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Eczema body wash for healthier skin

Eczema can be incredibly uncomfortable—but the right skincare products may provide relief.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Nov 22, 2023 • 9 min read
Medically reviewed by Kristen Jokela, NP-C
Woman Suffering from Eczema on Arm
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Nov 22, 2023 • 9 min read
Medically reviewed by Kristen Jokela, NP-C
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

In this article

What is eczema?
More

Here at Curology, we currently focus on the diagnosis and treatment of acne, rosacea, and anti-aging concerns. We do not treat many of the conditions mentioned in this article. This article is for information purposes.

Eczema, with its dry, itchy, and inflamed patches, can often feel like a never-ending battle. Every day brings the challenge of resisting the itch and finding relief. And, while the right moisturizer can work wonders, have you ever considered the potential for your body wash to alleviate—or exacerbate—your symptoms? 

Enter the world of eczema-friendly body washes—game-changers in skincare that aim to cleanse, hydrate, and soothe without triggering flare-ups. Let’s take a look at the benefits of specially formulated body washes and how they can pave the way for healthier, happier skin. 

What is eczema?

Eczema, also known by its formal name, atopic dermatitis (AD), is a common skin condition many people grapple with.¹ Imagine having an itch that refuses to go away and rashes up when you scratch—that’s eczema for you. Dry, itchy skin often becomes inflamed, making it prone to infections. If not addressed, it can lead to recurring infections and negatively impact your quality of life.²

Now, what causes this condition? It’s a mix of our genes and the environment around us.³ People with eczema have a unique skin situation where their barrier isn’t as strong, leading to dehydrated skin. This same barrier also leaves them more open to infections and irritation from outside influences like fragrances and allergens. Some research points to a mutation in a specific gene called Filaggrin, which plays a role in this.⁴

If you’re wondering how widespread eczema is, it’s estimated to affect 15-30% of children and 2-10% of adults.⁵ A staggering 60% of these cases come to light in the first year of a person’s life. Interestingly, it’s found more in rural settings, which indicates there may be environmental factors in its development.⁶

Symptoms of eczema

Wondering what the signs of eczema are? For little ones, especially infants, you might notice dry, scaly, and red patches—often on their cute faces.⁷ In growing kids and in adults, it’s common to see these patches on places like the inside of the elbows and knees. 

Have you noticed crease-like wrinkles below someone’s eyes? Or maybe a peculiar mark across the nose due to constant rubbing? These are also some of the distinctive signs of eczema.⁸

If you or someone you know is facing this condition, remember that understanding the condition is half the battle won. The good news is there are several ways you can treat and manage eczema.

Eczema management 

Living with eczema may sometimes throw a wrench in your day-to-day life, causing a decrease in your overall quality of life. From reduced productivity at work or school to additional healthcare costs from treatments and medications—it’s got its challenges.⁹

You can manage your eczema by following a few rules. You know how some people can’t eat strawberries or peanuts? Similarly, when you have eczema, there are specific triggers to watch out for.¹⁰ It could be stress, extreme temperatures, sweating, or specific allergens and irritants.¹¹ It’s all about understanding your body and pinpointing what makes your skin go, “Nope, not today!”

Aside from watching out for triggers, keeping things simple and gentle may be a good idea: Bathe daily using soap-free cleansers and always moisturize with fragrance-free moisturizers post-shower.¹² This hydrates your skin and helps in keeping flare-ups at bay.

Medication varies based on the severity of the condition. Some people might need to start with topical anti-inflammatory ointments and creams, while others might need a bit more firepower, like oral and injectable medications or even phototherapy.¹³ And for those really difficult cases? There are treatments like dilute bleach baths to fight off infections.¹⁴

But remember, everyone’s skin is unique, so what works wonders for your best friend might not work for you. It’s crucial to have a chat with a dermatology provider. They can help tailor a plan that's just right for you. 

What should you avoid when you have eczema? 

If you’re looking to keep your eczema-prone skin happy and irritant-free, there are a few things you should steer clear of. First and foremost, be mindful of environmental allergens.¹⁵ Also, it’s a good idea to skip those harsh soaps and detergents. Fragrances can be sneaky culprits too, so it’s best to avoid them when possible. Lastly, while it might be tempting to wear that chic wool sweater, opt for breathable fabrics instead.¹⁶

Remember, being kind to your skin today means a happier, healthier you tomorrow!

What to look for in an eczema body wash?

When dealing with eczema, it’s a good idea to select the right body wash that not only cleans but also supports and nourishes your skin. 

Here’s what you should look for in an eczema body wash:

Petrolatum 

One of the top ingredients to consider is petrolatum. This is a tried and true moisturizer with significant benefits. Not only does petrolatum improve your skin’s natural defenses, but it also plays a crucial role in repairing skin barriers.¹⁷ One study emphasizes the effectiveness of a petrolatum-delivering body wash in conjunction with a polyethylene puff cleansing system, particularly for moderate eczema.¹⁸

So, when choosing a body wash for eczema, you may want to opt for one that integrates petrolatum as a primary ingredient. 

