An Epsom salt detox is a warm bath with Epsom salt. Possible benefits include improving the body’s natural detoxification process, reducing stress, and promoting health and healing.

There is limited evidence to suggest that taking Epsom salt orally has any health benefits. Consuming Epsom salt can be dangerous for some people. However, Epsom salt baths are generally safe.

Read on to learn more about the possible health benefits of Epsom salt baths, how to use a detox bath, and more.

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Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate.

Magnesium is a natural substance that aids a variety of bodily functions. Sulfate can strengthen the walls of the digestive tract and make releasing toxins easier.

Some research suggests that bathing in an Epsom salt bath can increase magnesium and sulfate levels in the body. A 2016 study found that it was possible for topical magnesium to penetrate the outer layer of the skin.

More research into the possible health benefits of Epsom salt baths is necessary.

Soothe the skin

Some people use Epsom salt bath water to soften rough, dry skin, and exfoliate dead skin cells. It may also soothe skin affected by skin conditions.

However, as a 2021 study notes, research into Epsom salt baths for skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis is lacking.

It is best to contact a doctor before soaking in Epsom salt if a person has a skin condition, as it may make the symptoms worse.

Reduce soreness and pain

An Epsom salt bath may provide pain relief and reduce swelling in people living with certain types of inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, and psoriatic arthritis.

Magnesium may help ease pain in people with arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

As low levels of magnesium may cause chronic low-grade inflammation, increasing magnesium levels in the body may help manage inflammation associated with arthritis.

Reduce stress

Healthy magnesium levels can boost brain neurotransmitters that are responsible for inducing sleep and reducing stress. Magnesium may also promote melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.

An Epsom salt bath may help a person to manage stress. Some 2016 research has found that taking magnesium daily improved the mental health of the study’s participants. However, it is important to note that the study looked at oral supplements.

Research into the benefits of Epsom salt baths for mental health is necessary to better understand whether they can help improve mental well-being.

In general, taking a warm bath may help a person relax by allowing them to release muscle tension.

Promote foot health

Some people use Epsom salt to help treat conditions affecting the feet. A person can bathe in a tub with Epsom salt water or soak feet in warm water and Epsom salt to help feet heal faster and relieve itching.

According to the Epsom Salt Council, an Epsom salt foot bath can help:

Soaking feet in Epsom salt may also help reduce foot odor. However, more research into this and other possible foot health benefits is necessary.

Learn about Epsom salt foot soaks.

It is best to only purchase Epsom salt that has USP on the label, which means it has been tested for human use, according to standards set by the Food and Drug Association (FDA).

To take an Epsom salt bath, add 2 cups of Epsom salt when running a bath in a standard-size bathtub. The salt will quickly dissolve if put under running water.

The water should be warm but not too hot. Ideal temperatures are between 92ºF and 100ºF (33ºC and 37ºC).

A person can then soak in the bath for up to 20 minutes, or longer if they desire. They should avoid using soap.

A person should dissolve Epsom salt with plenty of water if they are going to consume them orally. Adding lemon can improve the taste.

The main benefit of drinking Epsom salt is as a laxative to treat constipation.

While oral consumption of Epsom salt is generally safe in very small doses, there is no credible evidence that consuming it has any detoxifying effects.

Anyone considering drinking Epsom salt should consult a doctor first. They may interact with some medications, and they may be dangerous in some cases.

Learn more about using Epsom salt for constipation relief.

Epsom salt baths are generally safe, though people with sensitive skin may find they irritate their skin.

Side effects of taking Epsom salt orally are usually minimal, such as facial flushing. However, some people may experience more serious side effects.

Ingesting large quantities of Epsom salt may result in Epsom salt poisoning. A 2020 report noted a case of hypermagnesemia, or high levels of magnesium in the blood, due to taking Epsom salt orally. Dialysis was necessary to reduce magnesium levels.

A person’s doctor can advise on whether they recommend Epsom salt, and how much a person should take.

It is important to report any side effects to a doctor, or seek immediate medical help if serious side effects or symptoms of an allergic reaction develop.

Learn about whether Epsom salt baths are safe during pregnancy.

Anaphylaxis: Symptoms and what to do

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be life threatening. The symptoms develop suddenly and include:

  • hives
  • swelling of the face or mouth
  • wheezing
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • a fast heart rate
  • clammy skin
  • anxiety or confusion
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • blue or white lips
  • fainting or loss of consciousness

If someone has these symptoms:

  1. Check whether they are carrying an epinephrine pen. If they are, follow the instructions on the side of the pen to use it.
  2. Dial 911 or the number of the nearest emergency department.
  3. Lay the person down from a standing position. If they have vomited, turn them onto their side.
  4. Stay with them until the emergency services arrive.

Some people may need more than one epinephrine injection. If the symptoms do not improve in 5–15 minutes, or they come back, use a second pen if the person has one.

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Here are some frequently asked questions about Epsom salt.

Can Epsom salt detox your body?

There is insufficient evidence to suggest that Epsom salt can detox the body. However, some people take an Epsom salt bath as they believe it can offer health benefits such as managing pain and reducing stress. Taking Epsom salt orally may help constipation, as it can have a laxative effect.

Does Epsom salt clean your stomach?

Epsom salt does not clean the stomach. Some people drink Epsom salt to treat constipation. More research is necessary into the potential benefits of taking Epsom salt orally.

What does soaking in Epsom salt do for the body?

Although there is minimal research into the health benefits of soaking in Epsom salt, some people believe that Epsom salt baths can soothe the skin, reduce stress and pain, and promote foot health.

Does Epsom salt kill bacteria?

According to the Epsom Salt Council, the sulfur from Epsom salt may help to kill bacteria. However, it is important to contact a doctor if a person suspects a bacterial infection, as medical treatments may be necessary.

Can drinking Epsom salt help to lose weight?

There is no evidence to suggest that Epsom salt can help a person lose weight.

What toxins does Epsom salt remove?

There is currently no evidence that bathing in Epsom salt or taking it orally can remove toxins from the body.

More research is necessary to prove the benefits and detoxifying effects of Epsom salt baths. However, people who use Epsom salt baths for detoxification report that they may be beneficial for relaxation, pain relief, and softening the skin.

Warm baths can help to reduce stress and promote better sleep. Adding Epsom salt can be a part of a healthy relaxation routine.