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? 🙂
There are just a bunch of lucky ladies who have never had this problem, whether because of our period, genetics, or bad luck. 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 a solution that works. Still, 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:
- What are Epsom salts and their benefits Against water retention
- How to prepare a bath with Epsom salts the right way
- How often to use them
- How to make bandages Epsom salts if you don’t have a bathtub
- How much do they cost, where to buy them and which ones are the best
- When can you expect to see some results
- Epsom Salts Against Cellulite: Do They Work?
- Do Epsom salts also make you lose weight?
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 🙂
Epsom salts are muscle relaxants with various benefits, like counteracting water retention. 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!
So, now we know what Epsom salts are for and that they are great if you suffer from water retention, but how to get the most out of them? There you go. Below are 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 (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 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, 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 water bottle to stay hydrated and drink 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. You won’t be staring at your cellulite, hoping it will magically dissolve in front of your eyes, because there will be a 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 two times you do them, so you’ll better understand how you feel afterward and know that you can attribute those sensations to the Epsom salts.
- Initially, do not exceed 30 minutes. After you are used to it, you can 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 consistency is the key to seeing results in 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 not to 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 🙂 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, the whole part from the navel down will be more pleasant to the eye. What makes the real difference is the constant contact with the seawater 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. Therefore, the same principle of osmosis (or at least very similar) happens with the salts in the bathtub. So sea salt is good to use every day if you do not have particular problems.
On the other hand, Epsom salts, 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 🙂
- A bottle of drinking water
I have these at home (If you have no idea which gauze to buy). I took two 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, 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) and arrange the ready-made plastic bag or sheet. Put a towel above and below to avoid getting everything wet and stay comfortable.
Bring a bottle of water and everything you need because you cannot move for half an hour once settled.
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 two measuring spoons or a full cup if you don’t have the measuring spoons.
Taste the water as you would for the bathtub and adjust the quantity. 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 ensure they are not dripping when removing them. 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 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, 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 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 at least two times a week, and you will find your legs much lighter, gradually less swollen, and more rested!
Where To Buy Epsom Salts, Cost & Which Are The Best?
When I moved to London, I discovered Epsom salts to fight water retention in 2006. At the time, online shopping wasn’t common, so I went to the pharmacy, which cost me quite a bit.
Today I stocked 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 🙂 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: what I consider good “results” and what I expect from Epsom salts. As explained above, 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 they see a “big” leg due to other factors unrelated to 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 to measure how much fluids are trapped in the various parts of the body, including the legs. 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. You know (more or less) the severity of the condition. The results for small issues can be seen paradoxically after more time. I would say a few months. Those who suffer from it visibly and have noticeable water retention can see some results immediately.
My Personal Experience With Epsom Salts:
As already mentioned, I came for seven uninterrupted months of IVF. I was taking heavy quantities of hormones, and I also got pregnant. Unfortunately, I lost the baby in the first trimester, but I still had 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 water retention was not pronounced and barely visible, I always had the most beautiful smooth legs, compact skin, and virtually no swelling in the critical areas after a few months.
Are Epsom Salts Good For Cellulite?
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 🙂
They can reduce cellulite’s 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. 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 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 suffer from it too. I don’t miss anything! It is to fight it on several fronts, and eliminating water retention often already helps make cellulite less visible and prevent it from worsening. 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 explained in the previous part, “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 lost fluids, the circumference of the thighs decreased.
But the answer is no if you mean weight loss as fat loss.
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 don’t know them, they are worth trying. They are an awesome and affordable addition to your leg’s beauty routine!
Have a good bath or bandages!
Have you ever tried Epsom Salts? Or do you have any questions? Write a comment below!