If you’re trying to get down to a healthier weight, you’re probably slammed with weight loss product marketing. Hello, detox teas! And waist trainers! Fad diets galore.

But what about natural slimming solutions like Epsom salt baths?

Epsom salt baths: So #wholesome, so chill… but when it comes to weight loss claims, they’re not backed by science.

Die-hards believe that when you take a dip in Epsom salt-filled waters, your skin absorbs the salt’s active ingredients: magnesium and sulfate. Since magnesium has been shown to regulate blood sugar, some folks believe that Epsom salt baths will help you drop excess pounds.

Here’s the rub: Most studies show no proof that magnesium can even be absorbed through your skin.

Only one tiny study of 25 people showed that peeps who used magnesium-infused cream on their skin ended up with more magnesium in their pee than the peeps who used a different cream.

But even if the baths don’t do a thing for the number on the scale, Epsom salt has other benefits.

First things first: Epsom salt isn’t salt in the traditional sense. The white stuff you sprinkle on your baked potato? That’s sodium. Epsom salt = magnesium + sulfate.

Magnesium merits

Since magnesium is an essential micronutrient, some people try to absorb their daily dose through bath salts.

Soaking in some magnesium during your bath would support your healthy lifestyle and weight loss efforts in a few ways. Such as:

Magnesium is super important for a healthy, functioning body. This little mineral supports several body functions.

  • circulatory system
  • nervous system
  • energy production

Sulfate strengths

Of course, Epsom salt is also packed with sulfates, which have a hefty list of benefits:

  • joint health
  • pancreas detoxification
  • digestive function
  • muscle protein boosts
  • brain tissue support

Any other bath benefits?

Absolutely. Folks say Epsom salt baths offer a ton of self-care perks.

  • better sleep
  • improved circulation
  • relief for sore muscles
  • soft, soothed skin
  • blissed-out bath feels

So, sliding into a sudsy Epsom salt bath might not melt away belly fat, but it *is* pretty great for your overall health. Whether or not you’re actually absorbing magnesium and sulfates, relaxing tub time is always a good idea.

Here’s how to take an Epsom salt bath

Before you turn on the water, buy some Epsom salt with a USP (United States Pharmacopeia) label. Also check for a drug facts box — that’s your clue that the salt has been safety-approved for humans.

  1. Fill your tub with warm water. The sweet spot’s anywhere from 92°F to 100°F (33°F to 38°F).
  2. Swirl in about 2 cups of Epsom salt. If you wanna get fancy, add just a few drops of quality essential oil too.
  3. Relax! Aim to luxuriate for at least 12 minutes. Some doctors recommend 40 minutes, but find what feels good to you.
  4. Sip water while you soak. Warm baths can be surprisingly dehydrating. Try to down a glass of H2O after toweling off too.
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Ever heard a wellness guru talk up Epsom salt detoxes and wondered WTF they mean? Yeah, us too.

Turns out that Epsom salt detox is the same thing as an Epsom salt bath. The only difference is that when you’re doin’ the detox, you time your bath according to your desired health benefits.

A handy chart for visual learners:

I want… Soaking timeWhat does Epsom salt do?
glowing skin20 minutessoothes redness, softens skin, and fortified your skin barrier to lock in hydration
to heal an ingrown toenail12 minutes eases pain and inflammation
less muscle pain12 minutescalms muscle aches and inflammation, eases tension… and some folks claim that magnesium relieves muscle cramps
pure relaxation60 minutesmagnesium deficiency = stress and anxiety, so get your mag fill with a bath!
to poop20 minutes + popping a 10–30 gram magnesium supplement (5 to 10 grams for kiddos!) sweet relief in 30 minutes to 6 hours… 💩
magnesium balance12–20 minutesno harm in soaking, especially if you have fibromyalgia or another magnesium-depleting condition
no more splintersinstead of soaking the area, apply a paste of Epsom salt and watergently draws out tiny slivers

To ease pain or inflammation in targeted areas, you could make an Epsom salt paste instead of taking an Epsom salt bath. Just mix equal parts salt and water, spread on the sore spot, and relax.

You can take an Epsom salt bath on the reg, but not as frequently as every day.

Your body is pretty good at self-regulating nutrient and mineral levels. Magnesium and sulfates *are* good for you, but too much of a good thing isn’t better. So think of your Epsom salt baths as a treat rather than a daily routine.

Avoid Epsom salt baths if you have diabetes or kidney disease. Maybe try a skin-softening oatmeal bath instead! Your doctor can make the final call on whether Epsom salt baths are safe for you and your lifestyle.

Remember, your body only needs a certain amount of magnesium and sulfates. It’s *super* rare to OD on magnesium, especially from an Epsom salt bath.

The signs of a magnesium overdose:

  • sleepiness
  • thirst
  • general weakness
  • slow or shallow breathing
  • an irregular heartbeat
  • low blood pressure

In severe cases, magnesium overload can lead to a coma or death.

Your kidneys are responsible for processing magnesium, so don’t take an Epsom salt bath (or a magnesium supplement!) if you have kidney probs.

Beware that soaking in a tub could also exacerbate diabetes-related foot problems.

  • There’s no scientific evidence that Epsom salt baths will help you lose weight.
  • Epsom salt baths *do* have a ton of other health benefits, like relieving tension and pain.
  • Unless you have diabetes or kidney issues, taking an Epsom salt bath is pretty low risk, so turn on the tap and enjoy!