Baking soda has always been an item in the first aid kit for treating skin injuries and scalding. It is known to prevent blistering and development of scars. When baking soda is mixed with water, the resulting endothermic reaction and its mild antiseptic properties make it useful for treating skin irritations. Baking soda has several medicinal uses, not to mention its easy availability and low cost. This makes it the ideal candidate for home remedies for several skin disorders, teeth whitening and even acid reflux. Eczema is a non-contagious skin disorder that manifests as itchy red patches on the affected parts of the skin. It is a condition that affects people of all age groups, including infants. Eczema treatment focuses on reducing the skin inflammation and providing relief from itching. The antiseptic properties of baking soda are very effective for treating rashes caused by eczema.
Please note: Baking Soda and Baking Powder (used in cake recipes, etc.), are not the same. The product we are referring to, in this article, is baking soda, also known as bicarb soda or sodium bicarbonate. Ensure that you're buying the correct product as this confusion is widespread.
Certain Precautionary Measures Before Use
Although baking soda is gentle on the skin, please take the following precautionary measures before taking a baking soda bath for the first time.
- Everyone's skin texture is not the same. If you have sensitive skin that is usually prone to allergies from even mild skin care products, do not use baking soda in your bath.
- Even if you have never had any other skin allergy, the eczema itself can make the affected area sensitive. It is better to test with a dilute mixture on a small part of the rash. If the redness of the rash increases or becomes uncomfortably itchy, it is better not to use baking soda in your bath. This test must be done while bathing babies in baking soda as their skin is naturally sensitive. If you notice an instant reaction while doing the test, dilute the mixture further. Typically, it is not known to make eczema rashes worse, but it is better to be careful.
- Just as you would do with any cleansing product, it is essential to moisturize your skin after a baking soda bath so your skin does not dry out and become scaly.
- If you're bathing a baby in baking soda, ensure that the baby does not swallow the bath water. Ingestion of baking soda in high quantities is known to cause headache and nausea even in adults. Simply exercise extra care while bathing the baby and ensure to expose only parts affected by eczema to the bath solution. Once done, pat the baby dry quickly so that it does not start to lick the solution off its arms and feet.
- In addition to eczema, if you have a pre-existing heart or kidney condition, ensure you do not accidentally swallow the bath solution as its high sodium content may cause other health problems.
- If you're a diabetic with a tendency to develop infection or bleeding on the smallest cuts and wounds, do not try baking soda on your eczema patches.
- Method to Make a Baking Soda Bath: Eczema patients can add half a cup of baking soda to a full bath. Ensure that the water is not uncomfortably hot. Also, see to it that you take a brief bath. Prolonged exposure may cause excessive dryness. For bathing babies and young children you might want to start with an even diluted solution and gradually increase the concentration to half a cup, if need be. It is interesting to note, that a baking soda bath also provides relief from diaper rash in babies. Following the bath, ensure to rub the affected areas with a mild moisturizer. Do not use any chemical skin cream or other harsh products. Wear clothing with natural fibers like cotton.
- Applying in Paste Form: Alternatively, make a paste of baking soda and water and apply liberally on the affected areas to relieve itching. Wash off after a few minutes and dab some moisturizer.
Disclaimer: This article is purely for informative and educational purposes and in no way intends to substitute medical advice for eczema treatment.