Step-by-Step Guide to Using Baking Soda for Eczema

And benefits for other skin conditions

ByKrystina Wagner Krystina Wagner

Krystina is a Technical Writer with a background in healthcare. She has spent the last 10 years working for an internationally recognized medical facility where she found her passion for making complicated topics easier to understand.

Learn about our editorial processUpdated on October 08, 2021Medically reviewedVerywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.byCasey Gallagher, MD Medically reviewed byCasey Gallagher, MD

Casey Gallagher, MD, is board-certified in dermatology and works as a practicing dermatologist and clinical professor.

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If you have eczema, perhaps you have found yourself wide-awake at 4 a.m. with an itch so intense that you can feel it in your bones.

There are many products and treatments for severe eczema. Some options, like a baking soda bath, are easily accessible and effective at soothing the itch.

While there’s no definitive research proving that taking a baking soda bath for eczema is beneficial, many people who have eczema find relief with the treatment. Baking soda cannot cure eczema, but it does offer natural antibacterial capabilities that may help keep your skin clean as it heals.

Severe Eczema Treatments

Eczema is a chronic condition that causes the skin to become red, inflamed, and itchy. The skin may ooze and can get thick and crack, allowing bacteria or fungi to creep in and cause more irritation and even infections.

Flare-ups of eczema can last a month or sometimes less. A month can feel like a year when you are in the midst of intense eczema symptoms. The more proactive you are about caring for a rash, the quicker it will heal.

The main focus when treating a rash is to minimize symptoms, keep the area away from anything that could cause an infection, and give the skin time to fully heal.

There are many treatments for eczema, both prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC). Some people find luck with zinc oxide creams, while others swear by hydrocortisone ointments.

Some people with eczema require prescription treatments like triamcinolone or Protopic and might need to take allergy medications or a prescription steroid as well.

With most of these treatments, you can apply them only once or twice a day. Sometimes the itch from eczema returns long before it's time to apply the next dose. When that happens and you need relief, there are some methods you can try that do not require medication.

There are some easy ways to help soothe eczema symptoms during a flare-up as well as prevent flares in the long term.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Baking Soda for Eczema

Some people with eczema find that the fabrics they wear can provoke or intensify a rash. For example, polyester is known for trapping in heat, while wool is known for being itchy (whether or not you have eczema).

Wearing clothing made primarily from bamboo or cotton will keep your skin cool. Your skin can also breathe better with bamboo or cotton fabrics. Since heat can increase the itch factor of eczema, wearing natural fibers like cotton or bamboo may help reduce itchiness.

When it comes to buying and using soap, the best option if you have eczema is a product with no fragrance or dyes. The fewer additives a soap has, the less likely it is to irritate your skin.

If possible, find a bar of soap with zinc. Soaps with zinc help reduce inflammation and remove bacteria and fungal spores naturally.

You'll also want to be choosy about laundry detergents. Pick liquid detergent over powdered detergent. Liquids dissolve and wash away much more easily, while powdered detergent is known for leaving residue behind (since it may not fully dissolve in the wash).

Heat can irritate eczema and make the itching more intense. Try holding an ice pack wrapped in a towel over the inflamed area.

You might find this remedy more helpful if you apply ice after using an anti-itch cream. A cool compress will help reduce the itching sensation while the medication kicks in to do the long-term work.

First check to make sure that your skin has absorbed most of the cream. Then apply the ice pack.

Having a soothing bath and applying a thick cream when you're done can reduce itching and seal in moisture to keep your skin hydrated. An oatmeal bath can be especially good for soothing the itch, as can a baking soda bath. You can even combine the two for more relief.

Do Baking Soda Baths Help With Eczema?

There is no conclusive scientific research showing that baking soda treats an eczema rash, but anecdotally, some people swear by baking soda baths during severe flares of eczema.

Baking soda is naturally antibacterial, which is important if you have cracked skin from eczema. Taking a 15-minute bath, in general, helps add moisture and is a great way to support your skin as it heals.

However, baking soda may cause skin irritation for some people. Most people do not know they have a baking soda allergy until they use a deodorant with baking soda or apply a baking soda paste on a bug bite or eczema bump.

Before jumping into a baking soda bath, do a patch test on a small part of your skin that does not have an eczema rash to make sure you do not have a reaction.

How to Prepare a Baking Soda Bath for Eczema

Taking a bath with baking soda is pretty simple. Here are the steps.

A Word From Verywell

Taking a bath will not cure your eczema, but it can help manage your symptoms. Additions like baking soda and oatmeal are not cures either, but they can make a bath more soothing and can help keep your skin hydrated. Having moisturized skin will help prevent it from cracking, which can leave it vulnerable to infection.

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