Health benefits of bleach

bleach-bottlesBleach, or sodium hypochlorite, is known to remove colour, whiten or disinfect, often by oxidation. Most people associate it with its ability to clean and make whiter clothes. But bleach can be used for other purposes as well, as much for dental, medial and household purposes.

In high concentrations, bleach has an anti microbial effect and is a dentist’s best friend for root canal therapy! Liquid sodium hypochlorite quickly reacts with microbes to irreversibly denature and destroy many of them that are considered pathogens. In most countries, bleach is used by the dentist during root canal treatment to disinfect an abscessed tooth. It has also been reported that in lower concentrations, bleach can be used as a mouthwash, when very diluted in water, in adjunction with gum disease treatment.

When bleach is in very low concentrations, it can be used to treat eczema. BBC News documented a study that involved 31 children with eczema and who took baths in water that contained a small amount of bleach. All children ended up having less skin irritation. The reason bleach helped was its disinfectant ability, killing germs that usually make eczema even more challenging to treat. These microbes cause infections and alleviate eczema’s symptoms like redness, irritation and the spread of the rash to other parts of the body. Diluted bleach disinfects those germs and reduces the symptoms. But it’s important not to conduct this bleach treatment alone and be medically assisted because high concentrations of bleach can be toxic.

Another study suggested that bleach treatments can slow down aging of the skin. Older mice were given daily 30 minute baths in water containing small amounts of bleach. They have all gained a baby skin. Bleach is not only a disinfectant but also an anti inflammatory agent that multiplies skin cells, providing those mice with thicker epidermal layer that became thin with age. Again the study does not encourage humans to add bleach in their baths.

Source of photo: Foekje Fleur
BBC article: ‘Bleach bath’ benefit for eczema

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