Not all bath bombs are created equal. We tapped experts for everything you need to know before tossing a glittery bath bomb in your tub.
A bath is a great way to relieve sore muscles or simply relax before bed. The latest trend? Instead of frothy bubble baths, colorful bath bombs are here to make your nighttime ritual more fun, as they fizzle and turn a warm bath into your own personal rainbow Jacuzzi. Stress, what?
Scroll through your social feed, and you're bound to see images of beautiful white tubs filled with sparkly tie-dye liquid, thanks to unicorn bath bombs and glittery bombs. But as we lounge in our tubs, soaking until our skin looks like a prune, how are the dyes and glitter in these trendy bombs affecting our skin? Are they actually safe?
In order to get bath bombs to be so fragrant and colorful, ingredients are added that may cause unpleasant reactions once being exposed to your skin, such as itch or redness. We know the sparkly ones look super neat, but all that glitter may not go down the drain, and could stick to your body instead, resulting in irritation.
And if a bath bomb can aggravate the surface of your skin, what the heck is it doing to the body parts completely submerged and soaking in the dyes and glitter, like your vagina? Depending on the product, bath bombs can actually affect the pH of your vagina and can cause irritation or an overgrowth of yeast, leading to infection, says Christine Greves, MD, an Orlando-based ob-gyn and a fellow of the American Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Women who have had issues with vaginal irritation in the past are better off taking a nice warm shower or bath sans the bomb, and just cleaning their bodies with mild soap, Dr. Greves says.
Remember that vaginas are self-cleaning (meaning you shouldn't douche or steam your vagina), so strong-smelling bath bombs might not be such a good idea either. "If you can’t tolerate the idea of giving up baths and switching to showers, at least choose a bath bomb without added fragrances or colors, and for heaven's sake avoid the glitter," says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a New York-based dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology (FAAD).
If you're feeling adventurous and haven't had issues with irritation in the past, make sure to check the ingredients in your bath bomb and patch-test it before tossing it willy nilly in your tub. Before soaking in a luxurious, foamy bath, Dr. Greves recommends rubbing the bath bomb on the inner part of your arm (near the crook of your elbow), then waiting 48 hours to ensure there is no irritation or allergic reaction.
While they may not be as fizzy or Instagram-friendly, you can also opt for all natural or organic bombs to play it safe, says New York City-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. "A natural one usually will not contain synthetic fragrances, artificial dyes, or ingredients that are skin-drying."
Below are six dermatologist-approved bath bombs, so you can soak with peace of mind.