- Magnesium is a cofactor in over 300 reactions of the body.
- Deficiency is difficult to measure but is indicated in many health conditions.
- Magnesium oil is not really an oil – it consists of magnesium flakes dissolved in water.
- This nutrient can help your skin cells grow faster and reduce oiliness.
Magnesium is an important nutrient reputed to have tangible benefits for the skin. Unfortunately, most people do not get enough of it. Can spraying magnesium oil on the skin help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and calm irritated skin? We examine the evidence and distill the facts about magnesium oil and what it can do for your skin.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium chloride is a naturally-occurring element present in soil and many food sources. It is one of the most abundant elements on Earth. Every organ in the human body contains magnesium as it is a cofactor in over 300 health-sustaining bodily reactions, including repairing DNA damage, regulating blood sugar levels, promoting bone health and aiding calcium absorption.
Deficiency is difficult to detect
Magnesium deficiency, also called hypomagnesemia, can be caused by poor diet and gastrointestinal issues. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to many health conditions, including high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease, asthma, stroke, inflammation, osteoporosis, gastrointestinal disease and insomnia.
According to the National Institutes of Health, less than 1% of the body’s 25 grams of magnesium is in the blood. The majority of it (60%) is located in the bones and the remainder in soft tissues. This makes magnesium deficiency difficult to confirm medically. Thus, even though the amount of magnesium in the blood is not a good indicator of deficiency, serum magnesium levels remain the standard of assessment.
Good sources of magnesium
The preferred way to avoid deficiency is to make sure that you eat enough foods that are rich in this element. Good sources include dairy products like milk and yogurt, beans, nuts, potatoes, grains and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach. Magnesium supplementation is also available in pill form as well as transdermal magnesium or magnesium oil, which is a substance in liquid form that can be rubbed or sprayed on the skin.
What is magnesium oil?
Magnesium oil is not an actual oil. It is really just magnesium chloride flakes dissolved in water. Yet, because the mixture has an oily feel, it is referred to as an oil. The reasoning behind the claim that magnesium oil can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles is related to the release of free radicals that break down DNA when we are exposed to daily environmental toxins. The reasoning goes: if fine lines and wrinkles are the result of cumulative environmental stress and a breakdown of the skin’s DNA, then spraying the skin with magnesium oil may reverse the process since it plays a role in DNA repair.
However, while the skin absorbs magnesium readily when topically applied, the science is still out on whether enough magnesium can enter the circulatory system transdermally to be effective. Thus, while magnesium oil can help remove dead skin cells that can gather in the crevices of fine lines and wrinkles, there are much better treatments to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. These include alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), which is a powerful exfoliant used in chemical peels. While AHA lotions that you can get over-the-counter are not as powerful as the peeling agents your dermatologist might use, they’re still better at exfoliating the skin than magnesium oil. Another effective alternative is hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. Dermal fillers, such as Restylane work to restore a youthful appearance by replacing lost volume and tightening up the skin.
Can magnesium oil soothe irritated skin?
Another common claim about magnesium oil is that it can help reduce skin irritation from conditions such as acne and rosacea as well as reduce the number of acne breakouts. The theory behind this claim is that magnesium boosts the effectiveness of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that prevents the skin from becoming a fertile breeding ground for the bacteria, P. acnes that causes acne.
Magnesium also inhibits E-selectin – the molecule responsible for skin inflammation. E-selectin is one of the factors that cause the skin to become red and irritated. In periods of chronic stress, E-selectin is always active. Thus, the theory is that spraying magnesium oil on the skin can help to counter its effects.
Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to date that suggests that magnesium in any form (ingested or applied directly to the skin) is effective against irritated skin or acne.
Are there benefits from magnesium oil?
Although the claims implicating magnesium oil in cures for wrinkles and acne have been overstated and are largely unsubstantiated, magnesium oil is nourishing for the skin. It does help new skin cells grow faster and brightens the skin’s appearance while making it seem smoother.
