Using Epsom Salts For Acne: Read Before You Try

People can buy Epsom salts in dry powder or pellet you can get at the pharmacy. People use the solution made when the salts are mixed with water in many ways, including using epsom salts for acne.

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epsom salt for acne treatment
In theory, Epsom salt could help with acne because the magnesium sulfate in it can help reduce swelling and redness.

What’s Epsom Salt?

Epsom salt is just the mineral magnesium sulfate in the form of crystals. Since the 17th century, when it was first discovered, it has been used for health and wellness. Chimento says that Epsom salts have been used for a long time in traditional Chinese medicine.

They are well-known for their ability to soothe sore muscles and even skin that is red and inflamed. (Give magnesium sulfate credit for both reducing inflammation and getting rid of toxins.) Those benefits are real, as anyone who has taken an Epsom salt bath after a hard workout can tell you. Still, they don’t always mean the same thing when it comes to using epsom salts for acne.

What Epsom Salt Can Do for Acne

In theory, using epsom salts for acne is a good thing because the magnesium sulfate in it can help relieve swelling and inflammation and help the body get rid of toxins. “Salt can also get rid of extra oil,” explains Henry. “Some people will see their spots get better when they use Epsom salt on them.”

What’s the big catch? She also says that this is pretty much all personal experience-based evidence. Gabriel points out that there is no scientific evidence to show that the magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt helps prevent or treat acne.

In addition to their supposed anti-inflammatory effects, Epsom salts are often marketed as a good physical exfoliant that helps get rid of dead skin cells and fight blackheads, whiteheads, and dullness, says Chimento.

That’s true, but she warns that because they can be quite big, it’s easy to use too much and irritate your skin, especially if it’s already sensitive. Gabriel agrees and says that using Epsom salts to exfoliate can often leave skin raw and red. (And remember that you can’t scrub away acne, even though exfoliating is an important part of any skin care routine and is needed to keep skin clear.)

Can Epsom salt help acne scars too?

Products with Epsom salts or magnesium sulfate in them are not advertised as ways to get rid of acne scars.

Acne scars are difficult to treat. Treatment usually starts with a visit to a dermatologist, who will look at the scars and make a plan for how to treat them.

Even though some anecdotal evidence suggests that using an Epsom salt scrub to exfoliate the skin can make acne scars less noticeable, dermatologists do not recommend this or any other harsh skin care practices.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says that people who want to treat acne scars at home should do the following:

  • Scars won’t form if acne is treated as soon as it shows up. 
  • Continue treatment until the acne is gone or until your dermatologist tells you to stop. Don’t pick, squeeze, or pop pimples. 
  • practice gentle skin care. 
  • Scrubbing can make acne scars look worse.

Some dermatologists may suggest microdermabrasion as a way to treat acne scars, which is a type of exfoliation. It’s important to keep in mind that Epsom salt scrubs are not the same as microdermabrasion.

Side Effects of Epsom Salt

Henry says that, in general, Epsom salt is pretty safe. We’ve already talked about the most common side effects: irritated, red, and dry skin. This is most likely to happen if you use it too much or in the wrong way.

As with almost any ingredient, you could have a real allergic reaction to Epsom salt. To be safe, try it on a small area of your forearm before putting it on your face.

How to Use It

Here is where we got separated. Gabriel says, “I only use treatments that have been proven to work, and Epsom salt is not one of those treatments.” She doesn’t recommend that anyone use them. Instead, she stresses that there are many other solutions that have been studied and shown to work, such as topical benzoyl peroxide and/or salicylic acid.

On the other hand, Henry and Chimento say it’s fine to use epsom salts for acne, but there are a few important things you should know. First of all, both doctors agree that you should only consider this option if your acne is mild. Henry says, “If your acne is bad, see a dermatologist instead of experimenting at home.”

Two, only use them in a few spots instead of all over your face. Henry says to mix Epsom salts and water to make a solution, and then use a cotton swab to apply the solution directly to spots. If you really want to use Epsom salt as a scrub, make sure to mix it with something that will keep your skin moist, like coconut oil, olive oil, or honey, and use it on your body instead of your face.

