When you need to unwind and de-stress, there's something about a nice, hot soak that can really help. But instead of just sitting in plain, hot water, try adding ingredients to your bathwater that can soothe your skin and body in addition to your mind. Besides a glittery bath bomb though, what types of ingredients are best for your skin and body? To find out some options, I emailed with NYC-based esthetician, Jordana Mattioli.
Turns out, you don't have to go for some wild concoctions to turn your bath into a skin or body treatment. Rather, you can just add one or two ingredients— some you may already have in your kitchen. Regardless of what you add though, Mattioli recommends dry brushing before stepping into your bath. This, she says, will help boost your circulation and stimulate your lymphatic system. Not to mention it will also exfoliate your skin and can be stress-relieving— a great way to start your soak. Once in your bath, Mattioli also recommends soaking for at least 15 minutes so you can really reap the benefits of your additives. So you can help treat concerns like dry or itchy skin, body breakouts, and muscle aches, here are six ingredients to try adding to your bathwater:
1. Colloidal Oatmeal
While you can totally use regular, ground oats in your bathwater, Mattioli says, "Nothing beats colloidal oatmeal for itchy skin because of its skin-soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits." And hey, even though you can't also eat colloidal oatmeal, at least it tends to come in ready-to-add-to-your-bath-type packaging. You know, for when you kind of want to DIY a skin treatment but don't really want to go through the trouble.
According to Mattioli, because milk has fats, proteins, and is a natural form of lactic acid, it will help not only hydrate but also gently smooth and soften your skin. While you can add a liquid or powdered version to your bathwater, Mattioli suggests using two cups of full-fat milk instead of low-fat or skim so you can optimize the hydrating, smoothing, and softening benefits.
Honey also has skin-smoothing benefits thanks to its amino acids and antioxidants, says Mattioli. You can add honey to your bath on its own or combined with milk for extra soft and hydrated skin. Mattioli suggests dissolving one cup of honey in hot water before adding it to your bath so it evenly distributes, and using a darker honey because the darker the color, the more antioxidants it contains.
"Bentonite clay baths are excellent for healing body breakouts and overall detoxing by pulling the toxins, bacteria, and oils from your skin," says Mattioli. Because clay has a tendency to become clumpy when mixed with water, she recommends thoroughly mixing one cup of clay in warm water before slowly adding it to your bath.
6. Dead Sea Salt
Dead sea salt contains magnesium, potassium, calcium chloride, and bromides, which all have muscle-relaxing properties, explains Mattioli. So to soothe muscle aches, increase circulation, and calm the nervous system, she recommends dissolving about two cups into your bathwater.
Because just one ingredient can transform your bath from relaxing to healing.