One of the many products that's designed to do something completely different, Milk of Magnesia as an acne treatment can be remarkably effective. It's also useful for anyone with oily skin problems or seborrheic dermatitis.
What Is Milk of Magnesia?
Milk of Magnesia is magnesium hydroxide, a solution of the mineral magnesium. Because magnesium supports the muscles and nerves, it has a relaxing effect. This, combined with the liquid's ability to reduce stomach acid and increase intestinal water, makes Milk of Magnesia an excellent laxative. It is also used to relieve irritable bowel syndrome, sour stomach and heartburn.
Milk of Magnesia as Acne Treatment
So what does a proven laxative have to do with blemished skin? Well, in the most basic sense, it calms and relaxes the skin much as it calms and relaxes troubled intestines. Where it reduces acid in the stomach, it reduces oil on the face. For acne caused by oily skin, a few drops of Milk of Magnesia daily as a toner can make a real difference.
Some users have also found that dabbing some Milk of Magnesia directly on an active pimple - but especially on one that's just starting to rise - and leaving it overnight will dry out the zit before it can grow larger. Others make a facial mask of Milk of Magnesia, leaving it on for about 10 minutes until it dries and then rinsing with lukewarm water.
Doctors tout its benefits as well, noting that it has natural zinc, which also helps to battle acne. Many who use Milk of Magnesia as an acne treatment report that their skin improved quickly and never looked better.
Maintaining Balanced Skin
For women, Milk of Magnesia can also work as a makeup primer. Brushed on softly, it absorbs oil and shrinks pores, making skin more receptive to makeup but discouraging clogs and dirt. You do need to use a light touch to avoid a white cast on the skin. Many women find using their fingers to be the most effective application method.
Using Milk of Magnesia reduces the appearance of pore size, but in shrinking the pores, it also helps maintain cleanliness and thus can keep pimples at bay.
Men can of course use it as a daily toner as well. Just remember to brush lightly to avoid the white cast.
The most common brand is Phillips, but you can also use a drugstore version and save another dollar or so. What matters are the ingredients. That is, you must use a non-flavored version. Anything else will have mineral oil, which will defeat your purpose. Be sure to read the ingredient list carefully. Even some generics might have mineral oil. When in doubt, stick to the classic Phillips.
Those for whom Milk of Magnesia as an acne treatment works have reported quick and excellent results. In balancing the skin, it can also treat seborrhea and reduce redness. Some people notice dramatic improvement in as little as one week.
If you have dry skin, Milk of Magnesia may not be for you. Some users report an increase in redness and flakiness. This could be an initial response, as with Retin-a, to the skin getting back in balance. Do a spot treatment and assess over the course of a week or so to determine if Milk of Magnesia helps or makes your skin drier.
You may possibly have an intolerance to topical magnesium or zinc, in which case you may experience an allergic reaction. A test is always a good idea - at least if it doesn't work, you can give it away and have only spent a few bucks.
The bulk of those who have tried Milk of Magnesia for acne and to treat oily skin have been pleased with their results. It is noted that the product can dry out, so you should keep it in the refrigerator for maximum use.