Bath salts
The term bath salts refers to a range of water-soluble, usually inorganic
Inorganic compound
Inorganic compounds have traditionally been considered to be of inanimate, non-biological origin. In contrast, organic compounds have an explicit biological origin. However, over the past century, the classification of inorganic vs organic compounds has become less important to scientists,...

 solid products designed to be added to a bath. They are said to improve cleaning, improve the experience of bathing
Bathing is the washing or cleansing of the body in a fluid, usually water or an aqueous solution. It may be practised for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapeutic purposes or as a recreational activity....

, and serve as a vehicle for cosmetic agents. Bath salts have been developed which mimic the properties of natural mineral baths or hot springs
Hot Springs
Hot Springs may refer to:* Hot Springs, Arkansas** Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas*Hot Springs, California**Hot Springs, Lassen County, California**Hot Springs, Modoc County, California**Hot Springs, Placer County, California...


Such salts include:
  • magnesium sulfate
    Magnesium sulfate
    Magnesium sulfate is a chemical compound containing magnesium, sulfur and oxygen, with the formula MgSO4. It is often encountered as the heptahydrate epsomite , commonly called Epsom salt, from the town of Epsom in Surrey, England, where the salt was distilled from the springs that arise where the...

     (Epsom salts)
  • sodium chloride
    Sodium chloride
    Sodium chloride, also known as salt, common salt, table salt or halite, is an inorganic compound with the formula NaCl. Sodium chloride is the salt most responsible for the salinity of the ocean and of the extracellular fluid of many multicellular organisms...

     (table salt)
  • sodium bicarbonate
    Sodium bicarbonate
    Sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate is the chemical compound with the formula Na HCO3. Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda . The natural mineral form is...

     (baking soda)
  • sodium hexametaphosphate
    Sodium hexametaphosphate
    Sodium hexametaphosphate is a hexamer of composition 6. Sodium hexametaphosphate of commerce is typically a mixture of polymeric metaphosphates, of which the hexamer is one, and is usually the compound referred to by this name. It is more correctly termed sodium polymetaphosphate. It is prepared...

     (Calgon, amorphous/glassy sodium metaphosphate)
  • sodium sesquicarbonate
    Sodium sesquicarbonate
    Sodium sesquicarbonate Na3H2, which is a double salt of sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate, and has a needle-like crystal structure...

  • borax
    Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. It is usually a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.Borax has a wide variety of uses...


Although, chemically speaking, many organic substances commonly used in bath water (such as soap
In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.IUPAC. "" Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. . Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford . XML on-line corrected version: created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN...

 and many others surfactants) are salts, these are not referred to as "bath salts", as they are not used in the form of hard, crystalline granules. On the other hand, some organic salts such as sodium citrate
Sodium citrate
Trisodium citrate has the chemical formula of Na3C6H5O7. It is sometimes referred to simply as sodium citrate, though sodium citrate can refer to any of the three sodium salts of citric acid. It possesses a saline, mildly tart flavor. For this reason, citrates of certain alkaline and alkaline earth...

 can be used in bath salts.

Fragrances and colors are often added to bath salts, and one purpose of salts is as a vehicle or diluent
A diluent is a diluting agent.Certain fluids are too viscous to be pumped easily or too dense to flow from one particular point to the other. This can be problematic, because it might not be economically feasible to transport such fluids in this state.To ease this restricted movement, diluents...

 to extend fragrances, which are otherwise often too potent for convenient measurement or use. Other common additives to bath salts are oils (agglomerating the salts to form amorphous granules, the product being called "bath beads" or "bath oil beads"), foaming agents, and effervescent agents.

Although bath salts are often packaged for retail in windowless boxes or bags, the more attractive versions may also be displayed in transparent containers. For instance, the needlelike appearance of sodium sesquicarbonate crystals makes them attractive for such purposes.

History of bath salts

The earliest systematic exposition of the different kinds of salts, its uses, and the methods of its extraction was published in China around 2700 years BCE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

. Hippocrates
Hippocrates of Cos or Hippokrates of Kos was an ancient Greek physician of the Age of Pericles , and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine...

 encouraged his fellow healers to make use of salt water to heal various ailments by immersing their patients in sea water. The ancient Greeks continued this, and in 1753 English author and physician Dr. Charles Russel published "The Uses of Sea Water".

Effects of bath salts

Salts change the osmotic balance of the water so that less water is absorbed by the skin via osmosis
Osmosis is the movement of solvent molecules through a selectively permeable membrane into a region of higher solute concentration, aiming to equalize the solute concentrations on the two sides...

. Some bath salts such as phosphates have a detergent action which softens calloused skin and aids in exfoliation
Exfoliation (cosmetology)
Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin's outermost surface, and has been used for many years to help maintain skin. Exfoliation is involved in the process of all facials, during microdermabrasion or chemical peels at medical spas...

. Some bath salts act as water softeners and change the way soap
In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.IUPAC. "" Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. . Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford . XML on-line corrected version: created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN...

 rinses. Some confusion may arise after a first experience with soft water. Hard water
Hard water
Hard water is water that has high mineral content . Hard water has high concentrations of Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions. Hard water is generally not harmful to one's health but can pose serious problems in industrial settings, where water hardness is monitored to avoid costly breakdowns in boilers, cooling...

 does not lather well with soap and can leave a sticky feeling. Soft water lathers better than hard water but feels slippery for a longer time during rinsing of soap, even though the soap is coming off faster, because the soap remains soluble.

High concentrations of salts increase the density
The mass density or density of a material is defined as its mass per unit volume. The symbol most often used for density is ρ . In some cases , density is also defined as its weight per unit volume; although, this quantity is more properly called specific weight...

 of the water and increase buoyancy
In physics, buoyancy is a force exerted by a fluid that opposes an object's weight. In a column of fluid, pressure increases with depth as a result of the weight of the overlying fluid. Thus a column of fluid, or an object submerged in the fluid, experiences greater pressure at the bottom of the...

 which makes the body feel lighter in the bath. Very high concentrations of salts in water are used in Isolation tank#Flotation therapy.

See also

  • Heubad
    Heubad is an Austrian traditional haybath with more than 200 years of history. Bathers immersethemselves in hay which releases heat from biodecomposition. Coumarincompounds from the hay are said to have beneficial effects on thebathers' blood flow....

  • MDPV - psychoactive drug, marketed in the United States as "bath salts"
  • Mud bath
    Mud bath
    A mud bath is a bath of mud, commonly from areas where hot spring water can combine with volcanic ash. Mud baths have existed for thousands of years, and can be found now in high-end spas in many countries of the world....

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.