Sometimes, a bruise may leave us feeling self-conscious. With its grotesque colors during healing or the embarrassing story behind how we got the bruise, we try to cover it up as best as we can. While smearing cover-up over a bruise can help to conceal it, some people claim putting salt on a newly-formed welt will help quicken the healing process and may even eliminate the need to cover it up. Will a shake of salt really do the trick to banish that nasty bruise? Let’s find out!
Thankfully, most of the time the pain of a bruise is temporary; however, the bruise itself tends to linger longer on our skin. The informational website How Stuff Works explains, “bruising appears when tiny blood vessels, or capillaries, break due to a blow to the skin,” and even when the pain of the bruise is over, the black and blue, green, or yellow color remains.
Can Epsom Salt Help with Bruises?
Ice is the most popular choice for treating a bruise, but some people swear by salt. Magnesium sulfate, or Epsom salt, is a crystal-like substance that is often used as a bath salt and can be bought in almost any drug store. According to the health and fitness website Live Strong, “users of Epsom Salt claim it functions by drying out the skin and helping the muscles relax. A small amount of the magnesium sulfate […] is absorbed through the skin allowing for the release of tension,” and may help in easing the pain of a bruise.
On Doctor Oz, it is claimed that “Epsom salt can help to relieve sore muscles after workouts […using a] ‘paste’ by dissolving a teaspoon of Epsom salt into a cup of hot water and cooling the solution in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.” So, if Epsom salt can get deep into our muscles to relieve tension, it should also be able to lessen a bruise, right? While a 2006 study conducted by the University of Birmingham in England shows “that Epsom salt is absorbed into the body after soaking,” it is still not proven that the bruise will actually be eased, according to Live Strong.
While there is little research on the validity behind salt as a bruise-easer, some websites, such as the do-it-yourself website wikiHow, still stands by salt, claiming it works wonders. Although there is no research to back up this statement, wikiHow suggests to “rub moistened Epsom salts on the sore place and if possible keep a poultice of damp Epsom salts on the area for about 1 hour. The muscles will feel much better and what would have been a bad bruise will fade quickly and be far less painful.” It is worth a shot, and you can always have a nice, relaxing bath with the extra Epsom salt afterwards.
Verdict: Fiction. There is insufficient research backing up salt’s ability to ease a bruise. It seems an ice pack or the frozen bag of peas in the freezer should still be the remedy of choice for bruising! If you are still interested in trying Epsom salt on your bumps, or in your bath, be sure to talk with your doctor before using.