Acne, a skin condition known to and loathed by more than 80% of the world population, can be a real pain in many cases. With different people having different skin types, genetics, individual chemistry and living under variable environmental conditions, finding the one product that works is a tiresome and difficult process.
This is why we have set out to find every possible answer to acne breakouts and deliver it to you via our detailed guides. All you have to do, is keep looking until eventually stumbling upon the perfect acne cure for your case. Today, we take a closer look at Epsom salt and its acne-combating properties.
What is Epsom Salt and What Does it Do?
Epsom salt, a natural mineral compound also known as magnesium sulfate has been discovered in the Shakespeare’s era in Epsom, a market town in England about 20-25 miles drive from London. The term salt is referred to the compound’s unique chemical structure, and shouldn’t be confused with the crystalline structures of table salt of sea salt, even though they have some similarities (more on those later).
The main component of Epsom salt is magnesium, which wields a number of substantial benefits for the skin according to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s research. It is also very widespread – you can easily buy it in just about any grocery or drugstore – and affordable. For acne treatment, the general idea is to mix Epsom salt with various ingredients and products commonly used in skincare (including simple stuff like water and more advanced methods like olive oil, lemons, oatmeal, etc.) to achieve satisfactory results.
The main ingredient, magnesium, is involved in over 300 reactions in the body, activates enzymes – biological catalysts that accelerate various chemical reactions inside the body – and regulates the level of many essential elements that are important in skincare including zinc, potassium and Vitamin D levels. In terms of skin health and acne treatment specifically, magnesium and Epsom salt carry the following benefits:
- Reduced Inflammation – anti-inflammatory properties of magnesium help reduce the size and reddish color of acne, making them less pronounced and eye-catchy.
- Banishing Toxins – The above mentioned chemical reactions inside the body that can be accelerated by enzymes help get rid of toxins, promote skin cell regeneration, ultimately giving your skin a healthier look.
- Removing Dead Skin Cells – Similar to sea salt, Epsom salt also carries the ability to remove dead skin cells from the body acting as an exfoliative agent. Dead skin cells are a beloved spot for acne-causing bacteria and if left untouched, they can increase the amount of breakouts by a ton.
- Eliminating Bacteria – Just like all other salts, Epsom salt has the property to leach moisture from bacteria, ultimately killing them in the process.
- Removing Excess Skin Oil – Similarly, since salts have the ability to control moisture, they can help remove excess skin oil, which again, is beneficial for overall skin health and reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria.
- Improved Magnesium Intake – Due to magnesium being an essential element that controls many other elements that are vital for good quality skin, improving the magnesium intake helps deal with the, nowadays very common, magnesium deficit inside the body, helping the skin combat blemishes and improving its overall appearance.
How to Use Epsom Salt for Acne
Epsom Salt Bath
Probably the easiest way to use Epsom salt is to simply mix it with water and take a nice bath. This is the best way to combat back and chest acne since it’s so hard to reach otherwise. Here is what you need to do:
- Add 2 cups of Epsom salt into a bathtub filled with warm water.
- Wait until the salt is fully dissolved and then soak in for at least 15-20 minutes.
- Take a shower to rinse off the remaining salt of the skin.
- Repeat 3 times per week to effectively treat cystic acne on the back and chest.
- You can also add ½ tablespoon of sea salt and ½ tablespoon of olive, jojoba or coconut oil to enhance exfoliation.
Epsom salt may leave the skin very dry after soaking, which can promote excessive oil generation. Using an oil-free moisturizer after each procedure can be very handy in those cases. Drinking plenty of water afterwards will also help combat excess dryness and skin dehydration due to the salt soaking up a ton of moisture.
Epsom Salt Face Masks
Epsom salt face masks can be made with the help of various ingredients depending on what you have at home, your skin type, and the type of acne you need to treat.
1. Epsom Salt Face Mask with Water
- Add 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt to a cup of water (250ml).
- Mix until everything is dissolved properly.
- Apply the mixture to the whole face with the help of a cotton ball with gentle, circular, massaging motions. Leave it on for around 5 minutes.
- Rinse your face with warm water followed by cold water and pat dry.
- Repeat daily.
- If your skin gets dry, use an oil-free moisturizer afterwards.
2. Epsom Salt Face Mask with Honey, Olive Oil and Lemon
The antibacterial properties of the lemon combined with honey’s ability to lock moisture inside the skin (preventing excessive dryness and dehydration) is very effective for dry skin types.
- Add 1 tablespoon each of Epsom salt, honey and olive oil to a bowl and mix it all together.
