Epsom salt is nothing like your regular salt (which is sodium chloride). Epsom salt is actually magnesium sulphate, both components having deeply beneficial properties for skin healing as well as overall health. We have used Epsom salt for eczema in our two warriors, and found that it really helps to relieve their itch, sooth their inflamed rashes, and calm their emotions.
What is Epsom salt
A bit of history
Epsom salt was first discovered in a town called Epsom in Surrey, England. The salt was harvested from the mineral-rich well waters, which was commonly used as a laxative, to treat constipation. Later, it was discovered that wading in these waters healed wounds faster, so it became a spa town, to which people flocked for the numerous health benefits brought forth by magnesium sulphate.
Now, Epsom salt is manufactured using the naturally occurring minerals of magnesium and sulphate. When Epsom salt is dissolved in water, both magnesium and sulphur get absorbed through the skin, and we reap their immense benefits:
- Magnesium is one of the essential minerals required by our body, as it aids in hundreds of enzymatic reactions. These include metabolism of food, including proteins and fatty acids, transmission of nerve pulses, regulation of heart functions, and genetic maintenance. It also relaxes muscles, and relieves aches and pains. Magnesium improves our mood by calming anxiety and helping with depression. It is also essential to our bone health. More information can be found at www.medicalnewstoday.com.
- Sulphur is another essential mineral. Just like magnesium, sulphur supports many enzymatic processes, including many metabolic functions. It maintains connective tissue, hence is important in wound healing of skin. It also helps the body to get rid of toxins, on top of being an effective anti-fungal and anti-inflammation agent. More information about the benefits of sulphur can be found here: articles.mercola.com. One of my previous articles discusses sulphur for treating infected eczema.
Why is Epsom salt for eczema so beneficial
The healing properties of Epsom salt for eczema is extended to us through various ways:
Drawing out impurities
Remember, eczema is not a simple skin issue. It is related to the gut, and what goes through the intestinal lining that circulates all around the body in the blood. Impurities and toxins will try to purge out through the skin if the other main elimination organs are stretched. It is also a sign of weakened immune system.
The secret to magnesium sulphate’s healing properties on eczema is its immense ability to flush out toxins and other undesirable substances from the body, including heavy metals. But also because of this detoxification, you may want to start slow on your Epsom salt baths, otherwise detoxification symptoms like headaches, weakness and fatigue may get uncomfortable.
Soothing on itch and inflamed rashes
Both magnesium and sulphur have anti-inflammatory properties. Hence they are able to settle red and angry rashes, reducing the itch from all the inflammation. This helps put a stop to the itch-scratch cycle, and gives the skin a much-needed break from open wounds, so it gets a chance to heal.
This linked study found low magnesium levels to be correlated to higher inflammation markers.
Calming on the mind
The state of the mind is a big factor when it comes to eczema triggers. Stress and anxiety can summon an itch fest like no other. Hence it is so important to calm your soul and mind, especially at bedtime, since sleep deprivation is another huge obstacle to eczema healing. I have co-slept with my eczema kids for years, I know how little restful sleep they really get, especially before we embarked on this natural healing journey. When they were in the midst of a flare, which could last from days (if we were lucky), to weeks or even months, never letting up, sleep was a word outside the dictionary.
In this linked study, magnesium has shown to be effective for depression in adults, without the need for close monitoring for toxicity. Once again, nature does heal.
Epsom salt bath recipe
It really can’t get any simpler than this: 1-2 cups of Epsom salt to 1 full bathtub of lukewarm water.
The lukewarm water opens up the skin pores to allow the magnesium and sulphur to be absorbed. Do not use water that’s too hot, as it can irritate eczema skin. Soak for about 20 minutes, do not go much longer than that as the toxins may get reabsorbed.
Start with 1 cup of Epsom salt if you have not tried an Epsom salt bath before, as the detoxification effects may get too strong for comfort (headache, weakness, fatigue, dizzy spells, etc.). If you do not experience these, then your body is probably taking it well, so you may want to increase it to 2 cups of Epsom salt per bath.
If you’re preparing the Epsom salt bath for your child, in a small tub, then scale things down accordingly. You may want to start off with a tablespoon of Epsom salt, and adjust accordingly, depending on the child’s symptoms and comfort level.
Where to buy Epsom salt
Epsom salt can be easily found in supermarkets and pharmacies. Sometimes it is in the first aid section, as it can be used as a laxative (so do not ingest Epsom salt, unless under your doctor’s advice), or for treating muscle and joint pains. At times it can also be found in the bath section, but do get one that is purely magnesium sulphate, with no additives.
Our experience with Epsom salt
Just like our experience with apple cider vinegar baths, we get a strong foul smell (like sewage) in the used Epsom salt bath water, after our eczema warriors soaked in it for about 15 minutes. This occurred only during the period that they were going through topical steroid withdrawal. So we encountered, first hand, and in strong concrete ways, the detoxing effects of Epsom salt baths.
We use Epsom salt baths regularly, eczema flare or not. It leaves the kids’ skin smooth and cool to the touch, even during eczema flares, so we know it really does help in calming their inflammation. It helps them sleep better too, as they do not scratch so much.
On days with eczema flares, and without flares (just for maintenance of the skin), we pick from our repertoire of natural healing baths for eczema: Epsom salt bath, apple cider vinegar bath, ginger bath, or saltwater bath. When the skin gets infected, we boost up the immunity and antimicrobial effects with garlic water, which is usually enough to ward off the germs as well as the antibiotics that we do not like to take.
Epsom salt for eczema is a great addition to your bedtime routine, as it helps get rid of the toxins so that your body can continue its healing and repairing jobs as you get some restful and itch-free sleep. Magnesium and sulphur are easily absorbed through your skin in the bath, so you get to reap the many important benefits of these essential minerals.