Epsom salts
I recently lugged home this 3kg bag of Epsom salts from The Garden Pharmacy in Covent Garden (where it costs £6 for this huge bag). I’ve been buying Epsom salts for several years to use as a detoxing soak.

If you haven’t tried bathing in Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) before, I really recommend it. There are loads of uses and reputed benefits of Epsom salts, but I mainly use it in the bath for the following benefits:

  • The water is softened
  • My skin is soothed
  • My skin feels noticeably amazingly soft and silky afterward
  • Magnesium sulphate supposedly draws out toxins and water retention
  • The magnesium can supposedly be absorbed through the skin to increase serotonin (happy hormones) to reduce stress and to help me sleep

I add about two cups of Epsom salts to a warm bath and it instantly makes the water feel silky. Two cups sounds like a lot, but it really is such cheap stuff anyway. I’ll try to soak for at least 20 minutes to give the Epsom salts a chance to soften my skin and to be absorbed.

Epsom salts in hand
There will always be people who dispute the health claims of bathing in Epsom salts, but I personally notice real results from using it. Sometimes I get out of the bath and almost faint from being too relaxed. One time, I climbed out of the bath, dried myself off and managed to dizzily stagger to the foot of my bed where I fell asleep lying down on my back with my feet still on the floor. I slept so well that night though (once I’d got into bed properly).

I also often find that I continue to sweat buckets from all over my body and face for ages after a Epsom salt bath… and it’s definitely not from the heat of the water. It’s like my body is forcing out all the built-up toxins and water retention that I’ve accumulated over time. And I do actually feel less bloated and a little more svelte after all that sweating!

The skin softening is pretty miraculous too… Even if you don’t notice any of the above effects after an Epsom salt bath, I can guarantee that your skin will at least feel amazingly soft and stroke-able!

You’ll find Epsom salts in some pharmacies… usually you’ll need to ask for it over the counter. I once found a couple of boxes of magnesium sulphate on the shelves at Boots, where the boxes were plainly labelled in large text “FOR TREATMENT OF CONSTIPATION”. I felt a bit embarrassed with two of those big boxes in my basket. I must have looked really constipated. If you’re wondering about what it can do for constipation, apparently it can be taken orally in small doses to help things move along. Anyway, that was years ago so I’m not sure if you can still get it from Boots.

You can also buy Epsom salts online, but shipping costs are high due to the weight.

Have you ever tried bathing in Epsom salt?

31 comments on “Epsom salts: Detox while soaking in the bath

  1. I love epsom salts! Sometimes I put in a few drops of coconut oil and essential oils for a super relaxing treat… I’ve definitely noticed the detoxifying effect too and the strange sweating!

  2. Epsom salts are really good for arthritis sufferers. My rheumatoid arthritis started off in my hands and feet so I would soak my feet to try and make them less tender and sore. As it got worse I had to go for the full bath option and it did help to give a bit of relief. They’re super cheap too so you don’t have to worry about using them frequently.

  3. Soaking in an Epsom Salt bath is one of the most effective means of making the magnesium your body needs readily available. :)

  4. Magnesium is needed for ATP production, which is the energy that is needed to relax your muscles (energy only gets used when the muscles relax, not when they contract, which is counterintuitive) – so yes, when you get added magnesium, as absorbed through your skin in an epsom salt bath, your muscles are more relaxed!

    I don’t know of any biochemical mechanism through which magnesium would detox you, however.

  5. I had an infection on my molar, which I had a root canal about 12 years ago. I went to the dentist. He gave me some antibiotics to relieved the infection on my gum. My infection didn’t go away after finishing up the antibiotics, so he referred me to a specialist. The specialist said that my molar need to be extract. I do not want to lose my tooth, because that is the only tooth I have to chew on when eating. What I did was after brushing my teeth, I took some epson salt put in a cup with some water. Then I took a sip of salt water and hold it in my mouth for about 5 minutes, spit it out and rinse my mouth with clean water. I have no more infection on my gum and the tenderness has gone away. I am hoping what I am doing will help me save my tooth.

  6. @Petite XXS: Yes you should try it! Even just a little bag!

