Affordable and easily available through your local supermarket or pharmacy, Epsom salt—or magnesium sulfate—offers a lot of benefits to our bodies, both internally and externally. Although magnesium is an essential mineral to the body—important in functions such as muscle control, energy production and toxin removal—magnesium isn’t easily absorbed by the digestive tract, and factors such as changes in agriculture and diet mean that many of us (up to half of Americans, some say) aren’t getting enough magnesium. Enter Epsom salts.
The most common way to use Epsom salts is to add two cups to a warm bath. When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salts are easily absorbed through the skin, offering a myriad of benefits.
Relax: Epsom salt has a natural sedative affect on the nervous system. The body needs magnesium to bind serotonin, the brain’s feel-good chemical, but stress and excess adrenaline can drain the body of magnesium. Taking an Epsom salt bath can help restore the body’s levels and naturally relieve stress.
Detox: Magnesium sulfate helps remove heavy metals and toxins from your body. It also stimulates the pancreas to create additional digestive enzymes, and sulfate on its own strengthens the walls of your digestive tract, making it easier to release toxins.
Soothe: The combination of Epsom salt’s sedative and detox effects make it a potent treatment for sore muscles and joint pain.
Exfoliate and soften: Health benefits aside, Epsom salt can also work wonders for your beauty! An Epsom salt bath can help soften and smooth skin—just be sure to keep the bath water warm, not hot, and to rinse off excess salt before getting out. Massage Epsom salts directly onto your skin to help exfoliate it, too.
Don’t want to take a full bath? Try these uses for Epsom salt instead.
Cleanse face: Mix a half teaspoon of Epsom salt in with your regular cleanser each night to lock in moisture and help prevent wrinkles.
Soak feet: Add a half cup of Epsom salt to a large pan of water then let your feet soak for as long as you please to soften heels, remove odor and treat general soreness.
Clean hair: Have unusually oily hair? Add nine tablespoons of Epsom salt to a half cup of shampoo to help soak up excess oil and leave your locks clean.
Volumize hair: Warm equal parts deep conditioner and Epsom salt in a saucepan; work the mixture through your hair then rinse after 20 minutes for soft, volumized hair.
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