

Pink Himalayan Bath Salt Benefits

Adding some Pink Himalayan Salt to your bath water is a great idea too largely due to the combination of minerals it contains that are then available for your skin.

This special salt has over 80 minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, sodium, and sulfur which can help mimic the benefits of soaking in a natural mineral spring. (15)


Final Thoughts: Mineral Bath Vs. Bleach Bath For Eczema

Bottom line: Bleach is likely not as effective as was once previously claimed and carries more risk due to the toxic exposure it has that should be weighed before using it in a bath.

Instead of doing a bleach bath, consider adding mineral bath soaks into your routine 3-4 times/week that combine several different ingredients to optimally support your skin.

And of course, talk to your doctor before doing bath soaks if you have open cuts or wounds to make sure that this is okay.


Meet The All-New Quell Mineral Bath Soak

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It’s loaded with over 80 trace minerals thanks to the pink Himalayan salt in the formula and is filled with a host of ingredients that will leave your skin feeling comforted and hydrated, including soothing colloidal oatmeal and sulfur.

And we have directions for hand or foot soaks too in case you don’t have rashes on a larger area so you know the right amount to use.

Soothing Skin Soak + MSM introduces minerals and nutrients to your skin to support your skin barrier, calm itchy skin, and reduce how angry your skin feels.

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  1. https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(19)30069-7/fulltext
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26270469/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29150071/
  4. https://dermnetnz.org/topics/bleach-baths-in-patients-with-skin-infections
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21175871/
  6. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1529-8019.2008.00200.x
  7. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ijd.16080
  8. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-3083.2010.03900.x
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21175870/
  10. https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/9/9/3047
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372953/
  12. https://jddonline.com/articles/article-colloidal-oatmeal-part-i-history-basic-science-mechanism-of-action-and-clinical-efficacy-in-S1545961620S00s4X/
  13. https://jddonline.com/articles/colloidal-oatmeal-emavena-sativaem-improves-skin-barrier-through-multi-therapy-activity-S1545961616P0684X/
  14. https://practicaldermatology.com/articles/2020-aug/colloidal-oatmeal-in-the-treatment-of-atopic-dermatitis
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7603209/
  16. https://www.aad.org/dw/dw-insights-and-inquiries/2019-archive/october/coming-clean-on-bleach-baths-for-atopic-dermatitis

“If you took a bleach bath that’s strong enough to kill the bacteria that may be on your skin — you’d expose yourself to dangerous levels of bleach!”