Milk of Magnesia for Skin: Eczema and Acne Treatment


Should you use milk of magnesia for skin conditions treatment? Well, read through this guide for an insight into the relation between milk of magnesia and skin rash, acne, and eczema treatment. We have also suggested a few best practices for this increasingly popular DIY beauty and dermal treatment option.

Is Milk of Magnesia Safe for Skin?

The list of DIY skin care remedies continues to increase and with it the number of harmful home remedies which have left people wary about new proposals they come across. It is thus not surprising to see so many people asking questions like “should I use milk of magnesia for skin?” and “is milk of magnesia safe for skin?”

Well, milk of magnesia is generally safe to use on the face but there is a catch to it; it should only be used sparingly and over the short term as long term use is attributed to various problems which are discussed in a previous chapter of this guide.

Milk of Magnesia Skin Benefits

Milk of magnesia is magnesium hydroxide which has been added to purified water to form an oral suspension. It also commonly has small amounts of sodium hypochlorite added to acts as a buffering agent. Milk of magnesia skin benefits are greatly varied and include:

Reduction of shine on the skin: If you have an oily skin then getting a matte texture albeit momentarily is always welcome news and what a better way to achieve that than by applying some milk of magnesia after bathing or cleansing the face.

Makeup can be a problem on an oily acne prone skin, so use MoM to make it matte and stay longer
Makeup can be a problem on an oily acne prone skin, so use MoM to make it matte and stay longer.

A 1981 study by Stewart and Downing found that magnesium hydroxide helped in breakdown of wax esters and steryl esters drawn from human skin. As the two most important component of skin oil, it was not long before people started experimenting with milk of magnesia.

As is to be expected, it’s reported to be very effective in reducing facial shine. The relation between milk of magnesia oil skin improvement and acne treatment is described in the section below.

Helps makeup to stay put for longer: Applying milk of magnesia as a primer before your regular makeup cosmetics helps to provide a smooth canvas which then helps to prolong the makeup wear time.

Removal of blackheads: Rather than use facial and nose strips to remove blackheads, some people use milk of magnesia for the purpose. This is one of those unconventional benefits that have since been identified and all it takes is to a thin film of MoM. Once it has dried in on the affected area of skin, rinse with warm water and you are good to go.

Other benefits of milk of magnesia for skin are:

  • Increasing the size of the skin pores when applied as a toner
  • Removal of blemishes and prevention of irritations
  • Treatment of skin rashes. We have discussed more about using milk of magnesia for skin rash treatment in another section of this article

Milk of Magnesia Acne Treatment

Milk of magnesia has for a long time been used for treatment of constipation but its uses have since diversified and one increasingly popular alternative use is treatment of acne. Milk of magnesia acne treatment is anchored on the fact that applied topically, MoM helps to absorb oils. This can helps to treat acne that is caused by oily skin. Remember that skin oil is one of the most common underlying factors for acne breakouts. Milk of magnesia also has antibacterial properties that helps to kill bacteria on the skin; this is often beneficial to acne.

Some people apply milk of magnesia as a toner while others apply it as a primer before applying their usual cosmetic products and makeup. As a primer it, helps to not only absorb excess oil but also shrink the skin pores which consequently makes the makeup to stay on for longer. You should however apply a light film and brush the excess of the white streak left behind after MoM has dried to avoid ending up with a white cast on the skin.

If you have a shiny face, milk of magnesia will help
If you have a shiny face, milk of magnesia will help.

There are yet others who have reported success from dabbing a small amount of MoM directly on the acne pimples especially when they have just started breaking out. Lastly, there is a segment of skin care experts who recommend applying milk of magnesia facial mask for 10 minutes or so before rinsing it off with lukewarm water after it has dried off.

A significant number of people who have tried milk of magnesia acne treatment have reported considerable skin improvement in as low as one week but there is still a segment of scientists who are reticent about using this laxative as an acne treatment.

Milk of Magnesia for Skin Rash and Eczema Problems

There are also stories galore of people using milk of magnesia for skin rash as well as eczema problems.

According to the Style Craze website, milk of magnesia – thanks  to its anti-acid properties – helps to improve skin rashes by neutralizing the acids often responsible cause an eruption of the rashes especially among oily skinned people. It in addition acts as a disinfectant and can in so doing help to curb the spread of a rash.

I spent some time reading about common skin rashes that may benefit from milk of magnesia on skin and poison ivy and eczema skin problems in particular stood out very prominently. For eczema problems, the positive benefits of MoM are attributed to its disinfectant properties.

Some people even use milk of magnesia to relieve diaper rash in their children by keeping the skin dry, soothed and free of bacteria thanks to its antibacterial properties. Moms have reported success with applying milk of magnesia alone onto their baby’s bottom but if you like you can as well mix it with a good lotion such as aquaphor or even add some talcum powder to create a smooth paste.

As beneficial as using milk of magnesia for skin rash and eczema treatment may be, you should keep in mind that it has a knack for causing particularly dry skin. This might not work well for people with naturally dry skin who might end up with a face that feel very tight. For this same reason, you should not use milk of magnesia for skin to replace your daily face wash.

Lastly, if you are allergic to magnesium (or any other ingredient in MoM for that matter), you are better off staying away from milk of magnesia as it is mostly magnesium hydroxide.

Milk of Magnesia Bad for Skin

Is milk of magnesia bad for skin, you ask? Well, you are not alone. This question pops all too often in online forums and Question-Answer websites in the beauty and health niches. In a nutshell, milk of magnesia can be bad for the skin if it is not used properly, is used over the long term, or is used too often.

MoM will make your makeup stay for longer
MoM will make your makeup stay for longer.

Applying milk of magnesia for skin improvement in individuals with oily skin has quick turnaround in as far as oil absorption is concerned and can give your skin a matte feel in just a few minutes, but as most skin care experts warns, it could lead to proliferation of bacteria and viruses as well as numerous pathogens on the skin if used over a long period of time or repeatedly.

This is because the alkaline nature of the milk of magnesia destroys the otherwise beneficial acidic film on the skin called acid mantle. This film helps to maintain an acidic environment that is suitable for growth of beneficial bacteria found on the skin (commensals) while discouraging the growth of harmful bacteria and viruses among other organisms.

When the acid mantle is destroyed, thanks to prolonged or frequent use of MoM, the resulting alkaline pH could lead to a proliferation of harmful bacteria, leading to a whole lots of skin problems including acne outbreaks.

Milk of magnesia is also linked to several other side effects including tightness and dryness when either too much of it is applied or is used by people with naturally dry skin, contact dermatitis with prolonged use, poor exfoliation of dead skin cells, lower extracellular lipid processing, and reduced overall skin integrity as the Future Derm points out.

For oil reduction, it is advisable to only use milk of magnesia sparingly and for a short period of time lest you reverse the benefits and end up making milk of magnesia bad for your skin. For example, you should apply it when you have a special occasion e.g. a photo shoot or a wedding, to keep your face matte.

As for acne treatment, use MoM only if you are not allergic to magnesium and have oily skin.