San Francisco Epsom Salt

The San Franciso Salt Company makes a variety of fragrant bath salts, and I adore their lavender, which is made with sea salt. I was quite intrigued to see how their 'Epsoak' Bpsom Salt bath salt compared.

The first thing I'll note is that while the lavender comes in a pretty, fold-over-top plastic container, the Epsom Salt comes in essence in a clear baggie with a ziplock closure. Not a big deal, but a little less like a "spa experience". It has no aroma at all - its ingredients are solely epsom salt / magnesium sulfate. If you are sensitive to scents this could be a good thing. If you enjoy fragrance in your bath it means you'll have to add something to this to get the experience you crave.

The salts "cake up" fairly quickly even when sealed. They need to be bashed to loosen them.

My big question, though, is what is epsom salt vs sea salt. Most of us know about the wonders of sea salt - how people adore sea salt soaks because it helps our skin be soft and healthy. The water feels softer and more relaxing. Is the same true for magnesium sulfate? Does magnesium sulfate somehow help with body parts INSIDE the skin?

Intriguingly, in the research I've done, I can't find how having salt on the outside of your skin has any effect at all on your muscles within the skin. Your skin exists to keep objects out of your body. The salt content outside might impact that outer layer of skin to soften it - but it doesn't somehow permeate the skin barrier and then move in a targeted fashion to the muscles. When I do research on baths I do find information, for example, about oatmeal baths helping with poison ivy on the surface of the skin. I've had poison ivy many times and can vouch for it helping. But I can't find any research that indicates salts in the bath water get into your muscles.

Apparently the skin DOES let in some fats - and this is how researchers create things like the nicotine patch which lets chemicals in through your skin in a controlled fashion. But I can't find that salts can pass through. In fact there's apparently a study on this very topic - look on the NIH website for PMID 19216298 - and they found the magnesium sulfate did NOT get through the skin.

So in terms of these epsom salts being better or worse than other epsom salts, I'll give it a 4/5. It's nice and simple, no artificial additives, and I'm sure those with fragrance sensitivities will appreciate that. But in the larger question of whether buying ANY epsom salts are worth it - I highly suggest you do some research. Yes, soaking in hot water helps relax muscles which is a good thing. But I'm not finding that adding any salts into the water make a difference. It's not somehow making the bath water "better" at soaking those muscles.

I'm open to hearing from people who have found other research, both that magnesium sulfate can penetrate the skin barrier, and then that having magnesium sulfate in your blood system is a good thing!

I received a review bag of these salts in order to provide an honest review.

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