Bath salts add a healing and relaxing element to a hot soak in the tub. Sea salt bath salt is made from evaporated sea water and is the most prevalent of the types on the market. The other two types of bath salts are Epsom salt and Himalayan bath salt. Specialty blends are made by mixing one or more of the types of salt with scented oils for fragrance.
All salts contain minerals that dissolve in the bath when mixed with water. The minerals help to soothe sore muscles and ease cramps and tired limbs. A hot soak in bath water infused with bath salts draws toxins out of the skin for improved health and skin tone. The different types have different minerals and mineral ratios for slightly different benefits. When infused with essential oils, additional aroma therapy and health benefits are added.
Sea salts are the most commonly used type for bath salt. The minerals in sea salt vary depending on the location where the salt is harvested. Dead sea salt, for instance, is very common, and its high salt content and the types of minerals it contains make it one of the most beneficial. Bath salt from this region contains particularly high concentrations of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Some natural sea salts have color. The two common naturally colored types are gray bath salt and Hawaiian red bath salt. The gray variety has a distinct gray color from the region of Guérande, France, where it is harvested. It commonly is called Brittany salt or Celtic salt. Hawaiian red salt gets its red color from the volcanic red clay where it is harvested; it commonly is called volcanic salt, alaea, or alae.
Epsom salt is a common bath salt as well, though technically it is not a salt but a crystallized mineral. Epsom salts come from the Epsom springs in England where the high concentration of magnesium sulfate crystallizes into a clear, salt-like mineral. Unlike true salt, Epsom salts do not contain sodium chloride. The magnesium absorbed through the skin when taking an Epsom salt bath helps to improve conditions attributed to magnesium deficiency, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, digestive disorders, arthritis, general joint pain, and fatigue.
Himalayan bath salts come from the minerals buried underground in the Himalayas. Minerals in this type can help to balance the body and the pH of the skin while improving blood pressure and acting as a detoxification agent. The minerals in Himalayan salt give it a naturally pink color.
Numerous variations of bath salts can be made by mixing sea salts, Epsom salts, and Himalayan salts to create a blend of minerals. Additionally, scented oils can be added as an aromatherapy treatment or simply to improve the bathing experience. The texture of the salt can also vary from extra fine granules to coarse chunks the size of a marble or golf ball.