Some folks swear Epsom salt (aka magnesium sulfate) can send acne packing. But TBH, not all dermatologists would agree.

Epsom salt is typically used to relax sore muscles, promote sleep, and relieve stiff joints, but is it worth applying to blemishes?

Here’s what the science actually says about using Epsom salt for acne (plus other natural ways to treat acne).

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Legend says “yes,” but science says “ehh.” There’s just not enough research to prove Epsom salt is 2 legit 2 make your acne quit.

Here’s what we DO know

  • Mineral magic. Your body needs magnesium for lots of vital functions (like bone health and nerve function). Research suggests magnesium can also help reduce inflammation. So there’s a chance Epsom salt could reduce the effects of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
  • Sulfur it up. Epsom salt that contains sulfur might be your best bet. Sulfur can be used as an acne treatment, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Exfoliation station. Epsom salt can help slough off dead skin cells and unclog pores. Just remember to scrub lightly. If you give your loofah too much lovin’, it can irritate your skin and make acne worse.

Here’s what needs more research

  • Does it ACTUALLY work? While there’s some anecdotal evidence that suggests Epsom salt can ease acne, there’s def not enough proof in the pimple pudding.
  • How much magnesium does your skin soak up? Some small studies suggest magnesium can be absorbed through your skin. But more research is needed to prove this (especially when compared to the amounts you can get from food or supplements).

The two main types of acne are noninflammatory and inflammatory. Both are caused by clogged pores.

You can usually treat noninflammatory acne (e.g., blackheads or whiteheads) at home. But next-level zits — like cysts, nodules, papules, or pustules — may need medical attention.

Still wanna give Epsom salt a shot? Here’s how you can turn yourself into Epsom Salt Bae.

Epsom salt soak

Have an at-home spa day with a bomb Epsom salt facial.

  1. Dissolve 2 to 3 teaspoons Epsom salt in 2 cups warm water.
  2. Soak a clean washcloth in the solution.
  3. Wring out the cloth a bit, so it’s damp but not dripping.
  4. Place the washcloth over your face until it cools.
  5. Rinse your face with warm water.

Pro tip: Avoid your eyes to ensure a sting-free treatment 👀.

Epsom salt spot treatment

Try this spot-on solution for those pesky pop-up pimples.

  1. Dissolve 2 to 3 teaspoons Epsom salt in 2 cups warm water.
  2. Dampen a clean washcloth or cotton ball in the solution.
  3. Pat it on the zit zone.
  4. Let sit for 30 seconds.
  5. Rinse well with warm water.

Epsom salt scrub

Exfoliating is a fab part of any healthy skin care routine.

  1. Combine 1 teaspoon Epsom salt with 1 tablespoon oil (olive and coconut oils are top-notch choices).
  2. Mix until a paste forms.
  3. Work the paste into your skin in light circular motions.
  4. Let sit for several minutes.
  5. Rinse well with warm water.

Pro tip: Don’t use exfoliating products on open sores or wounds. Also, exfoliating more than 3 times a week can lead to irritation.

Everything but the kitchen sink face masks

Lots of face masks that claim to be ~natural~ contain added chemicals. But these acne-fighting face masks are as pure as it gets.

Avocado salt mash

This soothing mask is great for cleansing and moisturizing.

  1. Mash a ripe avocado until smooth.
  2. Stir in the Epsom salt to form a thick paste.
  3. Spread a thin layer on your face.
  4. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse well with warm water.

Go bananas, honey!

This antimicrobial mask can give you a killer natural glow ✨.

  1. Mash a ripe banana.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon Epsom salt and 1 teaspoon honey.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Spread the mixture on your face.
  5. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Rinse well with warm water.

Golden berry bump blaster

This mask has amazing antioxidant potential.

  1. Mash 1/2 cup strawberries.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons Epsom salt and 1 teaspoon turmeric.
  3. Mix until a paste forms.
  4. Spread a thin layer on your face.
  5. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Rinse well with warm water.

Pro tip: Add a little water if the paste is too thick.

Soak that bacne away

Bacne is NOTHING to be ashamed of. But we know it can be annoying AF. This bath soak might help.

  1. Pour 1 cup Epsom salt into a warm bath.
  2. Soak it up for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Rinse it off with mild soap and warm water.

Pro tip: Add a few drops of your fave essential oil for a soothing spa vibe.

Acne is bad enough. But when it leaves scars, it just feels cruel. Alas, there’s no science to back claims that Epsom salt can help with acne scars.

The good news? A dermatologist can offer lots of bomb treatments to reduce the appearance of acne scars, including:

Here are some tips to prevent future acne scars:

Epsom salt is generally safe to use topically. But there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Rinse it off after each soak to prevent dry skin.
  • Don’t apply it to open cuts or rashes, or else you’ll be feelin’ the burn.
  • Don’t drink it! It can cause a major case of the trots, thanks to its laxative powers 💩.
  • Epsom salt and diabetes are NOT a good mix. Foot issues like sores or open wounds can be a symptom of diabetes. Epsom salt might make things worse.

If you’re down with a natural approach to skin care, here are some ingredients to add to your beauty bag:

  • Tea tree oil. It has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects that can help zap zits.
  • Activated charcoal. From whiter teeth to clearer skin, activated charcoal is all the rage. It has antibacterial and porous properties that might help draw out trapped bacteria from your pores.
  • Aloe vera. Super soothing and antimicrobial, aloe vera gel is fab for all skin types. Bonus: It’s terrific on sunburn!

Epsom salt can be cheap, safe, and hella relaxing. But there’s little proof that it can help reduce acne on its own. Still, it might be worth a shot! If it doesn’t work, contact a dermatologist. They can help you come up with a great treatment regimen.