Epsom Salts Baths For Bloating And Water Retention: Do They Work?

In BEAUTY, BODY, BODY PRODUCTS REVIEWS by Clelia MattanaLeave a Comment

Good morning beautiful ladies! Men, please don’t get upset, as today we are talking about a problem that afflicts the female population much more: The infamous and hated water retention on legs and thighs.

This time I’ll start with a bang and go straight to the heart of the matter:

So we get it out of the way: Epsom salts for water retention really do work! Tested on my skin, as always. Sorry for the spoiler, but I couldn’t resist: D

Anyone who hasn’t been there, raise your hand: swollen thighs, legs, and ankles, a phenomenon scientifically called “water retention”, because of course, it’s better than saying “I have legs that look like two squishy sausages”, right? πŸ™‚

Whether it is because of our period, genetics, or simply bad luck, there are just a bunch of lucky ladies who have never had this problem. And let’s face it, we (secretly) hate you a little bit!

I don’t know about you, but I’m never the exception, so I’m always there complaining that I don’t know if my thighs have more cellulite or water retention. A tough one for sure.

But dear ladies, do not despair because I have the solution at hand and it really works, but you already knew it because of my earlier spoiler, so going back to serious again, I put on the researcher’s coat and I’ll give my personal experience on:

As you can see this will be a complete guide on everything you need to know about Epsom salts (or for those who don’t know, they are also commonly called “English salts”), so get comfortable and let’s get started!

What Are Epsom Salts & How Do They Work?

A brief introduction, this article is dedicated to all the girls of a Facebook group where, when I name the Epsom salts, extolling their praises, they ask me to explain how to use them, what they are, their benefits, etc. Here you are, satisfied once and for all! I hope this guide is comprehensive and useful.

Epsom salts, also called English salts or Magnesium salts are part of a category of salts (there are several) that contain a high percentage of Magnesium and sulfates and take their name from the English town of Epsom, hence the name “English salts”.

They have many benefits but do not try to put them on the table instead of sea salt because they are very bitter and not suitable for cooking πŸ™‚

Among the various benefits, in addition to counteracting water retention, they are muscle relaxants, therefore they are excellent after a workout to counteract DOMS (those pains/muscle soreness that is sometimes almost disabling after intense physical exercise).

Epsom salts are also relaxing and anti-stress, reduce headaches from muscle tension in the neck area, and have purifying functions for the body.

And, last but not least, they reduced my thighs by 2 cm (measured!) After going through the hell of hormonal bombardment due to my IVF journey.

How To Prepare A Bath With Epsom Salts The Right Way!

Of course, if I had such a bath, I believe Epsom Salts would work even better if possible: D

So, now we know what Epsom salts are for and that if you suffer from water retention they are great, but how to get the most out of them? Here you are, with all the tips and tricks I’ve used for years!

  • Use the bathtub if you can, otherwise, you can do the bandages (which I’ll talk about shortly).

  • Put at least 300/400 grams of Epsom salts in warm, not too hot water.

  • Do not overdo the quantities, at least not at the beginning, you could experience dizziness and other unpleasant effects.

  • Add a bag or two of sea salt (it’s usually very cheap) and mix it with the Epsom salts. If you want to fight water retention, this method works best in my opinion.

  • Put enough water in the bathtub to cover AT LEAST your thighs. If you put more, you obviously need to add more salt.

  • Taste the water. Yes, as you would do with pasta. Take a teaspoon and wet your lips. If you use only Epsom salt you will have to feel a strong bitter taste, if you also use table salt, you will have to taste very salty water. If you don’t taste either of these two “flavors” sufficiently, it means that there is little dissolved salt and the treatment will be less effective. So you either reduce the water when you get the tub ready or add salt later (I prefer the latter option).

  • Always carry a bottle of water to stay hydrated and drink while in the tub.

