Epsom salt is a popular cure for several ailments and a main ingredient used in gardening, cleaning, maintenance of seawater aquariums, health and skincare products. It is extremely cheap and available almost everywhere. But have you ever wondered what exactly it is made up of and how it actually works?
What Is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt or magnesium sulphate or bitter salt are crystals heavily used in alternative, therapeutic, skin hair and health treatments. Most of us are unaware about the usage of Epsom salt in our day to day lives. We come across it while getting a pedicure at a salon, a foot massage or while preparing a mineral bath after a hectic day at work. While Epsom salt has several benefits associated with it, it is mostly used to relieve stress, muscle soreness and gain relaxation after a hectic day. It is popularly used as an ingredient in bath salt mixtures, foot soaks, body washes, body lotion and oils. The magnesium and sulphate ions present in the salt act as a calming agent by dissolving into the water and penetrating throughs thick layers of skin. The ions directly enter the bloodstream through the dermal layers without having to go through the gastronomical tract. Hence, it is the best-known remedy for hypomagnesemia, i.e., low levels of magnesium. The magnesium sulphate is also present in the ocean and is the reason why sound gets absorbed in the water. Epsom salt can also be found in burning coal and geological saltwater deposits.
Composition Of Epsom Salt
Firstly, let‚Äôs take a detailed look at the magical composition of the crystals. There are three different forms of magnesium sulphate: heptahydrate, anhydrous and monohydrate. Magnesium, oxygen and Sulphur make the chemical properties of the crystals. The physical structure of the crystals is slightly larger than the normal food flavoring agent, i.e., salt. In its anhydrous form it gets absorbed in water easily. Molecular formula: MgSO4
|Melting Point||200 degree C|
|Molar Mass||120.366 g/mol|
|Melting Point||1124 degree C|
|Solubility||26.9 g/100 ml|
Benefits Of Epsom Salt For Skin
Epsom salt or magnesium sulphate can be beneficial for skin in many ways. Below are some benefits of Epsom salt on face and skin:
1. For Pimples
Epsom salt has high solubility. Hence, it is considered the best mode for instant magnesium consumption. Epsom salt helps with relieving swelling of skin, soothing rashes and reducing inflammation. A solution of 3 teaspoons of Epsom salt and water can help in reducing the redness around the pimples, the appearance of scars and blemishes. It can also be used as a spot treatment by dabbing the thick solution directly on top of the pimples or as a face mask. It also helps in clearing body acne from shoulders, arms, back and neck.
2. For Dead Skin Cells
The skin needs regular exfoliation to remove the dead skin cells, blackheads, whiteheads and dirt from the surface. Epsom salt has a coarse consistency which makes it a perfect exfoliant for the face. A mixture of any carrier oil and Epsom salt can be used as a scrub to extract the dead skin cells and impurities off the face. The scrub should be gently massaged in circular motions for 5-10 minutes to purify the pores. Built up impurities inside the pores can lead to blackheads, pimples and blemishes.
3. For Skin Infections
Epsom salt helps in the treatment of yeast and fungal infections because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. A bath soaked with Epsom salt helps in relaxing the skin, fighting the bacteria, fungus, eczema and treating the inflammation. It reduces fungal infection, itchiness and swollen skin around the toenails. Soaking the skin in the solution of Epsom salt increases the magnesium levels inside the body which helps in fighting against bacteria attacks caused by any injuries, immune deficiencies or allergies.
4. For Cellulite
A solution of olive oil or coconut oil and Epsom salt along with cellulite fighting oils such as grape seed oil, few drops of rosemary essential oil and lavender essential oil helps in breaking down the stubborn fat cells. It also helps in avoiding retention of water and restores the moisture back to the skin cells. It can be used as a scrub or as a coarse body oil. After regular usage, the purple-white stretch marks will slowly disappear.
5. For Ageing
An Epsom salt scrub helps in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It fights against the radical that result in premature aging of the skin. Dry, flaky and dull skin is the biggest reason for the early onset of aging. Scrubbing a mixture of olive oil or coconut oil and Epsom salt helps in extracting the dead skin cells and restoring the suppleness back to the skin. It keeps the skin moisturized and hydrated resulting in a young glass looking skin.
Benefits Of Epsom Salt For Hair
Epsom salt is famously considered as a ‚Äúhair texturizer‚Äù for its volume inducing abilities. Besides that, there are several other benefits associated with Epsom salt for hair which can be included in daily personal care routine. The following are some known benefits of the crystals:
1. Itchy Scalp
Epsom salt has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which help in reducing inflammation and infections of all kinds. When there is an excess excretion of oil or damage due to external environment factors, the scalp can start itching incessantly. This can cause scalp infections. Epsom salt relieves the pain of itching and soothes the scalp from any swelling or inflammation. A solution of Epsom salt and coconut oil or water should be gently massaged on the scalp for best results. A bath soaked with Epsom salt can also do the trick. Research has also shown that the skin on the scalp absorbs magnesium due to the presence of hair follicles.
