No matter how uncomfortable it may seem, itching comes to everyone naturally at least once in the lifetime. Occasional itching is normal and can happen due to numerous factors. But frequent urge to scratch the skin when it turns red can be a precursor to severe skin conditions such as eczema.
10-20% of this affected population comprises of children, whereas it involves just 1-3% of adults. From these figures, it can be deciphered that eczema mostly affects children. While medications constitute the primary treatment option to control symptoms of the condition, specific natural remedies too can benefit people with eczema.
Among natural remedies, most people consider oatmeal bath as the frontline option for the treatment of various forms of eczema. It also includes baby eczema. But does it relieve itching and other symptoms of eczema altogether? Does it have any side-effects if used as a treatment option? The subsequent sections of this article will cover these questions.
- Do you know there are 31.6 million people with eczema in the United States?
- Oatmeal baths might help fight chronic inflammation.
Oatmeal Bath for Itching and Eczema
At the outset, the thought of an oatmeal bath may sound like getting into a bathtub filled with breakfast. Most people consider oatmeal a healthy option for breakfast. However, in practical terms, it is a different thing altogether.
Though the procedure involves the use of oatmeal with warm water, it necessitates grinding the oats before mixing with water.
Apart from adults, the oatmeal bath benefits babies also. But since baby’s skin is sensitive, it is essential to follow certain precautions while using the oatmeal bath for eczema in babies.
Numerous studies provide a strong testimony to the fact that the use of this treatment option relieves itching and other common symptoms of eczema(1). Plus, it enhances the pH level of the skin and helps maintain it.
[Also Read: Natural Treatments for Eczema]
Steps to Prepare Oatmeal Bath
Fill a bathtub with lukewarm water. It is necessary to ascertain that it is mildly warm and not too hot. Generally, hot water tends to draw moisture from the skin. It can make it dry and aggravate the condition further.
It is recommended that you should use colloidal oatmeal while preparing the mixture. Colloidal oatmeal(2) is available in most general drug stores. You can also make it on your own at home as it is simple and easy.
All you need to do is mix oatmeal with warm water. Add one cup of colloidal oatmeal to the bathtub and turn the tap water on. It will help blend the oatmeal with the tub water. Mix the oatmeal using your hand as the tap water fills the tub.
Fill-in the tub until it reaches the requisite level. The tub water should appear milky. Further, it should also feel silky on the skin.
[Also Read: Herbs for Eczema Treatment]
How Long to Soak in an Oatmeal Bath
The duration of soaking in an oatmeal bath may vary from one individual to the other. Soaking for a longer duration can cause the skin to become dry. Furthermore, it can worsen some of the symptoms of eczema like itching.
So, it is recommended that you should refrain from soaking for more than ten minutes. It is the recommended duration for which you should soak in the bathtub after mixing water with colloidal oatmeal.
If you have bought colloidal oatmeal from a general store instead of preparing it at home, it is necessary to follow the instructions listed on its package. In case you unsure how to go about it, the wise thing to do is to consult a doctor.
There is a likelihood that you could feel sticky after soaking in the bathtub. To relieve this feeling, you can use lukewarm water to rinse your skin. Be careful not to rub it, though. Rubbing your skin would only irritate it than being of any help. You can either apply a skin moisturizer or your preferred emollient once you are done with soaking.
When used in the right way, oatmeal helps relieve various symptoms of eczema. These include irritation, itchiness, and dryness of the skin. You can either buy colloidal oatmeal from a general store or use general oatmeal on your own and add it to water in a bathtub.
However, you should remember that oatmeal bath, as a natural remedy, only alleviates the symptoms of eczema. It is not the cure for the skin condition. Regardless of whichever option you choose, it is recommended that you should consult a doctor, preferably a dermatologist, to find out if it is suitable for you. It can help you stave off any undesirable effects on the skin, which is linked with the natural remedy.
[Also Read: Home Remedies for Eczema]
1. Is Oatmeal Bath Good for Baby Eczema?
Yes, colloidal oatmeal is the preferred option for babies. Oatmeal is gentle on babies’ skin.
2. Can Oatmeal Baths Help Treat Eczema Altogether?
Oatmeal baths can help control the symptoms of eczema like itching and dryness of the skin. However, it does not treat eczema altogether. Kindly consult your doctor for better treatment.
3. Can You Use Regular Oatmeal for an Oatmeal Bath?
Yes. Add 1-1/3 cup of oatmeal for babies. Unflavored instant oatmeal or slow cooking oats can be used. If you can’t grind the oatmeal finely enough, you may use a muslin bag, or pantyhose as a bag for the oatmeal in the bath.