Epsom salts are made up of a naturally occurring mineral that is found in water. More properly known as magnesium sulfate, the substance derives its popular name from the town of Epsom, England, where the compound was first distilled from water. The chemical formula is a rather simple one: MgS04-7H2O.
These salts are easily obtained at any drug store or supermarket. Inexpensive and versatile, the salts can be used for a number of different applications around the home. Many of the applications have to do with expediting healing, as well as improving the quality of the skin and helping with basic grooming.
Perhaps the most popular application is using these salts in a bath. As an ideal means of relieving stress at the end of a hard day, two cups of Epsom salts in a tub of hot water can help to soothe jangled nerves and restore a sense of well being. This one application makes these salts a staple in many bathrooms around the world.
Cleansing is also a common use for Epsom salts. Many people make use of it to exfoliate skin, applying a paste of Epsom salts with a little water to the skin, then rinsing with clean warm water. Homemade masks that help with oily skin can be created, using the salts as the base ingredient. Along with the salts, the mask requires a small amount of lemon juice, an egg, and a small amount of nonfat dry milk. In situations where there is not time to wash hair, Epsom salts can be used to partially clean the follicles, making it easier to comb and set the hairdo.
Treating minor sprains and bruises with Epsom salts is also thought to be very effective. A simple bath applied to the area of the sprain or the bruise will provide relief to the impacted area, helping to reduce swelling and minimize the soreness. Immersing the area in warm water and salts for twenty to thirty minutes not only provides physical relief from the ailment, but also can be refreshing for the mind as well.