Is Salt-Water Good for Eczema?
In the summer, kids want to swim. It’s a fact of growing up! But when you have an eczema kid, there are things you need to consider before letting your kid jump in the pool. Chlorine and other chemicals can be drying, and if your child has multiple chemical sensitivities, it might not be a viable idea. There is one other option… the beach! Salt-water is chemical free, thus reducing the risk of any allergic reactions. But is salt-water good for eczema, or could it just make things worse?
Let’s take a quick look at the general benefits of taking a swim in salt-water. It is an excellent form of recreation and exercise that carries no risk of potentially worsening your eczema by sweating. It gets you out in the sun for a little while, delivering all of the benefits of sunlight. On a hot day, it is one of the best ways to cool off!
For people with eczema, there are actually further benefits. Common logic would suggest that, because salt pulls water from tissue, bathing in salt-water would cause your skin to dry. Like all things, it depends on your exposure. If you were to spend a few hours a day submerged in salt-water, that probably won’t be good for your skin. But a reasonable length dip in salt-water could actually work wonders for eczema. The salt in sea water actually has antiseptic properties that can reduce the possibility of infection, a common issue with eczema. Some studies have shown that the minerals in the sea water are absorbed by the skin and help keep it soft and moisturized. The salt-water has anti-inflammatory benefits as well, helping reduce swollen and painful skin while relieving itching.
When your child is taking a swim in the sea, there are a few precautions to take. As they will be in the sun, make sure they are wearing eczema safe sunscreen to protect from a burn. Read this article on the best sunscreen for child eczema http://www.adrescuewear.com/blog/best-sunscreens-for-babychild-eczema/. After they are out, it is best to give them a quick shower to get residual salt off their skin.
There is one major drawback to swimming in the sea when you have eczema. Have you ever heard the phrase “Pour salt into an open wound?” Exactly. If your child is in the middle of a bad flare up, submerging them in salt-water will sting. It could also do them a world of good in the long run. If the sea is just too salty, you could try to create a similar environment in your home bathtub with a lower concentration of salt.
When making a salt-water bath, not all salt is created equal. Pouring a box of table salt into your child’s bath probably won’t do them much good. The “gold standard” of salt-water is considered mineral rich sea water. You should be able to find chemical free, therapeutic sea salt in any number of stores. If your child finds the water too salty and painful to sit in, reduce the amount of salt by half and try again. Here is an article on eczema and salt baths http://www.adrescuewear.com/blog/salt-baths-for-treating-baby-and-child-eczema/
Like most eczema remedies, bathing in salt-water might work for some and not for others. It is best to try it for yourself, see what works, and hopefully there will be some form of improvement. As a bonus, this treatment could include a trip to the beach! Have a great summer.