Colloidal oatmeal

An all-natural remedy, colloidal oatmeal is a powerhouse when it comes to skin conditions like AD. Recognized by the FDA as an effective treatment for a variety of skin conditions, its prowess lies in hydrating the skin, reducing itchiness, and curbing inflammation.¹⁹ Rich in starches, vitamins, and flavonoids, it aids in water retention and boasts antioxidant properties, making it an excellent choice.²⁰ A product such as the Aveeno Soothing Oatmeal Bath Treatment incorporates colloidal oatmeal, ensuring your skin benefits from its soothing properties.

Sodium hypochlorite

While sodium hypochlorite is the primary ingredient in bleach, don’t be alarmed. When used in very dilute concentrations, like 0.005%-0.006%, it becomes a formidable ally against the Staphylococcus aureus colonization commonly found in eczema patients.²¹ 

This bactericidal agent has low potential toxicity and has been found to be effective in improving eczema severity.²² An added advantage? Most participants in a study preferred body washes containing dilute sodium hypochlorite over traditional bleach baths.²³ The CLn BodyWash is a recommended product that leverages this ingredient’s benefits.

When shopping for an eczema body wash, look out for skin-loving ingredients like petrolatum for moisture, colloidal oatmeal for soothing, and sodium hypochlorite for its bactericidal properties. But always make sure to consult with a dermatology provider first before introducing any new products to your skincare routine to get a proper treatment plan for your eczema.

Your skin will thank you!

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While we don’t currently offer treatment for eczema, if you are experiencing acne, rosacea, or signs of aging, consider signing up for Curology.* Our team of licensed dermatology providers can offer personalized skincare recommendations and products based on your needs—all you need to do is answer a few questions and take a few photos of your skin concerns.

FAQs

What is eczema and how common is it?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a prevalent skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed patches. It’s estimated to affect 15-30% of children and 2-10% of adults.²⁴ Eczema can be caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors, with some research suggesting a link to a mutation in the Filaggrin gene.

What are the typical signs and symptoms of eczema?

Eczema manifests as dry, scaly, and red patches.²⁵ In infants, it’s often seen on their faces, while in older children and adults, it’s commonly found on the insides of elbows and knees. Distinctive signs also include crease-like wrinkles below the eyes and marks across the nose from constant rubbing.

How can eczema be managed?

Managing eczema involves understanding personal triggers like stress, extreme temperatures, and specific allergens.²⁶ Daily bathing using soap-free cleansers, followed by moisturizing with fragrance-free ointments, helps prevent flare-ups. 

Treatments can range from topical anti-inflammatory creams to oral medications, phototherapy, and even dilute bleach baths in severe cases. Consulting a dermatologist or healthcare provider is essential to tailor an individualized plan.

What should be avoided to prevent eczema flare-ups?

Individuals with eczema should avoid environmental allergens, harsh soaps, detergents, and fragrances.²⁷ It's also advisable to avoid wearing rough fabrics and instead opt for breathable ones to minimize skin irritation.

What ingredients should one look for in an eczema-friendly body wash?

When choosing a body wash for eczema, look for moisturizing ingredients like petrolatum, soothing agents like colloidal oatmeal, and bactericidal properties from diluted concentrations of sodium hypochlorite. Products incorporating these ingredients, like the Aveeno Soothing Oatmeal Bath Treatment and CLn Body Wash, can be beneficial for eczema-prone skin.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. (2022, August 8).

  2. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

  3. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

  4. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

  5. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

  6. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

  7. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

  8. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

  9. Chovatiya, R. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema). JAMA. (2023, January 17).

  10. Chovatiya, R. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema). JAMA. Ibid.

  11. Chovatiya, R. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema). JAMA. Ibid.

  12. Chovatiya, R. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema). JAMA. Ibid.

  13. Chovatiya, R. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema). JAMA. Ibid.

  14. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

  15. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

  16. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

  17. Czarnowicki, T., et al. Barrier repair and antimicrobial responses underlying this "inert" moisturizer. J Allergy Clin Immunol. (April 2016).

  18. Draelos, Z.D., et al. The effect of two skin cleansing systems on moderate xerotic eczema. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (June 2004).

  19. Chat, V.S., et al. Colloidal Oatmeal in the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis. Practical Dermatology. (August 2020).

  20. Chat, V.S., et al. Colloidal Oatmeal in the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis. Practical Dermatology. Ibid.

  21. Majewski, S., et al. Sodium hypochlorite body wash in the management of Staphylococcus aureus–colonized moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatric Dermatology. (2019, April 15).

  22. Majewski, S., et al. Sodium hypochlorite body wash in the management of Staphylococcus aureus–colonized moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatric Dermatology. Ibid.

  23. Majewski, S., et al. Sodium hypochlorite body wash in the management of Staphylococcus aureus–colonized moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatric Dermatology. Ibid.

  24. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

  25. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

  26. Chovatiya, R. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema). JAMA. Ibid.

  27. Nemeth, V. and Evans, J. Eczema. StatPearls. Ibid.

Kristen Jokela is a certified Family Nurse Practitioner at Curology. She obtained her Master of Science in Nursing at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL.

*Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Results may vary.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Kristen Jokela, NP-C

Kristen Jokela, NP-C

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