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The Potential Dangers of Epsom Bath Salt and Diabetes

While I reading the ingredient list of a bag of Epsom salt recently, I noticed a warning on the bag that I had never paid attention to before. The warning read something along the lines of "If you have diabetes, please consult with your doctor before using this product." I wanted more information about this warning, so I decided to share what I found.

What is Epsom salt?

Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral salt composed of magnesium and sulfate. It can be found in most grocery stores, pharmacies, wellness stores, and online. Typically, it is added to a bathtub, or it can be added to a small tub of hot water to soak feet in. There have been no clinical trials that prove the benefits of Epsom salt, but it is claimed to provide relief from muscle soreness, aches, pains, headaches, fatigue, and stress. Epsom salt is traditionally unscented, but now you can find it scented with different essentials oils and other fragrances.1 

How can Epsom salt be dangerous for those with diabetes?

There are several potentials dangers of soaking in Epsom salt for those who have type 2 diabetes. One reason is that Epsom salt can cause a drying effect on the skin. This can therefore cause the skin to crack, and leave the broken skin vulnerable to infection. If one already has a scab, cut, callus, or blister on their feet, soaking in an Epsom salt bath can cause these things to break open.2

There is not much direct research or information regarding the direct relationship between type 2 diabetes and Epsom salt, and there are more dangers associated with simply soaking in hot water and type 2 diabetes. Because you would need to add Epsom salt to hot or warm water to use it, this is likely why there was a warning sign on the Epsom salt bag I was reading.

Soaking in hot water with diabetes

It is important to note the potential dangers of soaking in hot water for those who have diabetes. If you experience decreased sensation anywhere on your body, it may be difficult to determine how hot the water is in the bath. This could cause you to burn your skin. After soaking your feet in a bath, your skin will contain increased moisture. If your parts of your body, especially the feet, are not dried properly, this could cause a fungal infection to occur. If a cut or any type of wound breaks open in the bath, it is important to clean and disinfect immediately.2

The soaking takeaway

Before using Epsom bath salts and soaking in a warm bath, it is best to discuss this with your doctor. For some people with type 2 diabetes, it may be okay to take baths and soak the feet. However, for those who have a loss of feeling in the feet or throughout the body, a hot bath can burn your skin if you cannot tell if the temperature is too hot. If you have cuts, sores, calluses, scabs, or blisters, Epsom salt baths can cause these things to break open, and cause new breakages in the skin from its drying effect. If considering using Epsom salt in a bath, it is best to air on the side of caution.

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