Frequently Asked Questions About Epsom Salt

All Epsom salt contains the naturally occurring minerals of magnesium and sulfate. There are different ways of manufacturing and packaging Epsom salt, but chemically, it’s all exactly the same. There are also different “grades” of Epsom salt for different applications such as human use and agricultural applications. Any package that has a “drug facts” box or that’s labeled “USP” has been manufactured, tested and certified to meet stringent regulatory standards of the FDA and the United States Pharmacopeia, and is deemed safe and acceptable for human use. For human use, the Epsom Salt Council recommends only Epsom salt with the USP designation.

One of the earliest discoveries of magnesium sulfate, the scientific name of Epsom salt, occurred back in Shakespeare’s day in Epsom, England, which explains the first half of the name. The term “salt” probably refers to the specific chemical structure of the compound, although many people mistakenly assume it refers to the crystalline structure of Epsom salt, which has an appearance similar to that of table salt. (Table salt, of course, consists of sodium chloride, so it’s an entirely different substance than magnesium sulfate.)

No. In fact, Epsom salt is widely reported to soften skin, and it rinses away completely. While we don’t yet understand precisely why Epsom salt has a softening effect, the results have been widely reported for hundreds of years.

Most drug stores sell it in convenient, consumer-sized packages. Look for it where you find aspirin, Tylenol or Ace bandages (because it’s used as a treatment for muscle aches) or in the laxative section (magnesium sulfate is an effective, naturally occurring laxative).

Epsom salt is an FDA-approved laxative. Consult the package for directions. It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before ingesting any over-the-counter medication, however.

Any package that has a “drug facts” box or that’s labeled “USP” has been manufactured, tested and certified to meet stringent regulatory standards that are safe and acceptable for human use. That’s true for ingesting Epsom salt or soaking in it. Consult the package for directions, and before ingesting any over-the-counter medication, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor.

Epsom salt contains nothing but the naturally occurring minerals magnesium and sulfate. While bath salts may contain other ingredients as part of a proprietary blend, Epsom salt itself does not. Experts say soaking in Epsom salt can improve your health because it boosts your body’s magnesium levels. You can learn more about the health benefits of Epsom salt crystals by visiting either the about section of our website or ourFacebook Health section. You may have seen media reports about dangerous “bath salts,” but those are not real bath salts at all. In fact, they are concentrated mixtures of toxic chemicals sold for high profit by unscrupulous manufacturers, usually at mini-marts or “smoke shops,” and used as designer drugs. These designer “bath salts” are not at all related to real bath salts or Epsom salt which are found at reasonable prices in reputable pharmacies, retail stores or bath products stores. Here’s a simple recipe for making safe, homemade bath salts using Epsom salt and another for enjoying a relaxing soak:
  • Mix two cups of Epsom Salt with a few drops of your favorite fragrance to create a custom bathcrystal. Add a few drops of food coloring or 1/2 TSP of glycerin if you like, mix thoroughly and store in an air-tight container.
  • Add two cups of Epsom Salt to the water in a standard-sized bathtub; soak for at least 12 minutes, three times weekly. For an extra treat, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil for a refreshing scent.

Please consult with your doctor first, just to be safe.

Magnesium and sulfates can be ingested from foods or mineral supplements, but both substances are readily absorbed through the skin. The benefits of magnesium and sulfates are explained under our about section.

Please consult with your local spa dealer to determine whether it is safe to add Epsom salt to your hot tub or whirlpool.

If you have any questions of a medical nature, please consult with your physician.