Epsom Salt For Acne Zits: DIY Scrub, Rub, Mask, Soak, Bath

Last Updated on January 2, 2024 by Richard

Acne at any age is no fun and can seriously hurt your social life and self-confidence. Using Epsom salt for acne zits has probably been in use since it was first discovered over 400 years ago.

By using epsom salt for acne problems, you can smile in the mirror again!

I will tell you how to get rid of acne, and how to stay acne free with the least amount of time and effort.

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What Is Epsom Salt Made Of?

Epsom Salt Ingredients: 100% magnesium sulfate

It is called a salt, because of its chemical nature. It is not the same as table salt which is sodium chloride. So, Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is safe to use in a low sodium diet.

Is Epsom Salt Safe?

It is sold as USP (United States Pharmacopeia) purity. Which means that it is pure enough to eat.

You can safely bathe in it all day long.

However, there are limits to how much you can mix into water and drink to end a bout of constipation.

That would be 2-4 level teaspoons for anyone over 12 years old. Children from 6-12 years old are limited to 1-2 level teaspoons per day.
Children under 6 years old and pregnant women should consult a doctor before using Epsom salts.

Don’t use Epsom salts if you have kidney disease or if your doctor has put you on a magnesium restricted diet.

Also, don’t use it with other laxatives. [1]

Can You Take An Epsom Salt Bath While Pregnant?

A lack of magnesium is a common cause of leg cramps for everyone, and apparently even more so for pregnant women. [2]

So, an Epsom salt bath would seem to be a good idea. However, you need to talk to your doctor first to make sure there are no other reasons to not use Epsom salts.

Several studies were done where magnesium sulfate was used to reduce high blood pressure during pregnancy. [2]

Also, magnesium sulfate is used to treat pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. Eclampsia symptoms include convulsions and high blood pressure. Particularly during delivery. [2]

Most people don’t get enough magnesium from the food they eat, and could use more magnesium. However, you also need to get enough calcium to maintain bone health. Both for the mother and the child.

Where Does Epsom Salt Come From?

Around the year of 1618 the original source of Epsom (salts) water was discovered in England.

A farmer, Henry Wicker, needed water for the cattle, because it had been a dry summer. He noticed a wet hoofprint in the pasture and dug the first (Epsom salt) water well.
However, the cattle wouldn’t drink the water, because of the minerals that were in the water.

Henry and the locals thought that the mineral water might have healing properties. So, they started washing sores, cuts, etc. with the water and started promoting its healing qualities.

By 1656 hundreds of people were coming to drink the Epsom water, and doctors were sending patients there. The place is now the town of Epsom, England.

The original (Epsom salt) water well has been capped and is no longer used. However, there is a marker that you can see at the well’s location.

In 1695 chemists figured out what Epsom (salts) water contained that made it so healthy to drink and bathe with. What the water contained was magnesium sulfate.

So, now we can buy the Epsom salts to mix with water, instead of importing water from England.

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  • Known for its amazing therapeutic qualities, an epsom salt bath can help to relieve muscle aches and pains, relieve aching feet, cleanse pores, flush out toxins, detoxify the skin. Mix with shower gel to create your own body scrub.
  • Epsom Salt can do amazing things to help your Garden flourish. Epsom Salt for plants is a completely natural and cost efficient way to give them that extra boost to help your plants thrive. Use on plants, lawn, shrubs and more…

How Does Epsom Salt Help Acne?

Acne is a mixture of excess sebum oil, dead skin cells and bacteria inside of a plugged hair follicle. The pimple grows, because all that stuff can’t find a way out of the plugged hair follicle.

A plugged hair follicle is called a comedo. More about that later on in the article.

The end result is that your skin is inflamed, and Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is quite good at removing inflammation, because of the sulfate.

An Epsom salt cleanse will permit the Epsom salts’ magnesium sulfate to enter the plugged hair follicle. This happens in two ways.

1. The Skin Absorbs the Epsom Salt Water Solution

First, the water and magnesium sulfate solution are absorbed by the keratin in the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. [4] I’m talking about the part of your skin you can see and feel, not the inner layers of your skin.  Skin diagram showing the hair follicle and oil gland that produces sebum oil.

Here is an analogy: Your skin acts somewhat like a dry sponge which is hard and rough. However, when the sponge comes into contact with water, it absorbs that water. By absorbing the water, the sponge softens and becomes smoother.

Your skin is a lot like a sponge that is made of keratin. The keratin absorbs the water that contains the magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt). So, now your skin is softer and more pliable.

Just like a soft wet sponge, your skin is now able to release what it has been holding onto. Which are the dead skin cells and sebum oil that is plugging up your hair follicle, and causing the pimple.

2. Hair Contains Keratin Which Transports Epsom Salt Deep Into The Hair Follicle

A study done in 2016 showed that the absorption of magnesium into the body was greatly facilitated by the hair follicle. [3]

This is important, because the sulfate (sulfur) part of the magnesium sulfate kills the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) that causes the inflammation and redness.

