How to Treat a Skin Infection With a Warm Soak

The Benefits of Warm Soaks Using Epsom Salts

Woman relaxing in bath in modern bathroom
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Warm soaks aren't just relaxing, detoxifying spa treatments; they're often used to treat infections. In terms of actually treating and healing the skin, warm soaks are especially effective. A warm soak can speed up the healing process, reduce pain associated with infection or inflammation, and promote drainage if there is pus involved.

Benefits of a Warm Soak

Warm soaks have got to be one of the most underrated methods of treating skin issues and healing infections.

They're a simple, extremely effective remedy. Warm soaks help to heal infection because the hot water increases blood flow to the affected area, bringing in more oxygen, nutrients and white blood cells. If taking antibiotics to treat infection, the increased blood flow also ensures that the antibiotic is sent to the affected area.

Treating With Epsom Salts

Plain water alone can actually irritate the skin, particularly if there is exposed tissue. It's best to mix something with the water. One extremely popular soak ingredient are Epsom salts. Epsom salts are crystals of hydrated magnesium sulfate; an extremely detoxifying compound. Epsom salts are incredibly absorbent and effective in removing toxins and impurities, making it a very popular bath salt.

Epsom salts provide an excellent outer treatment, but they should never be ingested. When ingested Epsom salts can spike magnesium levels, which can result in a magnesium overdose and even death.

How to Make an Epsom Salt Soak

Only the affected area needs to be soaked. If the body has multiple affected areas a bath might be necessary, but a washbasin is typically large enough to soak hands and feet. The affected area should be soaked in warm water for no longer than 10 to 15 minutes at a time, although the warm soak can be repeated as often as necessary; usually three to five times a day.

Use a washbasin or bowl for a warm soak if the affected area is on the hands or feet. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once it reaches a boil, pour the water into a washbasin or bowl. Wait for the water to cool to a warm, comfortable temperature and add 1/2 cup of Epsom salts. Stir the water until the salt dissolves and soak for 10 to 15 minutes. After soaking rinse the affected area and pat dry.

For parts of the body that can't be soaked in a washbasin or bowl, use the bathtub. Fill the tub with warm water and add 2 cups of Epsom salt. Stir the water to evenly distribute the salt and soak for at least 10 minutes. Rinse the body after soaking and pat skin dry.

Epsom salts tend to dehydrate the skin. Apply a prescribed topical cream to the affected area and a body lotion to the rest of the body to moisturize the skin.

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