The Beauty of Bath Salts
Is there anyone who doesn’t like a chance to soak in the tub?
Maybe it doesn’t happen too often, but that just means it should be more special. Even my son loves a soak after hockey – the warmth and the salts are great for healing muscles and general relaxing. But is there scientific evidence supporting the use of bath salts?
Bath salts are said to be good for all kinds of things, from treating psoriasis to muscle soreness to arthritis. There’s evidence for positive effects on the skin, such as cleansing, improving hydration, and decreasing redness (it seems most of the studies are done with Dead Sea salt). There are claims of the minerals in a sea salt bath being absorbed into the body, and though the amount may be small, it does seem that some absorption does occur (particularly magnesium). So, let’s just say that bath salts are good for the skin and may treat a variety of skin conditions, as well as helping conditions like sore muscles. I personally feel that a sea salt bath improves muscle soreness over a warm bath without salts. It definitely makes my skin softer, and helps heal inflamed spots, like a rash or pimple.
Bath salts are one of those things that I feel I can make so easily myself it’s rarely worth spending money on a brand. I’m not dissing the brands out there – and I’ve been known to keep some brands around or gift them – but especially if you use them often you may want to make your own. The other reason I like to make bath salts myself is that I don’t like a lot of oil mixed in with the salts. This is purely laziness, as I don’t like to have to scrub the tub out very often.
1. Choose your salts. There are so many to choose from, and you can use a single one or mix them. A mix is often pretty in a glass container, so nice for a gift or to pretty up your bathroom. My preference, based largely on simplicity and the nice grain size (I use it as a scrub, too), is plain Dead Sea Salt that I buy in bulk. Mountain Rose Herbs and SaltWorks carry a variety of salts, and have information about each.
2. Add essential oils, if you like. There are oils for energizing, relaxing, detoxing, etc. My favorite sources for info are Mountain Rose Herbs (you can buy the oils there too) and Hope Gillerman’s Essential Oils Deck. Add a few to several drops of a single EO or blend per cup of salts, depending on how strong you want the scent. Lately I’ve been leaving the salt plain, and adding my EO of choice directly to the bath after the salt goes in. That way I’m not committing to any particular scent in a big batch of salts. But premixing is a good way to go, too. My current favorite EO detox blend is a little different each time I make it, but let’s just say this: 5 drops sandalwood, 5 drops helichrysum, 15 drops grapefruit, 15 drops fennel, and 3 drops spearmint. This will last through several baths.
3. Add an oil, if you like. Jojoba, sunflower, or sweet almond are popular. But you can really use pretty much anything that doesn’t compete with your scent oils. You can decide your proportion of oil, probably 10-20% of the salt volume. Just remember the oils make it tougher to clean your tub!
4. Add any extras. Maybe crushed seaweed, or dried flowers or herbs. There may or may not be therapeutic benefits here, but it will make a pretty and nice smelling mix.
Often ½ cup to 1 cup of your mix per bath of comfortably warm water is recommended, but you can play with that as desired. Sometimes I put in lots of salt. Sometimes I sit in the tub, stick my legs out of the water, and use the salt as a scrub. Then when I get back under the water it mixes in so all my skin can benefit. I especially like to sink down so the salt water gets on my underarms. This feels very cleansing, and if I have any irritation there the salts help. If the water is too hot or you are recently shaved, the salt might sting a bit, especially at first, so be careful.
Do you use bath salts?