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Himalayan salt is a type of sea salt mined in the foothills of the Himalaya mountains, primarily in Pakistan. Ancient oceans deposited these salts 250 million years ago when the Himalaya mountains were being formed.

Because the salt beds were covered by lava, ice, and snow for millions of years, Himalayan salt is free of many modern-day pollutants.

Currently, Himalayan salt is actively mined for sale in the form of edible salt, lamps, cosmetic products, and other items.

Himalayan salt comes in a variety of colors, including white, pink, and orange. The color content of the salt is determined by the amount of trace minerals it contains. These include potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium.

There are many health claims made about Himalayan salt. Advocates and marketers sometimes say it contains 84 minerals, thus making it healthier than other types of salt.

In fact, Himalayan salt is similar to regular table salt in chemical composition. Both contain approximately 98 percent sodium chloride. Himalayan salt’s remaining 2 percent contains very small amounts of many minerals, some of which have health benefits.

Himalayan salt is often used as a bath preparation. Mineral baths of all kinds have been popular for hundreds of years, as they can provide soothing relief for several conditions.

There’s no scientific evidence proving that Himalayan salt baths are more beneficial than other types of mineral baths.

However, mineral baths, including Himalayan salt baths, may be beneficial in the following ways:

Relaxes and calms

Taking any kind of bath can be a relaxing experience. One study found bathing in warm water for 10 minutes can reduce fatigue, stress, and pain and increase feelings of contentment and emotional health.

Advocates say that Himalayan salt is able to generate negative ions in the air, creating the type of calming effect many people experience on a saltwater beach.

While this hasn’t been proven, anecdotal evidence suggests people find mineral baths, like Himalayan salt baths, to be soothing and relaxing. Some people also use Himalayan salt lamps for this benefit.

Delivers magnesium

Magnesium is necessary for health. It helps muscles contract and relax. It’s necessary for nervous system regulation and also helps convert food into energy. Every system in the body requires magnesium to function properly.

Himalayan salt has trace amounts of magnesium, but it hasn’t been proven that there’s enough in it to provide health benefits while bathing.

However, a scientific review did find that magnesium might be able to enter the lymphatic system through the skin.

Another small study suggests spraying a magnesium chloride solution on the skin may reduce the pain associated with fibromyalgia.

Treats eczema, acne, and psoriasis

Salt has antimicrobial properties, which may make it beneficial for treating acne.

Himalayan salt baths might be a good way to treat acne on hard-to-reach areas of the body where breakouts occur, such as the back or shoulders.

Mineral baths have been shown to have benefits for people with psoriasis or eczema. They can reduce scaling, redness, and irritation.

According to the National Eczema Association, adding salt to bathwater can reduce the stinging that water might cause skin during a severe flare-up. The magnesium content in Himalayan salt might also make it beneficial for reducing skin inflammation.

Soothes insect bites

There are many home remedies for bug bites. Advocates for Himalayan salt believe that a soak in warm water containing Himalayan salt can help soothe itch and reduce swelling.

There’s no evidence to support the claim that Himalayan salt baths help with weight loss.

Despite people’s claims, there’s also no evidence Himalayan salt baths can treat:

  • insomnia
  • poor circulation
  • respiratory ailments
  • bloating

Epsom salt comprises magnesium sulfate. Unlike Himalayan salt, it doesn’t contain sodium.

Advocates for Epsom salt baths believe it can relieve aching muscles, itching, and sunburn.

Since its magnesium content is higher than that of Himalayan salt, proponents claim Epsom salt baths may be a better way to increase magnesium content in the body.

Whichever you choose, both types of baths can promote a relaxing experience.

Whether your minerals of choice come from an Epsom salt or a Himalayan salt bath, rinse off afterward. Minerals can leave residue on skin, making it feel dry or itchy.

Himalayan salt baths appear to be safe.

However, if your skin becomes irritated or very itchy, rinse off the bathwater and don’t use it again.

You can buy Himalayan salt in specialty shops, health food stores, and online.

Taking a soak in a Himalayan pink salt bath may not be the health cure you were looking for, but it’s bound to be relaxing.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Rinse off in the shower to remove any dirt, oils, and cosmetic products from your body.
  2. Fill the tub with water that’s very warm but not hot.
  3. Add Himalayan salt to the bathwater following package instructions, usually a handful or two of salt. Let it dissolve.
  4. Salt baths may feel dehydrating to some people. Keep a glass of cool water nearby in case you feel dehydrated during your bath.
  5. Bathe for 10 to 30 minutes. Rinse off and dry.
  6. Moisturize your skin afterward.

For an extra soothing element, you can also add an essential oil to your bath, such as lavender or rose.

Don’t add essential oil directly into the bathwater, though. Add 3 to 10 drops of essential oil to a carrier oil like almond oil, then pour the mixture into the bathwater while stirring.

Avoid essential oils that can irritate the skin and mucous membranes, such as cinnamon, wintergreen, or clove.

Himalayan salt baths haven’t been scientifically proven to have any health benefits.

However, mineral baths can be soothing to the skin and a relaxing experience. There’s little downside to trying Himalayan salts in your bath.