Bath Salts have been making headlines recently as people around the country start to use them as ‘designer drugs’ (using products, often marketed as aromatherapy or fragrance products, to obtain a high similar to more traditional drugs), but the ancient tradition of soaking in salt water is much more holistic and medicinal in its practice. Let’s take a look at the amazing world of the best bath salts.
Bath Salts are a mixture of minerals that are typically added to water in order to improve the bathing experience. People typically use them to maximize the cleaning power of bath time, add to the aesthetic experience of washing, and improve the application of cosmetic agents for use in moisturizing, exfoliation, and other important beauty regiment practices. There are several kinds of salt used in bath salts, including Epsom salts, Table Salt, Baking soda, Borax, and many others. Usually there’s also Glycerin in them as a lubricant, to make the experience a little less abrasive than just using the salt by itself. Most bath salts also have natural or artificial fragrances and colors in order to make the experience more soothing. Furthermore, companies will often add oils to the mixture (commonly in little globs, known as ‘bath beads’ or ‘oil beads’) or foaming agents to improve the tactile experience.
The earliest mention of bath salts in historical documents is from China, around 2700 BCE. It was commonly used by the Emperor’s physicians to keep court member’s skin smooth and supple while dealing with differing maladies of ancient times. The Greek doctor and father of modern medicine Hippocrates was famous for telling his fellow medical practitioners to use salt water in the treatment of several different diseases. They would commonly fill a tub with salt water and immerse patients in it for long periods of time to deal with skin issues and help the healing of wounds. The ancient Greeks continued the practice and from there the practice was spread all over the globe and continues to see use in all corners of the globe.
There are two main uses of bath salts in today’s beauty regime. The first is to soften the skin, particularly calluses and other tough skin areas, since the salt that’s present in bath salts acts as an excellent exfoliator. This causes calluses to soften and skin to feel smoother, since thee salt will gently rub away dead skin and the water moisturizes more resilient tough skin. The other use is as a water softener. Hard water, which is prevalent in many communities in America, can hamper soap’s ability to lather and can leave residue on your skin and on your bathroom surfaces. By using softened water, soap lathers better and will remain soluble for a longer time, which may feel weird at first since it will feel like you remain slippery longer than when you use hard water. Don’t worry, though, because it means that you’re getting a better and deeper clean because the soap is spreading more evenly over your skin and leaving a more beautiful you!