- Add 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Gently apply and massage the mixture over the face.
- Leave it on for 15 minutes.
- Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
- Use an oil-free moisturizer as needed.
- Repeat daily.
3. Epsom Salt Face Mask with Eggs and Milk
This face mask is especially effective for oily skin types since eggs absorb excess oil, while the milk moisturizes and cleanses skin pores.
- Add ½ tablespoon of Epsom salt, 1 raw egg, juice from 1 freshly squeezed lemon and 50-75ml non-fat milk to a bowl. Mix everything well.
- Wash your face with water and apply the mixture using gentle, massaging, circular motions while the face is still wet.
- Leave it on to dry completely and rinse with cool water.
- Repeat daily.
4. Epsom Salt Face Mask with Olive Oil
- Olive oil is very effective at restoring the skin, while reducing redness and irritation.
- Add 1-4 tablespoons of Epsom salt and extra virgin olive oil (make sure they are equal amounts) to a bowl and mix well.
- Apply the mixture to the face using gentle, circular motions and massage it for a few minutes.
- Leave it on for around 5 minutes and rinse with warm water. Pat dry.
- Repeat daily.
5. Epsom Salt Face Mask with Oatmeal
This face mask is very good for oily skin types since oatmeal absorbs the oil from skin pores and the essential vitamins help the skin cells regenerate faster.
- Add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt and 1 cup of organic oat meals to 1 cup of water (250ml). Mix everything well.
- Rinse your face with water and apply the mixture while the face is still wet. Massage gently for a few minutes via circular motions.
- Leave it on for 5 minutes, rinse with warm water and pat dry.
- Repeat 3 times per week.
6. Epsom Salt Face Mask with Milk and Lime
This mask is great for exfoliating deep acne.
- Add ½ tablespoon of Epsom salt, 1 tablespoon of powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lime juice and 1 tablespoon of cognac to a bowl. Mix everything well.
- Apply the mask to the face and leave it to dry.
- Rinse with cold water and pat dry.
- Apply an oil-free moisturizer as needed.
- Repeat daily.
7. Epsom Salt Face Mask with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil helps protect the skin from acne-causing bacteria and ease breakouts.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil into a bowl over a low heat.
- While the heat is still running, add 3 tablespoons of Epsom salt and mix well.
- Once everything is dissolved properly, remove the heat and allow the mixture to cool normally.
- Apply the mask to the face and massage gently via circular motions for 5 minutes.
- Rinse with warm water, then cold water and pat dry.
- Apply an oil-free moisturizer as needed.
- Repeat 3 times a week.
Precautions and Possible Side Effects
While Epsom salt is a natural compound, it’s still a form of salt, which can cause various unwanted reactions if you’re not careful. Here is what you need to know:
- If you’re pregnant, absolutely consult a doctor before doing anything with Epsom salt.
- Never apply Epsom salt to wounds and/or affected areas directly. The abrasive nature of it will aggravate your acne and make it look worse.
- Be extra careful with the eye area when applying face masks. If you get salt in your eyes, immediately start them with cold water for 5 minutes to remove the itching and burning.
- Avoid using Epsom salt exfoliative masks more than 3 times per week (2 if your skin is very dry) since it will cause irritation.
- Store Epsom salt in an airtight container to prevent it from soaking water from the atmosphere and becoming dump.
- If you’re just starting with Epsom salt, make sure to test a tiny amount first to avoid possible allergic reactions.
- Never take Epsom salt orally. It’s only suited for topical use and swallowing large amounts can lead to stomach problems.
- If you’re taking any kind of medication regularly, consult a professional to make sure that there won’t negative effects.
Where to Buy Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is extremely easy to purchase since it’s so widespread. You can buy get it in virtually any grocery store or pharmacy, usually in the medical products department. You can also buy Epsom salt online via Amazon, or any other e-commerce store. Make sure to check the user ratings and reviews of the specific brand before buying.
Epsom salt is a great, affordable and all natural way to deal with mild to moderate acne breakouts on virtually any part of your body. While it might not be as strong on its own, when combined with various other ingredients, the combined properties can accelerate and boost exfoliation, bacteria elimination and skin recovery substantially.
Moreover, the product doesn’t carry any side effects if you’re careful when using it, making it at the very least, definitely worth a try if you’re dealing with systematic acne breakouts.
Have you tried Epsom salt face masks or baths before? What types of acne were you trying to treat? How did it go? How long did it take you to notice positive results? Share your experiences with all of us in the comments!