You've been on your feet all day and your body aches. The first antidote you might consider for your weary bones is a warm bath with Epsom salts.
While the magnesium sulfate crystals are commonly used to treat aches and pains, they have many other uses.
Because both magnesium and sulfate are critical to good health, Epsom salts can help restore these minerals to your system, positively affecting bodily functions.
For general health, experts recommend soaking in an Epsom salt bath for about 15 minutes, three times a week. For specific health concerns, you may want to consider the tips on the following pages.
Create an Inexpensive Skin Treatment
Mineral-rich Epsom salt can soften dry, rough skin by hydrating and moisturizing it. The compound can even calm serious dermatologic conditions like psoriasis or eczema. And on a more superficial level, it may diminish the appearance of wrinkles.
For an ideal moisturizing effect, use warm (not hot) water when soaking or cleansing with Epsom salt. Also limit your time in the water. For optimal results, apply a moisturizer within three minutes following your Epsom salt bath or wash. This will help lock in moisture.
Epsom salt is also a wonderful exfoliant. Mix it with petroleum jelly to scrub rough skin. Just be sure not to use petroleum jelly on your face, as it can lead to a breakout.
Detoxify Your Body
Epsom salt proponents believe the compound can remove harmful, unnatural substances from your body. It's theorized that it does so by raising sulfate levels in the body, which might open up detoxification pathways. Some even claim that the detoxification promoted by Epsom salt baths can benefit children with autism. Unfortunately, there's not much research that backs up such assertions.
It's Not for Everyone
Epsom salt baths aren't recommended for people who have high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes. If you're unsure as to whether or not the practice is safe for you, consult with your doctor or pharmacist.
Use the Right Amount
Don't overdo it when adding Epsom salts to your bath. All that's usually needed for a standard-size bathtub is 1 to 2 cups (about 237 to 474 grams). After you pour it into your bath water, make sure it's fully dissolved before you step in. Undissolved Epsom salt can leave a white residue on your skin.
Hop in the Tub and Relax
For generations, people have used Epsom salt baths as a way to soothe their weary bodies. The reason it's been such a popular remedy is because it's inexpensive and it really does help.
Don't expect miracles; Epsom salt isn't likely to cure all of your ailments. However, you'll be surprised at the relaxing, medicinal effect a soak in warm, Epsom salt-filled bathwater can have on a body. So, whether you're using the mineral for a specific purpose or just want to wind down after a long day, you're sure to enjoy this comforting treatment.
HowStuffWorks finds out whether it's better medically to pop that blister or leave it alone.
- DeFelice, Karen. "Epsom Salts." EnzymeStuff.com. Aug. 25, 2005. (Sept. 15, 2009) http://www.enzymestuff.com/epsomsalts.htm
- Epsom Salt Council. "Beauty Benefits." (Sept. 14, 2009) http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/beauty_benefits.htm
- Epsom Salt Council. "Beauty Usage Tips." (Sept. 29, 2009) http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/beauty_usage_tips.htm
- Epsom Salt Council. "Frequently Asked Questions." (Sept. 14, 2009) http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/about_faq.htm
- Epsom Salt Council. "The Science of Epsom Salt." (Sept. 14, 2009) http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/about_science_of_epsom_salt.htm
- Mars, Brigitte. Beauty by Nature. Healthy Living Publications. 2006. (Sept. 14, 2009) http://books.google.com/books?id=3eb7OiuZIDMC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=&f=false
- Mayo Clinic. "Psoriasis." April 10, 2009. (Sept. 15, 2009) http://mayoclinic.com/health/psoriasis/DS00193
- Mayo Clinic. "Skin care: Top 5 habits for healthy skin." Dec. 28, 2007. (Sept. 15, 2009) http://mayoclinic.com/health/skin-care/SN00003
- Mayo Clinic. "Wrinkles." Jan. 27, 2009. (Sept. 15, 2009) http://mayoclinic.com/health/wrinkles/DS00890
- McLean, Linsey. "United States Patent: Therapeutic Bath Salts and Methods of Use." Sept. 28, 1999. (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. (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. (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. (Oct. 13, 2009) http://www.mgwater.com/transdermal.shtml