If you're ready for an Epsom salt bath, consider your tub size and water depth before you begin pouring in the salt. More salt isn't necessarily better. A common formula is to add a cup or two (about 0.25 or 0.5 liters) of Epsom salt to warm water in a standard-size bathtub. If your bathtub is bigger or smaller than most, you may want to adjust the amount of Epsom salt you add [source: Epsom Salt Council].
If you're a lover of hot, steaming bath water, know that it's not doing your skin any favors. The water you use in an Epsom salt bath -- and any bath, for that matter -- should be warm, not hot. Warm or tepid water is best for your skin because it doesn't strip away as much protective oil, and it helps to dissolve the Epsom salt. Before you climb into the bath, make sure that all of the salt has dissolved so that it can be more easily absorbed into your skin. Any salt that hasn't dissolved in the water may dry on your skin as an opaque white powder. If you see this residue on your skin after the bath, don't worry; excess salt should be harmless and is easily rinsed off.
It's generally recommended to soak in an Epsom salt bath for about 15 minutes up to three times per week. Aside from these soothing baths, Epsom salt baths can be incorporated into your beauty routine as a way to exfoliate, as an at-home facial when mixed with a cleansing cream and as bath crystals when mixed with a fragrance [source: Epsom Salt Council].
Despite the benefits, Epsom salt baths aren't for everyone. They generally aren't recommended for people who have conditions such as heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes. If you aren't sure whether an Epsom salt bath is safe for you, consult your doctor first.
Epsom salt has been a cure-all for generations: It has been used to soothe aches and pains, and more recently for softening skin, preventing wrinkles and detoxifying your body. If you're interested in learning more about the uses and benefits of Epsom salt, follow the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- DeFelice, Karen. "Epsom Salts." EnzymeStuff.com. Aug. 25, 2005. (Accessed Sept. 15, 2009)http://www.enzymestuff.com/epsomsalts.htm
- Epsom Salt Council. "Beauty Benefits." (Accessed Sept. 14, 2009)http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/beauty_benefits.htm
- Epsom Salt Council. "Beauty Usage Tips." (Accessed Sept. 29, 2009)http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/beauty_usage_tips.htm
- Epsom Salt Council. "Frequently Asked Questions." (Accessed Sept. 14, 2009)http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/about_faq.htm
- Epsom Salt Council. "The Science of Epsom Salt." (Accessed Sept. 14, 2009)http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/about_science_of_epsom_salt.htm
- Mars, Brigitte. Beauty by Nature. Healthy Living Publications. 2006. (Accessed Sept. 14, 2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=3eb7OiuZIDMC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=&f=false
- Mayo Clinic. "Psoriasis." April 10, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 15, 2009)http://mayoclinic.com/health/psoriasis/DS00193
- Mayo Clinic. "Skin care: Top 5 habits for healthy skin." Dec. 28, 2007. (Accessed Sept. 15, 2009)http://mayoclinic.com/health/skin-care/SN00003
- Mayo Clinic. "Wrinkles." Jan. 27, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 15, 2009)http://mayoclinic.com/health/wrinkles/DS00890
- McLean, Linsey. "United States Patent: Therapeutic Bath Salts and Methods of Use." Sept. 28, 1999. (Accessed Sept. 14, 2009)http://www.google.com/patents?hl=en&lr=&vid=USPAT5958462&id=sfQEAAAAEBAJ&oi=fnd&dq=epsom+salt+bath&printsec=abstract#v=onepage&q=epsom%20salt%20bath&f=false
- Meyer, Lawrence. "Why do fingers wrinkle in the bath?" Scientific American. April 2, 2001. (Accessed Sept. 15, 2009)http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-fingers-wrinkle-in
- Rawls, Jordann. "Detox 101: Do detox baths work?" Examiner.com. July 17, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 15, 2009)http://www.examiner.com/x-14353-Yoga-Examiner~y2009m7d17-Detox-101-Do-detox-baths- work
- Waring, R.H. "Report on absorption of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) across the skin." The Magnesium Web Site. (Accessed Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.mgwater.com/transdermal.shtml