    @M: I’m glad it’s not just me who gets the strange sweating! Mmm… coconut oil and essential oils sound really nice in the bath. I should try that.

    @La: I’m glad Epsom salts help with your rheumatoid arthritis. You poor thing.. it sounds really painful!

    @Dead Sea Salt: Yes I like the sound of the magnesium being absorbed through my skin… I find it really fascinating that skin can can do that… and it also makes me worry about all the junk from shower gels and bath foams that might be being absorbed into our systems.

    @Lisa: Thanks for that information – really interesting! Explains why I feel almost drunk after an Epsom salt bath! My muscles are too relaxed! It sometimes feels like I’m in a trance!

    @Anonymous: Ouch I really hope the infection goes away for good!

  7. the minute i read that it softens water i was nearly out the door to pick it up. we have hard water in my city and everytime im out of town i can really tell what a difference soft water makes to my hair and nails. my hair becomes silky and my nails grow strong and fast!

    all the other benefits sound fabulous too. will keep an eye out for it! thanks!

  8. @sami: Yeah the water is really hard in London too – all the taps will be covered in limescale just days after cleaning them! Really annoying! I really notice the difference washing in soft water too… I always wonder whether I’m doing loads of damage to my skin by washing in hard water long term!

  9. I have never tried it, but I have to say that I always was curious about it. My mum has a box at her home. It is weird that you cannot find it everywhere here in UK, and that it is sold for constipation. In Canada, you can find boxes at the Dollar Store (Dollarama)! Well, I didn’t know it was good for all those things, and now that I read your post, I am more willing to try it!

    Stephanie

  10. Hi guys, do I need to rinse after the bath? I had the bath last night, put only a handful of salt in it (my first time). I slept so well after this and went to bed with wet hair as I was too sleepy to dry it! Slept for 11 hrs, but maybe because I could – it’s Saturday :)
    Do you rinse??

  11. @Ms Bubu: Wow I wish it was as easy to get hold of here as it is where you are!

    @Natalie Nguyen: Yes definitely give it a go if you can get hold of any Epsom salts!

    @Marlena: I don’t see any problem with *not* rinsing after an Epsom salt bath. I’ll only rinse if I use any other products at the end of the bath e.g. shower gel. Haha your experience sounds a bit like mine.. sometimes it just conks me out and I fall asleep immediately and don’t wake until 10+ hours later!

  12. Hi Helen, thanks for reply.
    I have been using Epsom salts for a few weeks now and I’m addicted! I have also noticed if I dont rinse my hair after the Epsom bath I get this lovely volume and do not need to use any styling products!
    I can confirm the salts are still available in my local pharmacy, £6 for 3 kg – Covent Garden pharmacy. Told all my friends about this bath and even got my boyfriend to get one :) have a lovely week guys x

  13. @Marlena: Your comment made me smile! Yes magnesium sulphate is often used in those “salt spray” hair products that are designed to give hair a volumised beach-look! My husband has epsom salt baths all the time now… but he hates the way it makes his body feel so weak (I tell him it’s just because it’s relaxing his muscles and removing all that stress).

  14. Dumb question, but how do you shampoo your hair w/Epsom Salt? Do you use shampoo w/it?

    Thanks.

  15. @Anonymous – I’ve never tried using Epsom salt in my hair! I’ve heard it gives it more body though (it’s actually a big ingredient in Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray). I’ve heard of people mixing it with water in a spray bottle and spraying it into their hair to style it. And some people apparently rinse their hair with it after shampooing.

  16. Hi,

    I live in California and my old roommate was a surfer, and she said that when she took an epsom salt bath, it really fixed her eczema when it got bad. You can buy it here at any drugstore or supermarket. It’s funny, when you google Epsom Salts, they say it was discovered in Epsom, Surrey.

    We have hard water here in Los Angeles and it has made a difference in my hair in just two rinses. I do my own color at home, so after the color is in my hair, I rinse out the excess color mixture out of the bottle and fill it up with about 2 ounces of salt crystals (like a 1/4 of a cup of ep.salts) and shake it up with brita pitcher water. Soap up with favorite shampoo, rinse with epsom rinse, and then conditioner. My hair is really soft after just coloring it.

