Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Are you a “Bath Person”?

I am definitely a bath person. There is nothing I love more than soaking in a hot tub of water. Many days in the coldest winter months, if I can’t get warm inside my home, I’ll take a bath simply to get my core body temperate up. Sometimes I use products, sometimes I don’t. But taking baths, for me, is a part of my life that I truly enjoy—often.

For an inexpensive bubble bath, you can use bath gel in place of more expensive bubble bath products. Bath gels contain ingredients that will foam up just like a bubble bath product but for a fraction of the cost. My health food store sells its own brand of bath and shower gel for under $3 for a 12 ounce bottle. You may get six to eight baths with this, compared to many bubble bath products that cost ten times as much. However, I do have an array of actual bubble products; each one with different scents and actions. I’ll use bath gel in a pinch or if I’m traveling without a true bubble bath product.

If you find you’re sensitive to foaming bath products, get one made for young children. Why? Because the ingredients in these infant bath products should be more gentle for more sensitive baby skin. Try one and see if you have a better tolerance to this gentler product so you can relax and enjoy a bubbly bath.

I never use bubble bath products that are alkaline—and neither should you. Here is another good use for your pH test papers. Many bubble bath products have alkaline ingredients in them; these ingredients help produce the foaming action, similar to bar soap. Some of these ingredients include sodium laureth-13 carboxylate and disodium laureth sulfosuccinate. If your bath water becomes alkaline, this not only will cause your body’s skin to get dry and flaky (just like your facial skin will with alkaline soap), but women have the added worry of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs) from sitting in an alkaline bubble bath.

I can remember as a kid loving my Mr. Bubble® baths. Even now when I see the box at the store, it triggers happy memories for me. But I also remember having chronic UTIs, no doubt caused at least in part from my wonderful Mr. Bubble. I tested Mr. Bubble and a few other commonly found bubble bath products. The results were as I expected: they all turned the pH papers dark purple. In other words, the test showed they were alkaline.

The above mentioned shower gel I have used as bubble bath is acidic. I checked the label, and it has few ingredients (that’s a good sign) and although it contains sodium laureth sulfate, which is a very common soap-like ingredient derived from coconut, it did not contain either of the alkaline ingredients listed above. Test your bath products to ensure the skin over your entire body is being pampered with the proper products. Then draw a bath and relax!

Aveeno® has two bath products for dry skin. One is called “Daily Moisturizing Bath with 43% Natural Colloidal Oatmeal.” (Colloidal means crushed.) It is meant to help give soothing relief for dry, itchy skin. It is also fragrance-free. The second product is “Soothing Bath Treatment with 100% Natural Colloidal Oatmeal” (there are no other ingredients). Oatmeal helps relieve itchy, irritated skin due to poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac rashes, insect bites, eczema, prickly heat, chicken pox, hives, and sunburn. Both products are powders and come in individual packets. The average cost is close to one dollar per bath, and eight packets come in each box.

In the winter I use these products a lot. The oatmeal really helps to moisturize the skin, thus taking the itch of dry, winter skin away. Be sure to clean the tub after the water has drained out. These as well as most bath products leave a slippery substance in the tub, so be careful!

Why is it beneficial to soak in Epson salts? Is there anything else that is good to put in my bath that is relaxing and will help sore muscles?

Epson salts are high in magnesium. This mineral is a well-known muscle relaxer. Adding these mineral salts to your bath can really help relieve sore, aching muscles. Even if you are just tired after a long day, soaking in a hot (not too hot) salt bath can help to revive your body and relax your mind.

Many companies make mineral salt bath products. Many of them are predominately Epson salts along with other ingredients. You can get plain Epson salt very inexpensively at the grocery or drug store, then add some essential oils to your bath. This will give you the benefits of the salts and the essential oils, which are therapeutic and wonderfully aromatic, without spending a lot of money.

Adding essential oils to your bath can have a wonderful effect not only on your body but on your psyche as well. Lavender is relaxing; birch and juniper are both good for soothing aching muscles; and any of the mints (wintergreen, peppermint, spearmint) are invigorating and energizing. Usually, 10-15 drops of assorted oils is what you would add to your bath water.

Note: Essential oils are lighter than water, so they may float on the surface of your bath water. When you are soaking in the tub, wherever your skin meets the water you may get a concentration of essential oils. I recommend once you have stepped into the tub to then splash the water around, helping to disperse the oils. If you are using strong oils like birch or peppermint, you really need to use this splashing technique or you may end up causing skin irritation. I usually add the drops as I’m filling the tub. This seems to disperse the oils. Even using 15 drops of peppermint hasn’t irritated my skin.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a “bath person,” try a relaxing soak now and then. Perhaps you will become a convert! For a great (and my favorite) bath product plus a few more helpful articles, see:
This is my kind of bubble bath!