As far as skincare treatments go, few are as old and common as the Epsom salt bath. But what is it that makes this simple, centuries-old remedy effective? And do they work on diaper rashes?
We dig deep into grannies favourite for her aching bones to see if they can work in a child soak for diaper rashes. We’ve done a whole series on how soothing baths help diaper rashes, and this is part of that series.
What Are Epsom Salts?
Epsom salts are a naturally occurring mineral compound that contains both magnesium and sulfate, making them highly effective in treating many different skin conditions.
The funny thing about Epsom salts is that they are not salt or table salt at all, but minerals of the magnesia family which easily dissolve both in water and oil. Epsom salts, also called magnesium sulfate, have been known to relieve a diaper rash better than diaper rash cream!
What Does Epsom Salt Do?
Their skin benefits are truly amazing, but it’s their incredible ability to be dissolved in water and oils that make them so versatile.
Epsom salts cleanse your skin gently without stripping away its natural moisture. This makes it an ideal treatment for diaper rash, eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, acne rashes and much more.
Epsom salt baths are ideal for treating not just topical infections but also internal ones like digestive upsets. They’re also high in magnesium, which has many benefits to the body including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improving metabolism, increasing energy levels and strengthening bones.
However, drinking Epsom salt water is not advisable for children or babies so you should be careful to ensure they don’t in the bath.
Are Epsom Salts Safe for Babies?
Yes! While the treatment is gentle, you must always take caution when treating your little one’s skin. They do not contain any of the potentially harmful chemicals found in many mass-produced bubble baths so if you are looking to bath your child with as few chemicals as possible, they might be ideal for you.
Start by mixing a tablespoon of salt into their bathwater and see how they react before moving on to higher doses. If you notice any irritation or discomfort in them, reduce the amount accordingly.
You can add in essential oils like Roman chamomile essential oil or even about one cup of apple cider vinegar to make the baby soak even more effective to treat diaper rash.
Can Epsom Salts Work for Diaper Rash?
There are many benefits of using Epsom salts for diaper rash. First, they are a natural product that is safe for your baby to use. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce the inflammation and swelling associated with diaper rash.
Epsom salts can also help to draw out toxins from the skin, which can speed up the healing process. They are also a great source of magnesium, which is essential for healthy skin.
Epsom salts are remarkably easy to use. Here’s how:
1) Mix two cups of warm water with two tablespoons of Epsom salts
2) Soak a cotton cloth in the solution, wring it out and place it on the diaper area.
3) Leave the solution for up to two hours to work its magic, then remove and rinse clean.
4) Repeat this process every three hours until the diaper rash has cleared.
It’s important to not use scented or alcohol-based baby wipes. Either switch to alcohol-free baby wipes or just use warm water with a soft cloth to clean your baby at diaper change time.
Epsom Salt Bath for Diaper Rash
The best way to use Epsom salts to clear up a severe rash is to give your baby a soothing bath with them in it.
1) Mix a tablespoon of Epsom salts with warm water
2) Fill your baby’s tub as usual and assist her as she settles in.
3) Add about one cup of Epsom salt to the warm running bath before helping your little one recline gently into the bathwater.
4) Soak for up 10 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.
Repeat once or twice daily until the rash clears up, then return to your usual routine.
Diaper Rash Treatments with Epsom Salt
Epsom salt should be used in conjunction with other good routines for treating a baby’s diaper rash.
- Always remember to give your baby plenty of diaper-free time. If your little one has sensitive skin then use chlorine-free disposable diapers or cloth diapers.
- If using cloth diapers use mild laundry detergents ad ensure they are fully rinsed out. Read our guide to washing cloth diapers here.
- Avoid toxic chemicals (many of which can be in popular diaper rash balms), instead, make sure your favorite diaper cream is natural or even make a homemade cream (we love coconut oil, shea butter or aloe vera, check out our guide to natural homemade remedies for diaper rash).
- Avoid baby powder unless you are using something natural like cornstarch or colloidal oats baby powder (never use talcum powder!)
- When your baby no longer wear diapers you can still put these natural salts into plain bath water for a soothing soak for them.
How long should you soak in a bath?
No longer than 15 minutes for a young child or baby. Ensure that they are fully hydrated after the bath.
20 minutes in a lukewarm bath once or twice a day is the standard treatment for eczema. It relieves itching and irritation, reduces inflammation and takes away an irritant. This is not something you should do every day; instead, do it once or twice a week because magnesium is taken into your baby’s body transdermally.
Tell me the best way to bathe a sick child?
Bathing a youngster in a bath with two cups of pure Epsom salt will help pull the infection out of the child. The salt is also a natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic, so it can help alleviate any pain or discomfort the youngster is experiencing.
For young babies and infants up to 6 months of age, do not immerse them in water for more than 10 minutes at a time. Keep the focus more on keeping them hydrated rather than giving them a bath. It’s often very difficult to keep a young baby from getting chilled, even with good heating in the room and the use of towels and warm clothes, etc.
For infants 6 months up to 2 years old: give them a lukewarm bath for 15 minutes at a time, twice a day.
For children 2 years old up to adults: 20 minutes in a lukewarm bath once or twice a day.
Do you have to rinse after an Epsom salt bath?
No, an Epsom salt bath does not require rinsing. There will be no mess to clean up since the salts will have dissolved and been absorbed by your skin. If you don’t like the sensation of the salt on your skin, rinse it off with warm water. Just make sure to properly dry yourself off afterwards, since the salt can cause skin irritation if left damp.
Is Epsom salt good for baby eczema?
Epsom salt is fine for babies and children. However, the only way to tell if it’s working or not is through trial and error (ie seeing whether there is any reduction in symptoms).
Don’t rely on only one treatment option though. Use Epsom salt in conjunction with other methods such as moisturizing, reducing scratching, medications etc. Used in conjunction with a baking soda bath for diaper rash, Epsom salt may work even better in some cases. Oatmeal baths are great for eczema as well and you can mix the oatmeal powder with the Epsom salts.
Finally, don’t forget to keep in mind the safety factor when using Epsom salt. A baby or child should never ingest it and excessive use could have negative side effects so be sure to follow directions carefully
The Bottom Line
There are a number of ways to keep your baby safe and healthy while using Epsom salt. Bathing in it is a great way to soothe sore muscles, help with eczema or psoriasis, and draw infection out of a child’s body.
It can also be used as part of a treatment plan for severe diaper rash or other issues such as chickenpox or measles. Just make sure you’re aware of the dosage and how long to soak for before giving it a try.
So if you are looking for natural ways to treat diaper rash without using artificial chemicals found in commercial creams on your baby’s skin then a good old fashioned Epsom salts bath might be just for you and your baby!