Epsom Salt Vs. Magnesium Flakes: Which is Better?

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What’s better than a nice warm bath? A nice warm bath with magnesium. You’ve probably been told to take a warm Epsom salt bath to ease sore muscles or for relaxation. But did you know there’s another magnesium bath alternative on the block? Yep, magnesium flakes have a lot of the same benefits. 

But I know you’re wondering, “Epsom salt vs. magnesium flakes. Which is better?” The short answer is, “it depends.” Epsom salt can work better for some people, while magnesium flakes are a better option for others. 

woman adding epsom salts or magnesium flakes to bath

Benefits of Magnesium

Most people think of magnesium baths to soothe or prevent muscle soreness. But magnesium is an essential mineral that has so many other benefits. In fact, magnesium plays an important role in over 300 biochemical functions in the human body.

This powerhouse mineral helps reduce inflammation, regulates blood pressure, promotes skin hydration, improves circulation, and removes heavy metals and toxins from the body at a cellular level. But despite being such a necessity, magnesium deficiency is one of the most common mineral deficiencies. 

That’s why supplementing with different forms of magnesium can help you meet your daily intake. And the good news is that aside from taking magnesium supplements orally, magnesium salt baths or even a foot soak may also help. Getting magnesium through your skin, or transdermal dermal absorption, is an easy way to get more of the natural mineral compound and increase your magnesium levels.

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Epsom Salt: The OG of Bath Soaks

Since ancient times, Epsom salts have been the holy grail of relaxation. These salts are actually magnesium sulfate crystals. Epsom salt baths are known for their ability to ease muscle pain, reduce stress, and even aid in getting a good night’s sleep. Epsom salts are beloved for their affordability and widespread availability.

Magnesium Flakes: The New Contender

Magnesium flakes the fresher face in the world of bath salts. They’re comparatively new to the bath salt world. Since these flakes contain magnesium chloride, they’re believed to be more readily absorbed by the body than the magnesium in Epsom salt. Magnesium flakes enthusiasts claim quicker relief for sore muscles and more efficient magnesium absorption.

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Magnesium Chloride vs. Magnesium Sulfate: What’s the Main Difference?

The key difference between the two is their chemical composition. The molecular structure of magnesium chloride consists of one magnesium ion and two chloride ions. Whereas magnesium sulfate’s partner compound is sulfate. But the battle between magnesium chloride and magnesium sulfate is more than a molecular tango. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Absorption Rate: Magnesium chloride, the star of magnesium flakes, is purported to be more easily absorbed by the skin compared to magnesium sulfate in Epsom salt. This quicker absorption might offer faster relief for muscle aches and stress.
  • Purity Levels: Magnesium flakes, containing magnesium chloride, are often considered purer than Epsom salts, which may contain additional impurities. This higher purity is thought to enhance the relaxation benefits.
  • Bioavailability: Magnesium chloride is believed to have higher bioavailability, meaning the body may utilize and benefit from it more readily compared to magnesium sulfate.
  • Skin Sensitivities: Young children and people with sensitive skin or skin conditions might also find magnesium bath flakes to be a better option. Some people can be more easily irritated by magnesium bath salts due to the sulfates and other potential minerals found in Epsom salts. 

Epsom salt vs. Magnesium flakes: Which One Reigns Supreme?

Choosing between an Epsom salt bath and a magnesium flake bath isn’t just about the magnesium type; it’s about your overall health goals:

  • Affordability and Accessibility: Epsom salts are easily available and generally more wallet-friendly compared to magnesium flakes, which might be pricier and trickier to find.
  • Rapid Absorption: If you’re seeking quick relief and potentially better absorption, magnesium chloride flakes might be worth the extra cost.
close up shot of a bowl of himalayan salt
Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

The Final Word

When it comes down to it, whether you’re team Epsom salt or team magnesium flakes, the ultimate decision hinges on personal preference and your specific needs. Epsom salts offer an affordable and easy-to-find option. 

Magnesium flakes, on the other hand, might provide quicker relief and potentially better absorption. But they do come with a heftier price tag. Personally, I prefer to alternate between the two options as I’ve experienced benefits from using both.

Whichever path you choose, remember that consistency is key in reaping the benefits of these magnesium-rich baths. So go ahead, draw that bath, add your chosen magnesium booster, and let the relaxation begin. A little self-care goes a long way when it comes to a relaxing bath or even a foot bath.

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