  • Put a few candles if you have time, creating an atmosphere with soft lighting will help you see baths with Epsom salts as a pleasant habit, and you won’t be staring at your cellulite, hoping that it will magically dissolve in front of your eyes because there will be the semi-dark atmosphere to help you out.

  • Soak your body like this for a minimum of 20 minutes. Most likely (but this is not always the case) you will be prompted to urinate, so be prepared to get out of the tub from time to time, prepare some warm towels if you can, and then immediately go back to the bathtub.

  • Use only Epsom salts for the first 2 times you do them, so you’ll better understand how you feel afterward and you’ll know that you can attribute those sensations to the Epsom salts.

  • Initially do not exceed 30 minutes, after when you are used to it you will be able to prolong the bath up to 45 minutes or more if you wish.

  • Be consistent: As with almost all things, results come with consistency so staying in the bathroom for even 20 minutes helps you not to give up, and consequently, you will see more results than if you decided to stay 1 hour but only once every full moon.

How Often Should You Use Epsom Salts For Water Retention?

I just told you that being consistent is the key to seeing results on your water retention using Epsom salts, yes but .. how often should you use them?

As always “In Medio stat virtus”, in short: Don’t overdo it! Two or three times a week is more than enough. I would say that even once a week for 45 minutes might be fine at first. The important thing is not to skip too many baths, you’ll only waste the salt to not see great results.

Okay, you will have relaxed anyway but don’t tell me they don’t work if you do them once a month πŸ™‚ I know, I know … it takes time, but think about your bloated squishy tights and imagine lean beautiful ones instead, you will be more motivated to take a salty bath again!

Doing them more often in my opinion is not necessary. If you really have the time and the desire, alternate them with baths made exclusively with sea salt.

In the summer, the legs of many women who love the sea improve significantly. Why is that? If you love swimming, relaxation, and a tan will make the whole part from the navel down more pleasant to the eye. What makes the real difference is the constant contact with the sea water every day.

Salt draws water by osmosis. What does it mean for women with water retention? That the more the water in contact with our legs is salty, the more the water in the intercellular spaces of our legs will be recalled to the outside and eliminated.

And all this happens through the skin, a bit like when you sweat, but in this case, the loss of fluids occurs right where there is stagnation. The same principle of osmosis, therefore (or at least very similarly) happens with the salts in the bathtub. So the sea salt is good to use every day if you do not have particular problems.

On the other hand, Epsom salts being rich in magnesium, could (and I use conditional because there are few approved studies at the moment) cause some extra side effects such as excessive fatigue, sometimes headaches, and even dysentery, if overused.

These effects occur when there is an excess of magnesium in the body but little is known about the true absorption of these salts by the skin. We can talk mostly because of the countless reports which therefore certainly have a grain of truth.

So caution is a must, once I wanted to overdo it using a lot of salt and soaking for almost 2 hours. Immediately afterward I felt super exhausted and my head was spinning. I haven’t done it anymore and now I have no problems.

How To Prepare Epsom Salts Bandages At Home Easily!


We are not all lucky to have a bathtub to use Epsom salts, but don’t worry because there is an equally valid alternative solution: bandages!

Initially, it takes some organization but once you have all the “tools” you are good to go.

All You Need is:

  • A small/medium-sized basin.
  • Gauze for Bandages: Find them on Amazon (UK) /(US)
  • Old soaked leggings (but the results here may vary depending on the legging, use this solution only if you can’t / want to use the gauze)
  • A waterproof tarp / large plastic bag for garbage for example
  • A Big Towel
  • If it’s winter, even a fleece cover πŸ™‚
  • A bottle of drinking water

If you have no idea which gauze to use, I have these at home, obviously, I took 2 sets, one per leg. Sometimes I prefer to do bandages, especially in summer, so I also have everything I need despite having a bathtub.

How to proceed?

First of all, find a suitable place such as the shower or in any case a place where you are comfortable wetting the floor a bit, then place a carpet or a large towel over it.