If you regularly use strong exfoliants on your skin, magnesium oil can help your skin recover faster and can prevent blemishes from forming. Since magnesium oil is helpful in breaking down different fats, it can cut down on skin oiliness while helping it retain moisture. Although there is no evidence that magnesium oil helps with wrinkles or acne, using a little on your face can’t hurt.
Are there side effects?
Some people report that magnesium oil causes a stinging or burning sensation when applied to their skin. Because there is no way to tell how your skin will react to a new substance, it’s always wise to perform a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area of your skin before committing to any new skin care regimen. It is also possible to ingest too much magnesium and should this occur, the main symptom is gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea.
Magnesium oil recipe
Remember, magnesium oil is really just magnesium chloride dissolved in water. Although magnesium oil can be found in most health food stores, you can easily prepare it yourself at home. To do so, you will need the following items:
- ½ cup distilled water
- ½ cup magnesium chloride Flakes
- A spray bottle
- A mixing bowl
To prepare your magnesium oil, first bring the distilled water to a boil. Next, drop the magnesium chloride flakes into a bowl. Then, add the boiling water and stir until the magnesium flakes are completely dissolved. After it has cooled, pour the mixture into a spray bottle to use on your skin. The mixture should last up to six months if stored in a dark place.
How do you use it? To minimize possible stinging and burning, start with eight sprays daily and work up to about twenty. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin.
The claims about magnesium oil for the skin have been exaggerated. There is no scientific support for its effectiveness in managing skin irritation and reducing the number of acne breakouts. Furthermore, while it may help remove dead skin cells that can cause wrinkles to appear deeper, there are more effective treatments available to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. However, should you want to nourish your skin and cut down on its oiliness, give magnesium oil a try. Just remember to perform a patch test before you start and to build up your exposure over time.
Boosting Your Magnesium : Top Products
From anti-aging to maintaining a balanced body, the benefits of magnesium are well documented. In lotion, spray, pill, or liquid, magnesium comes in many forms to satisfy everyone’s need, and with roughly 2 in 3 people suffering from magnesium deficiencies, the following products truly are for nearly everyone.
Seven Minerals Rejuvenating Magnesium Body Lotion
Combining the anti-aging properties of pure ionic magnesium with the hydrating power of soft avocado butter, Seven Minerals’ Rejuvenating Magnesium Body Lotion is among the most balanced magnesium products available. It’s 10% magnesium formula offers a soft approach to magnesium delivery. Made in the USA, this lotion’s magnesium is sourced from a 250 million year old Permien seabed.
Seven Minerals Pure Magnesium Oil Spray
For those seeking an alternative to magnesium lotions, Seven Minerals also offers a more concentrated magnesium oil spray. At nearly 35% magnesium, this higher dose product amplifies many of the wrinkle reducing benefits that magnesium has to offer. This spray is also made in the USA and is not tested on animals.
Magnum Solace Dead Sea Magnesium Oil
With its 100% natural and cruelty free formula, Magnum Solace offers another great magnesium oil spray. With its magnesium sourced from the Dead Sea, this spray claims to help with everything from sore joints to migraines. With its simple three ingredient formula (purified water, Dead Sea magnesium chloride, and trace natural minerals), this spray delivers a potent dose of magnesium.
MgSport High Absorption Magnesium
While there are many topical magnesium options available, the science is still out on whether these products alone can offer you an ideal dose of magnesium. If you would like to assure that you are getting a recommended dose of magnesium, traditional oral supplements can provide just what you need. This 60 capsule magnesium supplement also includes vitamin B6, vitamin E, and vitamin D for an improved rate of magnesium absorption. This dietary supplement comes in veggie capsules and is both gluten and dairy free.
Super Vitamin Brothers Liposomal Magnesium
This liquid dietary supplement offers a great source of vegan GMO-free magnesium. Super Vitamin Brothers have focused on creating a magnesium supplement that is right for everyone, with a formula free from soy, gluten, and alcohol. By simply mixing 10 ml of Liposomal Magnesium into your water or juice daily, you can experience the healing benefits of magnesium for yourself.