Epsom salts consist of magnesium sulfate. People can buy Epsom salts at the pharmacy in a dry powder or pellets. The salts dissolve in water, and people use this solution in many ways, including as a treatment for acne.
Researchers have not studied the uses of Epsom salts for acne in clinical trials, so the evidence is primarily anecdotal.
Keep reading to learn more about how Epsom salts could help with acne, the risks of using Epsom salts on the skin, and some alternative ways to treat acne.
Although some people use Epsom salts to help with acne, researchers have not studied its effects in clinical trials. Most of the information about its use comes from people who have used it.
Doctors do not recommend using Epsom salts for acne.
Applying Epsom salts to the skin may not cause harm, but they are unlikely to offer any benefits, either.
Some people who use Epsom salt washes on their face may notice an improvement in acne, but some experts believe that this occurs because of the frequency that people wash their face rather than from the Epsom salts.
Since clinical trials exploring the effect of Epsom salts on acne do not exist, researchers will need to conduct studies to test these anecdotal claims.
Please note, as there is no scientific or clinical evidence in favor of using Epsom salts for acne, Medical News Today do not recommend it.
However, if people wish to try, the following guidelines may help.
Epsom Salt baths
Epsom salts dissolve quickly in water. Try adding Epsom salts to baths. Epsom salt baths may be useful for treating acne on the body, such as the neck, chest, and back.
Some people make a facial mask by mixing Epsom salts with kitchen staples, such as raw honey. However, people must be careful about what products they use, as some, such as avocado and coconut oil, can block pores.
Epsom salt solutions
Recipes for Epsom salt solutions differ because of the amount of water and salt they contain. These variations affect the concentration of the solution and make it difficult to compare treatments.
Some people use Epsom salt solutions as a treatment to treat an individual or a small group of acne lesions. To treat a small area, dip a towel or facecloth in a solution of water and Epsom salts and apply gently to the acne lesion.
A full-face soak involves applying a washcloth soaked in water and Epsom salts to the whole face instead of just the acne lesions.
Epsom salts scrubs
Some people use Epsom salts as a scrub. Combining Epsom salts with oil or a small amount of water can create a paste that a person can use on their face as an exfoliant.
Manufacturers of products containing Epsom salts or magnesium sulfate do not market them for treating acne scars.
Acne scars are difficult to treat. Treatment typically requires a consultation with a dermatologist who will examine the scars and create an appropriate treatment plan.
Despite some anecdotal evidence suggesting that exfoliating the skin with an Epsom salt scrub can reduce the appearance of acne scars, dermatologists do not recommend this or any other harsh skin care practices.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommend the following tips for people treating acne scars at home:
- treat acne when it appears to avoid scar formation
- continue treatment when the acne clears and only stop on the advice of the dermatologist
- avoid picking, squeezing, and popping pimples
- practice gentle skin care
- avoid scrubbing, which can worsen acne scars
Some dermatologists may recommend microdermabrasion, which is a type of exfoliation, as a treatment for acne scars. It is essential to note that Epsom salt scrubs are not a substitute for microdermabrasion.
When applying a facial mask, people should avoid comedogenic products, such as avocado or coconut oil, that may clog pores. Blocking the pores in the skin can cause or worsen acne.
Dermatologists recommend using cleansers that are mild and non-comedogenic.
However, even non-comedogenic products can cause acne, so it is important to rinse the skin thoroughly after using any product.
Like any other topical product, a person can develop an allergic reaction. An allergy to Epsom salts may present as hives or a rash on the affected area. Anyone experiencing the following allergic symptoms may have anaphylaxis and requires emergency medical attention:
- difficulty breathing
- swollen lips
- feeling fullness or a lump in the throat
Some people might react to some other ingredients used in Epsom salt preparations, such as coconut oil or avocado. When using Epsom salts or preparing home remedies with other household items, always apply a small amount at first to check for any reactions.
As people often apply these products to their face, they must try to avoid getting the Epsom salt preparation in their eyes. If redness and soreness develop, doctors recommend rinsing the eye with water.
Since researchers have not studied the effects of Epsom salts on acne, people should use products designed and approved to treat outbreaks. The most common treatments for acne include topical creams.
Sometimes these creams contain antibiotics or benzoyl peroxide, which has antibacterial properties.
Healthcare professionals recommend comedolytic agents, such as retinoids, to treat acne. These topical medications do not block the pores and may stop the formation of acne lesions.
Doctors typically prescribe retinoic acid as a gel or cream in dosages of 0.025%, 0.05%, or 0.1%, depending on the severity of the acne lesions. Other retinoids include adapalene and tretinoin.
Other topical antibiotic treatments for acne include 1–2% clindamycin, and 1% nadifloxacin and azithromycin. These topical medications are available as a gel or lotion.
Azelaic acid, which is available as a 15% or 20% gel, acts as an antimicrobial and comedolytic agent.
Some people use salicylic acid topical gel or higher strength chemical peels. Dapsone is available in a topical gel but may not be suitable for everyone.
Depending on the severity of the acne lesions, some doctors may recommend using topical and oral medication together. Oral antibiotics to treat acne include:
For severe acne, doctors may prescribe isotretinoin (Accutane).
Other oral treatments for acne include birth control pills that contain low doses of estrogen for females.
People who develop scars from acne lesions may benefit from:
Several effective treatments for acne are available. Anyone searching for effective acne treatments should consult with a doctor who can help them find the most suitable product. People should also avoid using home remedies with little to no clinical evidence for their safety and efficacy.
Doctors do not recommend using Epsom salts for acne treatments. Researchers have not studied the effects of Epsom salts on acne, so doctors cannot be sure that the product is safe.
If someone develops acne and is seeking treatment, they should speak with a pharmacist or doctor. A pharmacist can direct a person to an appropriate over-the-counter topical treatment, and a doctor can determine the best prescription treatment for more severe situations.