Epsom Salt Lotion
This isn’t a food recipe, but it’s something I make at home that I thought would be useful to share with others. Epsom salt baths are sometimes recommended for autistic children (see this FAQ from the Epsom Salt Council for a brief explanation why,) but the baths have never been successful in my house. For one thing, they dry out the skin and leave a gross white residue. For another, if epsom salts are taken orally they have a strong laxative effect, and my kids are both habitual bathwater-drinkers. Yes, it’s disgusting. Yes, we work hard to make them stop. But one stray mouthful, and it’s all over.
You can buy expensive sulfate lotions online, but as I’m here to show you, it’s very easy to make your own for a fraction of the cost. These are epsom salts, AKA magnesium sulfate. This giant four-pound bag was like $2.00.
Put 8 Tablespoons in a clear glass bowl. (This is the same as 1/2 cup, but I can’t seem to scoop that out of the bag without spilling the stupid salts everywhere, so I use a smaller measuring spoon.)
Add 3/4 cup of water, and stir. The quantity of salts you want to mix up is going to depend on the amount of lotion you’re starting with. My lotion comes in 16 oz. bottles; so if yours is 12 oz., use 6 TBS salts in 1/2 cup water, etc.
All of the salts need to be completely dissolved. This is why it’s a good idea to use a clear glass bowl, so you can really see how you’re doing. Pop it in the microwave for one minute at a time to help it along, and keep stirring. Don’t add any more water, we’re going for supersaturation here.
That’s better. You can still see a few stray crystals, but I stirred it some more after I took this picture, I promise.
Now just dump in your lotion. It’s best to use the thickest lotion you can find, but a lot of the thickest creams have gluten in them (like my favorite brand that I used to use before they changed their formula… jerks.) The thicker ones also tend to be oil-based, and this will not work for our mixture, because the oil and water will want to separate in the container. So make sure the lotion you choose doesn’t have things like “petroleum” or “mineral oil” high on the ingredients list.
Me, I’ve kind of given up on finding a really thick GFCF lotion, and I’ve just been using Baby Magic since my old brand added gluten (did I mention they’re jerks?) The final product is kinda watery, but it gets the job done. If you do know of a nice thick GFCF lotion, please post a comment and let me know! You can, of course, put less saltwater in your lotion to begin with, but you won’t be getting as much bang for your buck when you apply the lotion to your skin.
You’re going to end up with almost twice the volume of lotion that you started with, so it’s not going to fit back in the original bottle. I like to store it in these wide-mouthed tubs instead, which are just old containers of my thick lotion with the labels peeled off. (Peeled off angrily? Maybe.) Any airtight container will do, but I wouldn’t recommend anything with a pump. Over time, even water-based lotions are going to separate from the salts a little, and pumps will tend to clog. But just give your container a good shake every once in awhile and you’ll be fine.