Decide where to relax (on a bed or sofa to read for example) and arrange the ready-made plastic bag or sheet, put a towel both above and below to avoid getting everything wet and to stay comfortable.

Bring the bottle of water and everything you need because once settled, you will not be able to move for half an hour.

I also recommend a pit stop at the bathroom in case you get the urge to urinate during the treatment period.

When everything is ready, you can start!

Fill the basin with warm water and dissolve an adequate amount of Epsom salts. I say adequate and I don’t give you a precise measure because it depends on the bowl, but to the eye, I would say at least 2 measuring spoons or if you don’t have the measuring spoons, a full cup.

Taste the water as you would for the bathtub and adjust the quantity like that. Make sure the salt is well dissolved before testing and adding, as you risk putting too much and wasting the salt.

Dip the bandages in the basin and when you remove them, make sure they are not dripping, they must be nicely wet but not dripping all over the place so to speak.

Start at the ankle and, without tightening too much, go up to the upper part of the thigh, rolling the bandage gently, without rushing it.

Make sure that the whole thigh is well covered and repeat the process on the other leg.

Go immediately to the previously arranged position, put the towel on your legs or place them inside the plastic bag and relax for half an hour or 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, remove everything, rinse the bandages immediately and dry thoroughly. I personally do not rinse the salts from my legs with running water, I feel that my skin remains softer if I don’t. But you can see how you feel better and act accordingly.

Immediately put on a moisturizer or good elasticizing almond oil if you have time.

Et voila ‘! Proceed like this for at least 2 times a week and you will find your legs much lighter and gradually less swollen and more rested!

Where To Buy Epsom Salts, Cost & Which Are The Best?

I discovered Epsom salts to fight water retention back in 2006 when I moved to London. At the time, online shopping wasn’t super common yet so I went to the pharmacy and they cost me quite a bit. Today I stock up on 6kg bags each x 2 packs on Amazon. I love the Brand Nortembio and I only use those. They are also convenient price-wise. Here are some references for great quality Epsom Salts to buy on Amazon UK and US

I have tried several brands but only with these do I see 1) More evident results and 2) My skin is super smooth after using them.

Here is the proof that I am a loyal consumer of Nortembio Epsom salts (and this is only for 2021!)

I always buy the pack of 2 because I know I use them so much and it is cheaper. In addition, I keep the buckets and use them as containers of various types, they are very useful.

How Long Does It Take To See Results?

The answer is the one we all hate: IT DEPENDS πŸ™‚ But it’s the right one. It depends on:

  • How much water retention do you have (and if water retention is really what you think you have)
  • The triggering reason for the water retention (do you drink enough? Hormone treatments, pre-period?)
  • What do you mean by “results”: Each of us has a specific idea that may not coincide with the reality of the facts.

Let’s start from a fundamental premise: and that is what I myself consider to be good “results” and what I expect from Epsom salts. As already explained above, the salts act by osmosis therefore they draw the water blocked in your ankles and legs to the outside, eliminating it.

Therefore I expect the salts to make my legs feel lighter and that (depending on the degree of water retention) I will see myself less bloated. Or better still, if the retention is REALLY visible and important (and I am talking about swollen legs and ankles to the naked eye) I can measure the decrease in circumference before and after. In a nutshell: Tangible/measurable results.

This is why some women may think they are not getting results because they start from a situation where they don’t have much water retention! Maybe what they see is a “big” leg but due to other factors that have nothing to do with retention.

Tip: If you want to be 100% certain of how much water retention you have in the pre-cycle or in a certain period of your life, have yourself measured by a nutritionist.

He has special tools that allow him to measure how much fluids trapped in the various parts of the body, including the legs, and he will tell you if and how much you suffer from water retention or if your problem is due to fat excess or other metabolic problems.

I tend to be as scientific as possible (as far as I can clearly) when it comes to evaluating results. And if we start from the wrong premises, it is clear that we will evaluate the results incorrectly.

