With baby eczema, bathing can quickly become an issue if some thought isn't put into how many times a week a bath is really needed. This is because having a bath actually dehydrates the skin and therefore makes those with eczema more susceptible to scratching.
I'd heard of over zealous parents who were washing their babies twice a day and then wondering why their babies eczema was getting worse.
A big benefit which we could visibly see contributing to our childs improvement in her eczema was down to changes in her bathing habits. So instead of giving her a bath or shower everyday, we decided to do it every other day.
We also changed the proximity of her bath time to her bedtime and instead of giving her a bath and then putting her to bed soon after. We instead left a period of 2 hours before putting her too bed, allowing us time to cream her up after bathtime and then re-apply the cream half an hour or so before bedtime.
This allowed us to maximise the moisturising benefits of the cream we applied, as we felt the cream applied after bathing would only compensate for the dehydration effects of bathing. The additional creaming dose before bedtime kept her moisturised during the early part of the night.
When we used steroid creams, we would only apply them as instructed and not everytime we applied the moisturising creams. This was essential as we felt ensuring we didn't over do the steroid cream use very important, as this in itself could have caused problems.
Getting paranoid about cleanliness by giving several baths for a child with eczema each week, can cause a lot of damage to the child's recovery from the inflammation. Along with the pain caused by eczema and without any real benefits in staying clean.
Looking at why people bathe as well as showering every day is generally not down to improved cleanliness. It's down to something they were brought up to do by their parents, so they've just carried on doing their daily routines from childhood into adulthood.
For others bathing is like eating, with an abundance of food, people quickly fall into the realms of excess consumption. Likewise with the easily availability of hot water on demand, it's easy to take advantage of the near unlimited supply.
In the days of a limited supply of hot water, people used to have less frequent baths, especially if it was very cold. Bathing was a chore in itself, as having to get the water hot enough and having to warm a room in which to bathe, as not many households had bathrooms.
Eczema was still prevalent then but surprisingly people are amazed by the fact it wasn't as common as it is today. This could be down to a number of reasons, of which excess bathing could be one of them.
A friend told me, that women in the western world spend so much money and time on moisturisers whilst in the rest of the world, this isn't the case and women in these other areas have just as well hydrated skin.
They were adamant the over reliance on moisturisers, was down to bathing habits, where in the western world cleanliness is rammed home through various outlets such as the media including magazines.
Whilst in the non developed world, water is a luxury and therefore used sparingly for hygiene. Using water in such a way, results in the skin not dehydrating as often and doesn't require a so called endless supply of moisturising.
It's vitally important to get a balance between cleanliness and recovery when it comes to dealing with eczema. For us, bathing every other day became very important.
In fact bathing is not technically the correct word to use, as we only allow our daughter one day a week for a bath, whilst the other bathing days are actually shower days.
Showering we found was a far better way of washing, as it limited the dehydration effects compared to sitting in the bath for 15 or more minutes.