(Since your body’s skin is thicker, you’re less likely to get redness and irritation there. She also says that you should do this two to three times a week for up to two weeks if it works. But stop using it if it makes you feel bad or irritates you in any way.

At the end of the day, there is no doubt that Epsom salts have a place in the world of beauty and health. And, compared to other DIY acne treatments you can find on the internet (for example, putting toothpaste on pimples is a big no-no), this is probably one of the “better” and safer ones to try if you want to. Just listen to what the dermatologists say and pay close attention to how your skin acts. And remember that you will need to see a dermatologist if your acne is severe and full-blown.

Applying Epsom salt to your skin

You have gone through enough information, and you are now ready to try using Epsom salt in your acne skincare routine to clear up your skin.

Pour some Epsom salt into a bowl and add enough water to make a thick paste. This is the easiest way to do it. Apply this mixture to the area that hurts and lightly massage it in. If the stinging is too much, stop what you’re doing and choose a milder treatment. Also, don’t exfoliate the skin around your eyes because it’s sensitive and shouldn’t be.

You can also use a cleaning solution instead of water to make a similar mixture. This might work better because it uses both the healing power of salt and the cleaning power of the product. You will get rid of the dirt and grime on your face and replace it with the healing properties of the salt.

If you have acne in different places on your body and it would take too much time and effort to use this kind of paste everywhere, you might want to try an all-around treatment instead. What you need to do is give yourself an Epsom salt bath.

Obviously, this works best if you have a bathtub, but you might also be able to get this treatment at a spa. In fact, Epsom salt baths are a common way to ease the symptoms of different health problems, such as aching muscles and joints.

Since this type of salt can help every part of your body, you can also use it to treat acne on your chest, back, arms, and legs, as well as on your face. In fact, Epsom salt is already a common ingredient in bath bombs and other bath products. So, if you have acne on larger parts of your body, you should try this method of using Epsom salt on a large scale.

Alternatives

Researchers haven’t looked into how epsom salts for acne work, so people with outbreaks should use products that are made and tested to treat them. Most people who have acne use creams on their skin.

Some of these creams have antibacterial ingredients like antibiotics or benzoyl peroxide in them.

Comedolytic agents, such as retinoids, are often recommended by doctors to treat acne. These medicines that you put on your skin don’t block your pores, and they may stop acne lesions from forming.

Most of the time, doctors give retinoic acid as a gel or cream with a concentration of 0.025%, 0.05%, or 0.1%, depending on how bad the acne is. Adapalene and tretinoin are also retinoids.

Other antibiotics that can be put on the skin to treat acne are clindamycin at 1–2%, nadifloxacin, and azithromycin at 1%. You can get these gels and lotions as topical medicines.

Azelaic acid, which comes in a 15% or 20% gel, kills bacteria and gets rid of clogged pores.

Some people use salicylic acid gel on their skin or chemical peels that are stronger. There is a gel form of dapsone, but it may not work for everyone.

Depending on how bad the acne is, some doctors may suggest using both topical and oral treatments at the same time. The oral antibiotics that can be used to treat acne are:

  • doxycycline
  • minocyclines
  • amoxicillins
  • erythromycin
  • sulfamethoxazole
  • minocycline

Isotretinoin may be given by doctors to treat severe acne (Accutane).

For women, birth control pills with low doses of estrogen are another way to treat acne by mouth.

When acne lesions leave scars, these things may help:

  • trichloroacetic acid 
  • microneedling CO2 laser
  • dermaroller

There are a number of good ways to treat acne. Anyone who wants to find effective treatments for acne should talk to a doctor, who can help them find the right product. People also shouldn’t use home remedies for which there is little to no clinical evidence that they are safe and work.

In Conclusion

If you have acne, using epsom salts for acne may help relieve pain and reduce swelling. It might also help get rid of dead skin and get blackheads out of the way. Even though science hasn’t shown that Epsom salt helps acne, many people swear by it. Since putting this product on the skin is safe for most people, you might want to try it out, especially if your acne is mild or doesn’t happen very often.

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