Epsom salt is by no means a new-market product—take a peek in your grandma’s bathroom cabinet or any athlete’s shower and you’re bound to find a bag of the well-trusted muscle relaxer. But the salt (a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate) isn't only for joint pain—it's actually rife with a variety of health and beauty benefits too. And as all things natural beauty, health, and skincare continue to take over the industry, we decided to delve into what makes this otherwise simple product so physically and mentally rewarding.
Ahead, we rounded up seven wonder-working Epsom salt benefits that span your skin, body, hair, and mind.
It can help combat PMS-related ailments
“Magnesium can be a boon for PMS-related concerns like migraines, restlessness, irritability, mood swings, and intense cramps," says Erica Chidi Cohen, a holistic doula. It can also reduce inflammation and regulate cortisol (your stress hormone)." Taking a 20-minute Epsom salt bath is an easy, relaxing way to reap these calming benefits (along with many of the other advantages listed below).
It can help you lose water weight
“Take an Epsom salt bath followed by an ice bath three days in a row,” says Meryl Pritchard, a nutritionist and the founder of Kore Kitchen. The back-to-back process tightens skin and quickly removes any bloat.
It’s a natural remedy for insomnia
Alongside cramps and body aches, Epsom salt baths help insomnia. “It’s believed that magnesium helps improve sleep by improving muscle relaxation and regulating sleep hormones,” explains Joel Granik, licensed acupuncturist and founder of Floating Lotus.
It can cleanse and volumize your hair
“Mix about a tablespoon of Epsom salt into your shampoo bottle for a deep scalp clean,” says Tasneem Bhatia, MD. The minerals are also known to blast roots with volume.
It moisturizes and soothes dry, irritated skin
According to a 2005 study, magnesium salts hydrate skin while reducing redness and irritation. “Use Epsom salts in the shower by mixing a palm-sized amount with your favorite bath oil,” says Bhatia. “Scrub any dry or flaky areas, such as the knees and elbows."
It’s a natural exfoliant
Epsom salt can be used as an exfoliant, says celebrity skin expert Ole Henriksen. “The texture of Epsom salt is firm yet very smooth to the touch. This makes the exfoliation process comfortable for all skin types,” he explains. Henriksen suggests mixing 4 oz. Epsom salt, 4 oz. coffee grounds, and 1 tsp. eucalyptus oil into a smooth (not runny) paste. Apply the paste onto wet skin, scrubbing body from neck to feet, and rinse off in the shower.
It’s an easy way to detox
Jessi Lucatorto, an alternative medicine health coach, suggests soaking your body or feet in an Epsom salt bath for 30 minutes. As the warm water eases muscle and joint pain, the sulfates in the Epsom salts act to draw out toxins from the body.
Next up, find out the weird thing that can happen to your skin when you go vegan.