2. Limp Hair
Epsom salt is known to add definition to limp, lifeless and thin hair. It provides volume and thick texture when used regularly as a part of the hair care regime. The magnesium and oxygen compounds strengthen and moisture the hair roots. This results in prevention of hair fall, split ends and premature greying of hair. A solution of Epsom salt and filtered water should be sprayed on the hair to add volume and shine. However, it should not be used on coloured hair as the magnesium compounds present in the crystals can cause discolouration.
3. Dry Hair
Epsom salt combined with oils and hair conditioners help in moisturising of hair locks. The chemical compounds present in the crystals provide shine and softness to the delicate hair. It conditions the hair and leaves them feeling beautiful and wavy. It adds extra bounce, thickens the hair locks and strengthens the strands of hair from the roots.
Epsom salt scrub or hair wash helps in exfoliating the scalp, getting rid of stubborn dandruff and flaky skin. It should be combined with oils such as olive oil or coconut oil and rubbed on the scalp for best results. Use it along with lemon, yoghurt and other ingredients helps in fighting off rigid dandruff.
5. Oily Hair
Excess production of oil makes hair look dirty and limpy. Epsom salt helps in eradicating the oil from the scalp. The oil causes scalp infections such as yeast infections, fungal infections, dandruff and eczema. A scrub made of Epsom salt, lemon essential oil and yogurt is highly effective in removing oil from the scalp. The salt can also be mixed with a gentle shampoo to wash off the oil and dirt from the hair.
Health Benefits Of Epsom Salt
1. Stress And Relief
Magnesium present in Epsom salt relieves muscle pain and promotes relaxation. Melatonin present in the crystals helps with improvement in the quality of sleep. When added to baths, the salt gives a calming effect and is critical in providing energy to the body cells. It makes the body feel rested and revived. Research shows that magnesium is essential in helping patients with neuropsychiatric disorders.
2. Controlling Insulin Levels
Magnesium deficiency is a known cause for uncontrollable rise and fall in insulin level which result in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. One of the benefits of Epsom salt taken orally is that it maintains a healthy balance of electrolytes and blood sugar levels in the body. It lowers the risk of diabetes and other diseases caused by fluctuating insulin levels. It also keeps the body energetic and builds high metabolism.
3. Foot Ache
There are several benefits of Epsom salt foot soak. The magnesium soothes the aching and swollen feet by acting as a calming agent. It relieves the pulling muscles of the feet, restores energy to the cells and boosts the magnesium levels. Foot soaks are highly recommended in alternative therapy for foot pain, swollen soles, inflamed skin of the feet and foot injuries. Just add few tablespoons of Epsom salt to warm water and let your feet soak in it for couple of minutes.
4. Kidney Diseases
Taking baths in Epsom salt benefits in chronic kidney disease by removing the toxins affecting the functioning of kidneys and other organs. Kidney stones can be removed by consuming Epsom salt water orally on daily basis. Kidney stones are solid deposits made of minerals that get passed out of the system after using a strong laxative and detoxifier like magnesium sulphate.
5. Muscle Strain And Injuries
Epsom salt is a known alternative therapy for muscle pain, bruises, migraines and arthritis. It relieves pain and soreness caused by splinters, excess sporting activity, childbirth, surgeries and overwork. It reduces inflammation from sunburns, skin infections and mosquito bites. Just prepare a hot bath and add Epsom salt to it. It also helps in quick muscle recovery.
6. Weight Loss
Epsom salt helps with weight loss by detoxing the body of toxins and impurities. Taking warm bath in Epsom salt reduces stress and boosts metabolism for workout. It maintains the levels of magnesium and electrolytes needed for smooth functioning of the body. It acts as a laxative and eases the body of stubborn stool. It also promotes positive sleeping pattern which all results in gradual weight loss and less issues with obesity.
Epsom salt acts as a natural laxative to relieve constipation. It is approved by the researchers to consume Epsom salt orally in order to increase the water content in the intestines and cleanse the colon. A teaspoon of Epsom salt should be mixed with distilled water before consuming it. It will help in easy passing of stool and bowel movement. It also maintains the electrolyte levels and prevents dehydration.
8. Low Levels Of Magnesium
It is important to maintain a proper intake of magnesium as it is essential in functioning of cardiovascular system, blood circulation and flow to all organs, balance of electrolytes and maintaining muscle protein in the body. Low magnesium levels in the body can lead to imbalance of electrolytes, heart failure, kidney failure and several other serious health ailments.
9. Pregnant Women
Besides helping pregnant women in relieving muscles soreness and joint pains, Epsom salt improves the blood flow which regulates the blood pressure levels in the body. High and low blood pressure levels can lead to preeclampsia which results in seizures among pregnant women. It is important for pregnant women to consume a healthy intake of magnesium sulphate which acts as a regulator for blood circulation to all parts of the body. It also relieves muscles and soreness after childbirth.
10. Breathing Problems
Magnesium sulphate is a known alternative treatment for acute and severe asthma as it strengthens the respiratory muscles. Asthma patients are high recommended to use Epsom salt as a medicine to relieve themselves of bronchial pain caused by incessant coughing and exacerbations.
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