A salt detox isn’t the same as pouring table salt into your bathtub. Salt detox baths are usually made of Epsom salt, which allows for minerals to “draw out” toxins from the body. Supporters may claim that soaking in an Epsom salt bath can remove harmful toxins and balance the body. They may also say that it helps with:

  • weight management
  • gaining relief from sore muscles
  • increased health
  • relaxation

Epsom salt looks similar to table salt, but it’s a completely different compound. Epsom salt is made of both magnesium and sulfate, whereas table salt is sodium. Because Epsom salts contain magnesium and sulfate, they are great for detoxing – the magnesium sulfate helps to bind toxins on the skin to eliminate.

Epsom salt has reportedly been used for over 400 years, ever since an English farmer discovered that the “bitter water” in his wells had remarkable healing properties on skin rashes and injuries. Read on to learn about the benefits of Epsom salt and how to use it in a bath.

What are the benefits of an Epsom salt detox?

Magnesium absorption is the biggest benefit of an Epsom salt bath. There need to be more studies to confirm that your body can absorb magnesium across the skin. One 2004 study looked at 19 participants and found increased levels of magnesium and sulfate in the blood after the baths.

Benefits Method How it works
softer skin 20-minute bath soak may soften skin, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the skin barrier to keep skin hydrated
muscle soreness and pain 12-minute bath soak reduce inflammation, muscle aches, and tension; there’s moderate evidence that magnesium can reduce muscle cramps
relaxation and anti-stress 1-hour bath soak can help relieve stress (magnesium deficiency may induce anxiety, depression, and stress)
laxative 20-minute soak or oral ingestion: 10 to 30 grams for adults; 5 to 10 grams for children 6 years old and above
(talk to your doctor if you have an infant under 6 years)
leads to bowel movement 30 minutes to 6 hours after dose
ingrown toenails 12-minute foot soak reduces inflammation and pain
splinters Epsom salt paste can help draw out tiny splinters
magnesium balance 12 to 20-minute soak might restore magnesium (this may benefit people who are at risk for low levels, including those with fibromyalgia)

Some of these benefits may also be due to the temperature and self-care nature of a bath. Heat helps with relaxation, soreness, and aches. After an Epsom salt bath, it is important to scrub with soap and water in the shower to wash any toxins that have been bound on the skin.