So, assuming that you are sure you suffer from water retention and you know (more or less) the severity of the condition, the results for those who have a small issue can be seen paradoxically after more time, I would say a few months, while those who clearly suffer from it and water retention is very noticeable, can see some results right away.

My Personal Experience With Epsom Salts:

As already mentioned, I came for 7 uninterrupted months of IVF, full of hormones, I also got pregnant and unfortunately, I lost the baby in the first trimester, so I found myself with VERY pronounced water retention on my thighs.

Since I started using Epsom salts again (they are not recommended during pregnancy so I had to stop), I have seen that after each bath not only my legs and thighs were lighter, a real relief, but also aesthetically the skin was more compact and I noticed less swollen thighs.

My situation was so bad at first that from before to after I measured myself (Tights and knee area) and I had lost almost 2cm! So yes, I can say that they worked very well on me. And they always have.

Even when the retention was not so pronounced and it was barely visible, after a few months I always had the most beautiful smooth legs, compact skin, and virtually no swelling in the critical areas.

Are Epsom Salts Good For Cellulite?

Here in the Bahamas, the salts, in this case marine salts, have helped me keep retention at bay and have acceptable legs.

Ah, the million-dollar question, the one everyone asks me and which, fortunately (or rather, unfortunately) has a very simple and direct answer: NO, Epsom salts do not make cellulite disappear. But do not despair just yet πŸ™‚

What they can do is reduce its visibility by eliminating excess water in your legs. I would have liked to give you some good news but scientifically cellulite and water retention are not the same thing. There is a lot of confusion about it and many confuse the two because, very often,  those who have cellulite also suffer from water retention and vice versa.

Long story short: Cellulite is a real disease that involves connective tissue, fat cells, and microcirculation. Water retention is the tendency to have liquids trapped in fat cells, and in intra and extracellular areas. If you want to have beautiful legs, both problems must be addressed in a targeted manner.

Both start (among other factors) from microcirculation problems, so treatments can often be beneficial for both cellulite and water retention, but not in all cases. In the specific case of Epsom salts, which recall excess water by osmosis, it is clear that they can’t directly help fight cellulite, adipose tissue, or bad microcirculation. This does not mean, however, that they should not be used.

The best way to fight cellulite (and I clearly suffer from it too, I don’t miss anything!) Is to fight it on several fronts, and eliminating water retention often already helps to make cellulite less visible and to prevent it get worse. It always depends on the severity and stage of cellulite, but regarding this specific issue, I will write a special post because there is a lot to say.

Can Epsom Salts Help With Weight Loss?


Here too it depends! As I already explained in the previous part about “when can you see the results”, what do we mean by “weight loss”?

If for “weight loss” you go by watching the number on the scale, then yes, of course. Epsom salts make you lose weight immediately because you lose fluids.

But do they help you lose fat? Precisely what we all want when referring to”weight loss”? Then No, they don’t make you lose fat tissue (alas).

Do they decrease the circumference of the thighs? Here is another “method” to understand if you have lost weight. Yes, in specific cases they can reduce the circumference of the thighs, as happened to me. But because I started from diffuse edema and therefore when I lost fluids, consequently the circumference of the thighs decreased.

But if you mean weight loss as fat loss, the answer is no.

Epsom salts help tremendously for water retention, this is their “job”, and water retention is usually associated with the first stage of cellulite, aggravating it. So I use them consistently. And we should all do it if you don’t have any particular problems.

To conclude on a positive note, let’s always remember this beautiful equation:

Epsom salts = Less water retention = Fewer microcirculation problems (closely connected with cellulite). I would say that if you didn’t know them, they are worth giving them a thought because they truly are an awesome and affordable addition to your leg’s beauty routine!

Have a good bath or bandages all!

Have you ever tried Epsom Salts? Or do you have any questions? Write a comment below!



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