The magnesium sulfate soaks into the hair and also into the skin around the pimple. So, now the magnesium sulfate is also entering the hair itself and through the sides of the hair follicle. Not just from the end of the hair.

Now your skin can heal. The remaining inflammation will be removed, the pimple will shrink and the redness will disappear. Life is good again.

How To Use Epsom Salt For Acne

All Epsom salt acne treatments boil down to just one thing: Get the Epsom salt on the affected area. How you do that is just a personal choice you make that suits your needs.

Not all acne treatments work for everyone, but Epsom salt acne treatments are pretty effective.

Face acne on young woman.
Pimples are plugged hair follicles called comedones.
Whiteheads are comedones that are covered with skin.
Blackheads are comedones that are NOT covered with skin, and are “open”.
The blackhead gets its color from the melanin pigments.

There are several causes of acne including:

  • Teenage hormonal changes
  • Adult hormone level changes
  • Stress
  • What you eat
  • What you put on your skin

 

If you have adult hormonal acne, you’ll have a continual battle until your hormone levels balance out again. All is not lost. So, keep reading.

First, I will describe my personal original Epsom salt acne treatments, and then I will give you other options.

 

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Epsom Salt For Acne On The Chin, Neck And Face

Epsom Salt Acne Facial Spot Soaking

Mix ¼ teaspoon of Epsom salt in one teaspoon water to make it all dissolve. It’s O.K. if some of the salt crystals don’t dissolve. That just means that the water is saturated and can’t hold anymore. Which means that you are getting the maximum dose possible.

Use your fingertip to apply the solution to your pimples.

Other people say to use a Q-tip, cotton ball or a rag to soak up the solution and apply to your pimples. You can do that, but your fingers work better IMHO.

Also, you don’t have to buy and waste those Q-tips or cotton balls, or the Epsom salts that they soak up, but isn’t used.

The idea is to get the affected areas quite wet without it running off your face.
It’s O.K. if it dries on your skin, but leave it on for a few minutes or longer if you want to.

You can also reapply it if you want to. That’s what I do, because I want to keep the magnesium sulfate wet so it can penetrate the skin easier.

Then wash it off with some warm water. Many people suggest a second rinse with cool water, in order to reduce inflammation and redness. However, IMHO it might be better to not use the cool water.

The cool water will tend to close up your skin pores. Whereas, the warm water helped to open up the pores.

Since the acne is caused by a clogged-up hair follicle, and the Epsom salts are trying to open up that clog, why undo what you just did? I think it’s better to keep your skin as “open” as possible until your skin has cleared up.

What About Makeup?

Well, I don’t use makeup, so I’m no expert. However, if you are going to apply makeup right away, then you should close up the pores by rinsing with cool water. That way you aren’t forcing the makeup into the skin where it can cause more clogged up hair follicles and acne.

Later on, I will tell you how to protect that “open” skin, and speed its healing.

Full Face Soaking In Epsom Salt

Soak a washcloth in a saturated Epsom salt and water solution. Then wring it out so that it isn’t dripping all over everything.

The amount of Epsom salts used will vary, depending on your washcloth. Start out with a tablespoonful Epsom Salts and about 3 tablespoons of water. Mix more up as needed.
You will always be using three or four times as much water as Epsom salts to make a concentrated solution.

Use your fingers to wet your face with the solution and then place the damp washcloth on your face. Leave it on for 10-20 minutes.

Personally, I would do this while I soaked in an Epsom salt detox bath. (see below)

Epsom Salt Rub & Scrub DIY

Epsom salt scrub for acne.
Epsom salt scrub for acne.

However, you can rub that solution into your skin and it will dry up pretty fast. Wet your finger with more solution and rub it in again. This will really exfoliate your dead skin cells and dry out the excess sebum oil on your skin.

Keep rubbing until the Epsom salts dry out and form a fine white powder. If you keep rubbing when the salts are dry, then you are actually scrubbing.

Scrubbing is much, much, harder on your skin than rubbing while wet.

Both rubbing and scrubbing will remove blackheads and open up the plugged hair follicle. Then the excess sebum oil and dead skin cells can be released and removed.

Rubbing and scrubbing will make your skin reddish from the micro abrasion, but as soon as you moisturize, your skin will have lost that redness. I’ll mention the best moisturizer in just a bit.

Epsom Salt Face Mask

Once you have applied the saturated magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) solution to your face – just let it dry. It only takes a couple of minutes to dry and form a very fine white Epsom salt powder on your face.

Some areas may need a second application, because all of the magnesium has been absorbed.

Leave the powder on for 10-20 minutes.

Once it dries out it will continue to absorb moisture out of the oils and the bacteria. Which, in my opinion, should turn the oil into a powder and kill the bacteria. However, this will be a slower process than when the Epsom salts are wet on your face.

