Experts Recommend Exfoliating Before Going Out in the Sun to Brighten Skin, and Soaking Afterward to Soften it
As summer heats up, you might want to pick up some Epsom salt. Beauty experts say it can help brighten your skin before you go out in the sun, soften it afterward and get your feet ready for sandals season.
For beach season, celebrity skin care guru Ole Henriksen says you should exfoliate before going out in the sun to rev up circulation, facilitating the elimination of toxins or impurities that may be trapped in the skin. In addition to detoxification, Henriksen says, exfoliation leaves the skin luminous, smooth and soft in texture, and it removes any excess dead skin, allowing for better absorption and easier application of sunscreen or lotion.
Here’s his recipe for an at-home dermabrasion resurfacing treatment called the “Shower smoothie:”
- Ingredients: 4 oz. of Epsom salt, 4 oz. coffee grounds, 1 TSP eucalyptus oil and enough sesame oil to form a smooth paste.
- Mix the Epsom salt and coffee grounds in a medium bowl, then add the oils and stir thoroughly until you have a smooth, but not runny paste.
- Get in the shower, get wet and turn off the water. Use the entire palm of each hand to vigorously scrub your body for several minutes, from your neck to your feet.
- Afterward, just rinse and glow. Your skin will feel smooth, and you’ll notice an immediate lifting and constricting of the skin.
“Epsom Salt has amazing detoxifying properties and melts into the skin when activated by ingredients in my recipes,” Henriksen says. “The texture of Epsom Salt is firm, yet very smooth to the touch. This makes the exfoliation process comfortable for all skin types.”
After a day outdoors, cosmetologist Linda Ashbrook of the Golden Door Spa suggests soaking in Epsom salt for 20 minutes to relax tired muscles and soften the skin, which can get dry from the sun or sandy beaches. Add a few drops of aromatherapy oil, such as lavender or frankincense, to make it more relaxing, then use a very rich moisturizer afterward to further soften the skin. The Epsom salt – actually magnesium sulfate – helps retain moisture, eliminate toxins and relieve stress, Ashbrook says.
“With our skin being the largest organ, it absorbs and uses nutrients applied topically,” Ashbrook says. “As most people are deficient in magnesium, taking an Epsom salt bath is the easiest way to restore this mineral to the body.”
To soothe summer skin, Ashbrook also advises making a quick and easy facial mask while in the bath. Here’s how:
- Ingredients: a tablespoon each of Epsom salt, honey and olive oil (for oily skin add a few drops of lemon juice).
- Leave on for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Rinse in a warm shower to wash away any impurities that have been drawn out from the Epsom salt.
- Moisturize with your favorite lotion.
Here are two other tips for using Epsom salt this summer:
- Pedicure Perfection: Dissolve a half cup of Epsom Salt into two quarts of warm water. Pour the water into a container and soak your bare feet for 15 to 20 minutes. For an extra treat, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil for a refreshing scent. Massage the entire foot with Epsom Salt concentrating on the heels and ankles to remove any dry, rough spots. Then, rinse your feet off with clean tap water and dry them thoroughly.
- For mild sunburn: Doctors say Epsom salt can help soothe itching, burning skin. Suggestions include:
- Make a compress by soaking a cotton washcloth in cold water that has been mixed with Epsom salt (two tablespoons per cup), then apply to the skin.
- Create a paste to apply to the skin by adding a teaspoon of Epsom salt to about a cup of hot water until it dissolves, then chilling the solution in the fridge for 20 minutes. Note: Clean the skin and pat dry before applying the paste.
- Take an Epsom salt bath, by adding two cups of Epsom salt to the water in a standard-sized bathtub and soaking for at least 12 minutes. The Epsom salt will dissolve quicker if you put it under the running water.
Note: For human use, the Epsom Salt Council recommends only Epsom salt with the USP designation.