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Many people use Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) topically to soothe aching muscles, relieve tension, and treat skin conditions like acne. Magnesium is an element in your body and a nutrient you can get from many foods. Magnesium is important in your bones and for healthy muscle, heart, and nerve function.

While there is little evidence that the magnesium found in Epsom salt can be absorbed through the skin, anecdotal evidence indicates that Epsom salt may provide relief from certain skin conditions and other ailments.

Acne is a skin condition marked by pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. It occurs when oils, dirt, and dead skin cells clog hair follicles. Some people use Epsom salt to reduce the swelling and inflammation of acne.

Here are five methods of using Epsom salt for your acne that you can do at home:

1. Epsom salt facial soak

  1. Dissolve 2 to 3 teaspoons of Epsom salt in 2 cups of warm water.
  2. Soak a washcloth in this solution.
  3. Place the washcloth over your face until the washcloth cools. Avoid covering your eyes to protect them from stinging.
  4. For the most comfortable application, fold the washcloth in half and drape it over a section of your face while you’re sitting or lying down.
  5. Ring out the cloth and repeat the above steps to treat other areas of your face.
  6. Rinse your face completely with warm water.

2. Epsom salt spot treatment

  1. Dissolve 2 to 3 teaspoons of Epsom salt in 2 cups of warm water.
  2. Wet a cotton ball or clean cloth with the solution and dab onto problem areas.

Whether you use Epsom salt as a spot treatment or as a soak, make sure to rinse off completely with warm water.

3. Epsom salt exfoliation

The coarse texture of Epsom salt may help exfoliate skin by removing dead skin cells and loosening blackheads.

  1. Mix Epsom salt with an oil, such as olive oil or almond oil, to form a loose paste.
  2. Gently apply the mixture as an allover facemask, or, use only on acne-prone areas. Work the paste onto your skin very delicately, using circular motions, for several minutes.
  3. Rinse off with warm water.

4. Epsom salt mask

You can mix an avocado with Epsom salt to make a facial mask. Avocados are full of water so they make a great moisturizing base for facemasks.

  1. Whip or mash a ripe avocado until it’s smooth.
  2. Stir in the Epsom salt until it forms a thick consistency.
  3. Spread thinly on your face and let dry, around 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Rinse with warm water.

5. Epsom salt bath for body acne

Body acne can occur on areas of the body like your back, chest, and shoulders. You can use any of the above methods on these areas, but an easier way to use Epsom salt for body acne might be an Epsom salt bath. Try pouring one cup of Epsom salt into a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes. Rinse off with mild soap and warm water.

Shop for Epsom salts here.]

The benefits of Epsom salt for treating acne on the face and body are largely anecdotal. Topical use of Epsom salt is considered safe for most people. However, Epsom salt can leave a drying, uncomfortable residue on your skin, if not washed off completely.

It’s also possible to be allergic to Epsom salts. If you experience an adverse reaction such as hives, rash, swelling of the lips or tongue, or trouble breathing, seek medical attention immediately.

You may achieve better results in reducing breakouts by using over-the-counter products made for treating acne, or prescription medications.

There are also natural methods that can work for reducing acne and improving the health of your skin in general. These include at-home methods for treating oily skin and foods or vitamins you can add to your diet.

Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is a chemical compound comprised of magnesium, oxygen, and sulfur. Magnesium is a nutrient that the body needs for multiple functions. These include regulating blood sugar, stabilizing blood pressure, controlling muscle, and conducting nerve function. People get magnesium mostly through food or oral supplements.

Using Epsom salt for acne may help alleviate inflammation and reduce swelling. It may also help to exfoliate dead skin and loosen blackheads. The value of using Epsom salt for acne has not been scientifically proven, but many people swear by it. Since topical use of this product is safe for most people, it may be worth experimenting with, particularly if your acne is mild or occurs infrequently.