Lisa Armstrong on Epsom salts
I’VE JUST SEEN the future, beautywise – and it looks remarkably like something from the ’50s. I’m talking about Epsom salts. Not that anyone calls them that any more, not in the health and beauty industry. Maybe it sounds too dated. Besides, the exciting ingredient isn’t Epsom, but magnesium, which is becoming so buzzy it can’t be long before it has its own Youtube channel.
Here are some of the things magnesium could do: significantly ease joint and muscle pain, dramatically increase your absorption of calcium, stabilise hormonal imbalances and lower cortisol production, thereby potentially helping to reduce acne.
I say ‘could’, which sounds autious, but being a mineral supplement rather than one of those scorched-earth drug compounds, it won’t perform all these services for everyone. It did wonders when I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, a sneakily painful condition in which one bone in your vertebra slips forward over the bone below until all hell breaks loose. It’s common among middle-aged women apparently. Not that this is in any way consoling.
I massaged Life-flo Pure Magnesium Oil Spray (£16.50 for 236ml) into my skin, soaked in Life-flo Magnesium Bath Oil (£14 for 473ml , both victoriahealth. com) and flung in Epsom salts for good measure (Epsom salts are as cheap as, well, the bad table salt none of us is supposed to buy any more. I got mine on Amazon), then waited for nothing to happen. It was just magnesium, after all. How could it do what cortisol injections hadn’t managed? But it did – 95 per cent pain diminishment. So, I’m a convert. (It did nothing for my mother, however.)
At the Marion Gluck Clinic, where they specialise in out-of-whack hormones, Megamag Muscleze (£31.25 for 162g, nutriadvanced.co.uk) is a favourite half an hour before bedtime for promoting sleep. I now take it with 1-3mg of melatonin to combat jet lag – Gabriella Peacock’s Fly Me kit (£9.99, gpnutrition. com) has the capsules and magnesiumcontaining powder drinks you need for three days of long-haul, and all are perfectly palatable. Although I’ve yet to achieve anything like eight hours, I feel far more laid-back about being awake. You could also take Neal’s Yard Raw Cacao Powder (£2.50 for 50g, neal- syardremedies.com), which is high in magnesium, as a kind of healthy hot chocolate. Unless you enjoy extremely bitter drinks, you’ll need some kind of sweetener, though.
We shouldn’t forget magnesium’s traditional showstopping role as a laxative (if you’ve been to the Mayr Clinic in Austria, you can testify to its aweinspiring effectiveness). We won’t dwell on this aspect, although it’s a useful addition to the first-aid box.
As for its beautifying properties? Transdermally, magnesium can sooth and smooth. Glossier’s Super Glow Serum (£24 for 15ml, glossier.com) can be used all over the face to zhush up tired skin, and just below the eyebrow to add a subtle sheen. The excellent Ren has magnesium in its Atlantic Kelp
Magnesium is becoming so buzzy, it can’t be long before it has its own Youtube channel
Hand Balm (£14 for 50ml, renskincare. com), while Omorovicza’s deluxe and effective Thermal Cleansing Balm (£48 for 50ml, omorovicza.com) is rich in calcium and magnesium. As many as 80 per cent of us are said to be deficient in the stuff. My advice – take this little miracle worker wherever you can find it.