Draw yourself a detox bath minus toxic chemicals for a perfect, relaxing soak.
There is something about water and bubbles that is immensely relaxing, that moment when you are immersed in warm soapy water; you are transported to a place of peace and harmony. Having a detox bath not only allows muscles to loosen and improve general well being but also opens the pores of our skin so that dirt and toxins can be released. A detox bath has various health benefits but is bubble bath really the best accompaniment or is the soapiness a reason to bring a tear to your eye?
Many well recognised brands are selling cheap and appealing bubble bath products that contain damaging chemicals and rather than moisturising your skin, could actually irritate and dehydrate and toxify your water. Avoid these chemicals when creating your perfect detox bath.
Some of the ingredients to avoid include; Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). These chemicals are commonly found in shampoos, bubble baths, cleansers and shaving creams as they are very good foaming agents and are great at trapping oil-based dirt, which can be then rinsed away. Although it is save to use, those with sensitive skin may find that they cause irritation and dryness as it strips the skin of its natural oils. Consequently we must use conditioners or moisturisers after use in order for our hair to be left shiny and for our skin to feel soft again.
‘Caring coconut’, ‘soothing rose’ and ‘avocado and wild strawberry’ are just some of the tempting descriptions that we all fall for when shopping for bubble bath, they sound so harmless and delightful, right? Wrong! Synthetic scents can be found in all types of body care and cosmetic products as well as in cleaning detergents. They enhance the whole user experience of the product as well as masking possible odours created by other ingredients.
But many studies have linked artificial fragrances to respiratory conditions as they can trigger inflammatory responses by our organs when we inhale the toxic fumes and are known to create allergy like symptoms such as watery eyes, skin rashes and runny nose. The chemicals can disrupt the release of hormones in our bodies which can lead to far more serious health impacts like; decreased sperm count, birth defects and even cancer.
As human beings, we are naturally attracted to colour – the colour of the product can make it look so much more attractive to use for example; citrus colours like green and orange which gives products a fresh and clean perception. Again, synthetic colourings are very hard to avoid as they can be found in all types of skin and body products that you will most likely use on a daily basis. However the ingredients that make up synthetic colours are extracted from toxic chemicals like petroleum, acetone, tar, lead and arsenic.
Rather than leaving your skin squeaky skin, they are known for doing the complete opposite as they can deposit and build up on your skin, leaving pores blocked and making your skin more prone to breakouts. Some of the other dangers that artificial colours have on our bodies include; reproductive organ disruption, skin irritation and as with artificial fragrance; the potential risk of cancer.
Use these natural alternatives
So what can you use instead of bubble bath to create a detoxing bath? Here are some slightly unusual but incredibly beneficial suggestions that you should try adding to your bath, the next time you decide to take a soak.
We all know that moment when you emerge from the sea, sand particles get squished between your toes and cling onto your wet skin, seaweed is plastered to your legs and you can feel the sting from the salt in your eyes and the texture of it in your hair. People always seem to have a love-hate relationship with salt and seaweed but both have extremely nourishing effects on your skin.
Sea salt or epsom salts are the most popular types of salt that you can add to your bath, to recreate that relaxing setting that your bubble bath once did. There are various sorts of sea salts, made up of magnesium, potassium, bromide and calcium nutrients, which range in flavour and colour depending on which sea they are sourced from. Epsom salt isn’t actually a salt but is a natural alternative, occurring of a pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulphate.
Both types have similar benefits on our body and skin. Salt has anti-inflammatory properties meaning that it is effective at treating aches in joints and muscles; it instantly soothes dry and itchy skin, consequently improving skin hydration, texture and tone and can prevent bacteria and toxins from flourishing because the microbes cannot survive in an alkaline environment which is created by salt. Magnesium also assists our brain to produce neurotransmitters that induce sleep and reduce stress, so taking a salt bath will help to relieve anxiety and get you a good’s night sleep.
Seaweed thrives in sea water and from the above we have found out that; salt from the sea is made up of many nutrients. Seaweed acts as a sponge, absorbing all the goodness that is in the sea water, therefore having a seaweed bath has much of the similar health benefits that taking a salt bath does. By soaking your skin in warm water, the pores of your skin open and are able to absorb all the vitamins and minerals that the seaweed releases.
These include vitamin K which contributes to blood clotting and bone metabolism, B12 which supports the making of DNA and helps keep our body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and folic acid which decreases the risk of high blood pressure. So once you get past the slippery and murky green colour, there are some great benefits to taking a seaweed soak!
Did you know that drinking brewed herbs is just one of their many uses? There are three ways to take a herbal tea bath; the first is to soak 5-6 tea bags in your bath water, the second is to make a pot of herbal tea and then pour it into your bath once it has brewed and the third is to make your own substitute tea bag by filling a bag made of natural fabric with loose tea and adding that to your bath. Obviously there are many different flavours of tea and each help to detox our body in different ways when we consume them. But these benefits work even faster when we take a soak in the herbs as our skin directly absorbs the nutrients.
Green tea is filled with antioxidants that stop or delay the damaging of cells and contains vitamin B3 which helps to improve the condition of our skin; hops, lavender and chamomile tea are known for their calming effect and will help to bring about a restful sleep and nettle and ginger promote the circulation of blood flow. Some can help to refresh the mind such as peppermint, sage and lemon flavoured tea and rose tea has the ability to tighten our skin without drying it out.
Yes oatmeal, as in the type you might have for breakfast. Easy oatmeal bath methods involve filling an old clean sock with oats and pouring water into the opening of the sock, over your bath water or tie a knot at the opening of the sock and let it soak in the bath water. A milky liquid, full of detoxing goodness, will seep through the fabric of the sock. It is best to use organically grown oats as there will be less risk of skin irritants that could be potentially present in instant or non-organic oats.
Oatmeal has long been known for its healing properties. The plant itself is known as Avena Sativa and is packed with vitamins A, B and E as well as calcium, starches, magnesium and ferulic acid. Oatmeal has been used to help relieve many skin conditions including; dry skin, eczema, chicken pox, allergic reactions, insect bites and dermatitis. The compounds it is made from help to keep skin moisturised as they create a protective barrier, preventing loss of water through our skin. Some of other health benefits include; cleansing our skin as oatmeal prevents pores from becoming clogged and the anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce swelling and redness from breakouts.
So the next time you go to your local beauty and health retailer, perhaps take a second look at that bright pink, bubblegum, bubble bath you just popped into your basket and question whether this will really help to create a detox bath? Save your skin the stress and do a bit of experimenting with one of the above alternatives! Or if none of them take your fancy, choose to shop more consciously and spend your money on natural, plant based or organic products.