It can be confusing to tell the difference between different bath products. With the dizzying variety of bath salts and flakes on today’s shelves, which is the right bath product for your health concerns?
Find out the difference between bath flakes and epsom salts, and which supports your health and wellbeing.
What are magnesium bath flakes?
Magnesium is an essential mineral required for a variety of health benefits. In a bath, magnesium can relieve muscle tension and induce sleep onset and relaxation.
However, magnesium exists in different forms. In magnesium bath flakes, magnesium chloride is generally used. This form is naturally occurring, and can be found from ancient sea beds, like the Dead Sea. Magnesium chloride flakes are unprocessed and are free from synthetic additives.
What are epsom salts?
Epsom salts are not actually made from salt - they are generally mass manufactured using magnesium sulphate. Although epsom salts can also be sourced from springs, manufacturers often opt for the cheaper synthetic alternative to save on costs. Epsom salts are prone to toxic metal contamination - including aluminum and mercury - which may have negative health effects if used long-term.
What is the difference between bath flakes and epsom salts?
While both may look the same - and are usually marketed side by side, they have many differences that must be noted. Learn the difference between magnesium bath flakes and epsom salts below:
Magnesium bath flakes are cleaner and more pure than epsom salts. Magnesium bath flakes are formulated using the form magnesium chloride, which is extracted from untouched waters - away from any contaminants or toxic heavy metals. Because it is mined from ancient seabeds, they are naturally purified.
On the other hand, epsom salts are synthetically manufactured using magnesium sulphate - where contamination is very likely. Epsom salts can be exposed to heavy metals and toxic compounds that may harm the skin.
Absorption and Bioavailability:
Magnesium chloride and magnesium sulphate both contain elemental amounts of magnesium - but it doesn’t mean they are both utilized effectively by the body.
Magnesium chloride has a much higher solubility rate compared to the form found in epsom salts, meaning that topical absorption is much higher. This solubility ensures that the magnesium can penetrate the dermal layer to travel to your bloodstream and cells for the benefits to occur.
On the other hand, epsom salts use an ineffective form of magnesium - one that is short-lived and doesn’t reach the target tissues. Magnesium sulphate has been shown to be quickly excreted by the kidneys, meaning it doesn’t work as long in the body. Because of this, serum magnesium levels may not be increased after an epsom salt bath.
Benefits of magnesium bath flakes:
Magnesium bath flakes deliver more benefits due to their high bioavailability. But why should they make their way into your bath? Magnesium chloride is quickly absorbed transdermally to reach your organs and muscles.
Here are a few benefits of magnesium bath flakes:
- Muscle relaxation and recovery: Magnesium bath flakes may support muscle recovery after training and promote circulation to the area to relieve tension.
- Sleep onset: Taking a warm magnesium bath before bed can switch on your sleep centres, helping you snooze off faster when your head hits the pillow.
- Stress relief: Taking a magnesium bath can help reduce stress levels and manage anxiety. Magnesium can help regulate cortisol - the main stress hormone.
- Improve mood: Magnesium has a multitude of roles when it comes to cognition - and is involved in the production of feel good neurotransmitters.
- Restless legs relief: Restless legs syndrome is a common condition that causes uncontrollable and uncomfortable sensations in the legs. It generally is linked to sleep disorders. Taking a nightly magnesium bath can help soothe muscles and nerves in the legs to promote blissful uninterrupted sleep.
Magnesium bath flakes are superior to epsom salts due to possessing a higher bioavailability rate and purity rate. Opt for a naturally occurring unprocessed magnesium bath flake to ensure you are receiving the highest quality product.Adding magnesium bath flakes to your bath can have a multitude of health benefits and promote general wellbeing. For best results, use 10-12 tablespoons into warm water and soak for 20-30 minutes.