Supporters of detox baths claim that detox baths can boost your child’s immunity, eliminate toxins, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, improve mood, and even hasten the body’s absorption of nutrients. Detox baths contain ingredients such as Epsom salts, essential oils, and even baking soda which are said to have natural healing and soothing properties.
Creating a detox bath for your kids and even for yourself is pretty straightforward. There are a few types of detox baths, depending on what your goals are with the bath. Typically, detox baths include some type/s of salt and essential oils. You may also choose to add other items such as aromatic herbs and bath products like soaps and bubble baths.
How Do Detox Baths for Kids Work?
Many kids find detox baths soothing and calming. The heat from a warm bath can also dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow, which helps relax and heal sore muscles. Soaking in a bath as part of a nightly routine may also promote restfulness and better sleep. Studies also show that adding aromatherapeutic essential oils can help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.
The base ingredient of most detox baths for kids is Epsom salt, which have long been used as a home remedy for muscle aches and pains. These salts are composed of magnesium sulfate, which when dissolved in water, split into separate magnesium and sulfate ions. Magnesium is used in many of the body’s biochemical reactions and benefits muscular and nervous functions.
The idea behind it is that the magnesium found in the bathwater is absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream where it serves the body’s systems. However, evidence on this is limited, and some studies advise against transdermal (through the skin) magnesium supplementation.
There is limited research to support claims that detox baths for kids can actually draw toxins out of the body and boost immunity. That being said, it is important to understand that healthy human bodies are naturally efficient at detoxifying and protecting themselves from harmful substances.
The liver metabolizes toxins that enter our bodies and turn them into other substances which can be eliminated through the kidneys and digestive tract, while our lungs allow us to get rid of waste gases each time we exhale. Our skin acts as a barrier that prevents us from absorbing potentially harmful compounds in the environment. Our immune system also performs under a tightly regulated balance to provide us with an appropriate immune response at any given time.
How-To Guide for Detox Baths
Basic Detox Bath for Kids
Many people use Epsom salts to relieve muscle aches and promote recovery. This recipe also contains baking soda, which can help soothe skin itching and inflammation caused by fungal infections and poisonous plants.
- 1-2 cups Epsom Salts
- 2-3 tbsp Baking Soda
- 2-4 drops Essential Oil (if desired)
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Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)
Add all ingredients into a standard tub of warm water and let your child soak for 20 to 30 minutes. No need to rinse off afterward.
Clay Detox Bath
Bentonite clay is formed from aged volcanic ash. It acts as a deep cleanser by flushing out dirt and oil from your skin and pores. Adding the clay to a bath can help treat acne and soothe skin rashes. One study even suggests that it may help soothe diaper rashes in babies.
- ½ cup Bentonite Clay
- 1 cup Epsom Salts
- 2-4 drops Essential Oil (if desired)
In a non-metal bowl, dissolve 1/2 cup bentonite clay in a small amount of warm water. Add the clay mixture, Epsom salts, and essential oil to a standard bath. Let your child soak for at least 20 minutes to allow the clay to do its job. After the bath, a quick rinse in the shower may be needed to remove any clay particles that may be stuck to their skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Bath
Apple cider vinegar is known for its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. The acidity of apple cider vinegar in a detox bath for kids can also help restore the skin’s natural pH balance as well as improve the skin’s protective barrier.
- 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 -4 drops Essential Oil (if desired)
Pour 2 cups of apple cider vinegar into a standard bath. If your child has sensitive skin, reduce the amount of apple cider vinegar in the bath by half. Let your child soak for 20 to 30 minutes. After the bath, a quick rinse in some cool water is advisable.
Note that apple cider vinegar may sometimes have a strong smell that certain essential oils may not mix well with. Test the combination of the essential oil and apple cider vinegar in a small container before adding it to an entire bath.
Ginger Detox Bath
If your kids are cranky or fussy because of a cold, inhaling ginger may clear with congestion and ease an upset stomach. The natural oils in ginger also have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
- 2 tbsp Ground Ginger or 1 and 1/2 tsp Ginger Powder
- 1 cup Epsom Salts
- 2 drops Essential Oil (if desired)
Sprinkle fresh ground ginger or ginger powder into a warm bath and dissolve Epsom salts. Add essential oil if desired. It is normal for the water to turn a yellow or even brown color. Have your child soak in the bath for 20 to 30 minutes. You may need to run the water a few degrees cooler than usual, as ginger has a thermogenic effect which may cause the bath to feel “hotter”.
Essential Oils in Detox Baths for Kids
You may use different essential oils in a detox bath for kids depending on what you would like to achieve with them. Avoid using “hot” essential oils like cinnamon, oregano, and peppermint in baths, as these may cause a burning sensation on the skin. Essential oils must be diluted in a mild carrier oil to around 2.5% before adding them to a bath to protect your kid’s sensitive skin. Do not add essential oils to a detox bath for babies less than 3 months old.
Lavender essential oil can help relieve stress and promote sleep. It may also have some antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Chamomile essential oil is known to have a calming effect and can help with insomnia in children and adults. It can also provide relief from itching and soreness caused by eczema and rashes.
Eucalyptus Oil is great for colds, as it can help clear up congested nasal airways and relieve coughing. It also has some antiseptic and anti-fungal properties.
Tea tree oil has long been used as an acne treatment due to its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Tea tree oil can be harsh on the skin, so it should not be used on babies younger than 6 months old.
Lemon oil has anti-oxidant properties which can help protect skin from free radical exposure. The citrusy scent may also have mood-boosting powers and improve focus. Make sure to wear sunscreen and avoid direct sunlight after using lemon essential oil as the oil may make skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Detox baths for kids are safe and natural and are unlikely to have any adverse effects. However, some people may have sensitivities to certain ingredients found in detox baths. If you are unsure if your child’s skin will react to a certain ingredient, do a patch test first by applying the product on a small patch of clean skin and checking for a reaction.
It’s also crucial to closely monitor them throughout the bath, as there is a risk of the baby swallowing bath water, which could potentially lead to water intoxication, especially if the bath water contains Epsom salts or other bath additives.
If your child starts to shiver or feel dizzy during the detox bath, take them out immediately and dry them off. After a detox bath, make sure to have your child drink plenty of water to replenish fluids.
Detox baths containing Epsom salts should not be used to treat a magnesium deficiency. Consult a doctor if you or your child is showing symptoms of a magnesium deficiency.