    I don’t know if you guys have them over there, but almost all homes have them now in the US. A Brita Pitcher is a pitcher that has a charcol filtering system to re-filter the tap water that the city provides us . You just change the charcol filter every few months, but it’s a huge difference in the taste and contaminants as well. Cooking with food with this water has also made everything taste better too.

    If you mix purified water and a 1/4 cup of Epsom in a bottle, let is soak up the crystals and then use it as a rinse to get the gross haircoloring smell out of your hair. Some colorists use strong stuff, so it’s good to have Epsom salts in your beauty war chest.

    It also is good for your garden. If you hook up your washing machine hose to drain outside, all of the soapy water will be fertilizer to your plants and lawn. It’ll turn green and lush.

  17. I just bought a 25kg bag on ebay which worked out at £1 per kilo including freight. I’m guessing that will last for about 25 baths at 2 cups per kg. My naturopath suggested it.

  18. I’m just about to try my first epsom salt bath…husband is running it for me while I’m on here.

    Had my first appointment with an osteopath / acupuncturist today and he recommended I have an epsom salt bath every other day. I’m seeing him in preparation for IVF treatment and he said this will help balance my body.

    Willing to give anything a try!

  19. i have never tried it myself..but sure know it works…i am african and in my part of africa we also use epsom salt on toddlers..my nephew was quite big at toddler age so he did not walk as easily and we were told to bathe him in epsom salt..and behold he walked more freely after the third day!!

  20. Epsom salt is a life saver. I love it so much I always take some on holiday in the sunny side of the world. I always come back looking really good and younger looking, with less weight.

    I’m sorry your doctor will not recommend you drink it but I do, in minute amounts. I only use pure epsom salt MgSO4. It makes water taste great, even tap water.

    I bought a 25kg bag of pure epsom salt (bitter salz), cost nearly £50, but it is so worth it and more. I bought mine from “WestLab”, they sell all sorts of good stuff.

    I went partially bald from stress last year. I went away to the sun armed with my pure Epsom salt. Within 3 months my hair was growing vigorously. I am delighted. Constipation? what that? Not with epsom salt in tow.

    Then there your body smell; it’s intoxicating. Your sweat smells fantastic, healthy.

    I used to have migraines like crazy, but not any more. Epsom salt is always in my baths and I scrub with a loofa and soak for about 10 to 20 minutes depending on time.

    As for washing machines, I use washing soda with my detergent in all my washes to give me softer water. London has hard water.

    Today it occurred to me that epsom salt MAY work on ulcerated sores and gradually heal them. What do you think? Can it cure some tumors? If epsom salt can make tumors and ulcers sweat out the toxins that feeds them, might it not then eventually cure them?

  21. Epsom salt is one of the best things you can use not only for taking a bath but also to detox your body. it is probably the best and only thing that will cleans your body. It can help you remove all of the stones in your liver, in which as you get older creates numerous problems to your body. You just need to know how to do it for it to work. MUST DO!!Dont WAIT….

  22. I’ve been taking Epsom salt baths for years. They really helped after football practice and various other sports. Now I use them after work and the gym. My question is can I be over doing them? Could I be taking too many Epsom salt baths?
    Thanks,
    Currently soaking.

  23. love love love epsom salts! I try to bathe in them a few times per week and same for my kiddos. They love throwing salt in the water. I really think it relaxes them and makes them much calmer little boys the day after an ES bath! Also….I order mine online from saltworks. I think they have free shipping still! …even for a 25 lb bag! I need to reorder soon!

  24. IS ANYONE HAVE TRIED ON THE EYE? IS IT SAFE USING IT AS EYE DROP TREATMENT
    THANK YOU

  25. i have an extreme case of rheumatoid arthritis, have to sit up every night to sleep, and only get bout 3-4 hours sleep a night, the rest i cry,
    went into a health shop and she suggested this to me.
    Its 2.45, wide awak :( , and just read all these comments, i wants to buy it right now, right this minute, i jus wan t to sleep, will try n get some tomoro for sure,

  26. What about the perfumed ones in the market? Are they equally good? I recently bought a bag with lavender oils to try and soothe my bodyache and to get good sleep. Anyone tried it for IVF cycles?

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