There are several different types of acne and the treatment for each type is different. Acne vulgaris is the most prevalent form and it is characterized by the formation of white heads, blackheads and pustules on the face and body. Acne rosecea is most common in women and presents as a red rash, usually on the face and chest, while folliculitis is most commonly found in men and is an infection of the hair follicles, usually on the face.
Causes of Acne
The actual causes of acne are not known. Acne vulgaris may have a genetic link since the children of individuals with acne vulgaris are more likely to suffer from the condition. Changes in hormone levels are also associated with this type of acne since the symptoms most often present at puberty. It is known that individuals with acne vulgaris and folliculitis have higher levels of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on their skin that those without acne symptoms and treatments include antiseptic agents and topical antibiotics.
Can Treatment with Bleach Baths Help Clear Acne Symptoms?
Before attempting treatment of acne with bleach baths, individuals should consult a dermatologist. There are no clinical studies for the efficacy of bleach baths in acne treatment, but they are used to treat other conditions, like eczema and psoriasis, that are aggravated by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Since the same bacteria is associated with outbreaks of acne vulgaris, bleach baths may provide an improvement of symptoms. Bleach is one of the most effective agents for killing staph bacteria.
Using Bleach to Prevent Acne Reinfection
Medical professionals advocate the use of hot water and bleach to clean items that come into direct contact with the skin of acne patients. This includes bed linens, wash cloths, towels and other items that may retain the staph bacteria. Pillows should be replaced regularly and a fresh wash cloth and towel should be used every time infected areas are washed. Individuals should avoid touching infected areas with their hands and should wash their hands regularly with antibacterial soap to avoid spreading the infection.
Bleach Treatment for Facial Acne
While acne on the body can be treated with bleach baths, bleach is an irritant that can cause inflammation of the eyes, nasal passages and mouth. It is recommended that a diluted bleach solution be applied to the face using a sterile cotton ball or pad, avoiding the areas around the eyes, nostrils and mouth. The solution should not be left on the face for more than 10 minutes and should be thoroughly rinsed with cool running water to avoid skin irritation. This treatment should be used with other acne therapies recommended by a doctor.
Bleach baths have proven to be an effective treatment for skin diseases which are caused by, or exacerbated by, bacteria. They are not effective for treatment of skin diseases in which bacteria does not play a role. Since staphylococcus aureus is known to be present in both acne vulgaris and folliculitis, bleach baths may provide some relief from acne symptoms by killing bacteria that are present on the surface of the skin.