On the other hand, you are using a concentrated solution, as opposed to taking a bath where the solution is much more diluted.

One of the benefits of the Epsom salt face mask is that you can walk around the house and do other things, instead of covering your face with a soaked wash cloth.

Benefits Of Epsom Salt Bath For Chest, Back, And Butt Acne

At the same time that you are doing an epsom salt for acne treatment on your face, you can treat your back acne, butt acne and chest acne too.

Plus, you are supplying the magnesium your body needs for healthy bones, regulating your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Also, keeping your muscles and nervous system healthy, and aiding hundreds of other body functions.

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How To Take An Epsom Salt Bath

This couldn’t be easier to do.

Fill the bath tub with warm/hot water as you prefer it to be, and add the Epsom salts. Soak in the Epsom salts for 10-20 minutes.

How Much Epsom Salt To Put In Bath?

About 2 or 3 cups of Epsom salts. You can’t put in too much, but you can put in too little. Although, I assure you that you won’t.

The daily recommended amount of magnesium in your food is 400mg, and one teaspoon of Epsom salts contains 495mg of magnesium.

Having said that, I should also say that you will not absorb all of the magnesium that is in the water. So, you really do need to use 2-3 cups of Epsom salts.

Depending upon the amount of magnesium you already have in your body, your body will absorb more or less magnesium from the water.

Whatever your body doesn’t need will be removed with your urine or feces.

If you put too little magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) in the water then you may not absorb as much magnesium as your body really needs.

On the other hand, if you put more magnesium sulfate into the bath water you will absorb as much as is needed.

As a side note: You really can’t put too much Epsom salts in the bath water.

For instance, sensory deprivation floatation therapy tanks are about twice the size of your bath tub, and they are filled with 800 pounds of Epsom salts. (Yes, I said 800 pounds)

Floatation therapy tanks have a number of health benefits. However, they can be quite expensive to buy, plus shipping and taxes.

Don’t Use Olive Oil or Coconut Oil with Epsom Salts

Lots of other authors will tell you to mix Epsom salts with olive oil or coconut oil as a moisturizer. They tell you to do that when creating a face scrub or a facial mask or while taking an Epsom salt bath.

I could not disagree more.

First, Oil and water do not mix. Yes, you can make a paste, but the Epsom salt is now surrounded by the oil. So, this will make it very difficult for your skin to absorb the Epsom salt.

Second, if you are making an Epsom salt scrub with olive oil or coconut oil you are not dissolving the Epsom salts, but using it dry for its rough texture. The idea being to exfoliate the dead skin cells. Well, I have already shown you how to do that with less cost and less mess by just using plain Epsom salt.

Third, your skin already has too much sebum oil plugging up the hair follicles. So, why would you add more oil (that can cause comedones) to the skin that you are trying to remove the oil from?

Fourth, when you let the Epsom salt dry on your skin and then gently rub it, the very fine Epsom salts powder will remove the excess sebum oil. Once you have cleaned the skin, THEN you want to moisturize.

The Best Moisturizer to Use with Epsom Salt for Acne Treatments

After using any of the Epsom salt for acne treatments in this article you will want to moisturize and heal your acne as fast as possible. Hemp seed oil moisturizer (shown below) is NOT the same as CBD oil.

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The Comedogenic Scale of Oils That Cause Acne And Blackheads

A comedo is a clogged hair follicle. So, the Comedogenic Scale tells you which oil will be likely to cause pimples or not.

The Comedogenic Scale has a rating of 0-5 with zero being the best and five being the worst.

Coconut oil is rated at 4 (nearly the worst), olive oil is a 2 and hemp oil is a 0 (zero, perfect). So obviously hemp seed oil is not going to cause more acne to break out from using it.

There are many health benefits to using hemp seed oil.

There are even more health benefits from hemp oil that is NOT made from hemp seeds. Which is known as CBD Oil.

Yes, both of them are legal in all 50 states. No, you won’t get “high” from them.

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I have written a couple of articles that explains everything the government has been hiding from you for 50+ years.

All You Need To Know About Hemp Seed Oil For Acne

Light Therapy and Epsom Salt For Acne Treatments Combined

Now that you know all about using Epsom salt for acne, I hope you will try it. However, some people need extra help in treating or preventing acne, or to remove acne scars.

Here are some articles I have written to explain all of the benefits of using light therapy for acne:

Red & Blue Light Therapy For Acne Treatment At Home

LED Light Therapy For Acne Kills Zits And Heals The Skin

What Is Red Light Therapy? What Does Red Light Therapy Do?

Full Stride Health Home Page

References:

[1] Epsom salt, magnesium sulfate solution.

[2] Treatment with Magnesium in Pregnancy

[3] Permeation of topically applied Magnesium ions through human skin is facilitated by hair follicles.

[4} Scientific American

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