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What are the benefits of magnesium for the skin?

This mineral can play a role in promoting a healthier complexion.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Aug 31, 2023 • 6 min read
Medically reviewed by Meredith Hartle, DO
magnesium flakes for skin
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Aug 31, 2023 • 6 min read
Medically reviewed by Meredith Hartle, DO
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

In this article

What is magnesium?
More

As an essential nutrient, magnesium plays a vital role in maintaining your overall well-being— including enhancing your skin health. 

In addition to all the important responsibilities this mineral has in keeping you healthy, it can also help to hydrate your skin, improve skin barrier function, among other things. There are several ways you can get more magnesium, both orally and topically. Allow Curology’s team of skincare experts to walk you through everything you need to know about the skin benefits of magnesium—and how you can get them yourself.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is the fourth most common mineral in our body and takes part in over 300 different processes that keep us functioning properly.¹ It’s  responsible for regulating various functions in your body, such as muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and the structure of proteins, bones, and DNA.² Numerous studies have demonstrated the association between reduced magnesium levels and a multitude of chronic diseases. As a result, magnesium is recognized for its therapeutic and preventive roles in conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.³

The benefits of magnesium for skin 

Including magnesium in your skincare routine can reduce skin irritation, improve your skin health, and help your skin stay hydrated.

Helps reduce irritation

Using the right skincare products and ingredients can help you manage irritated skin. 

Magnesium has been shown to provide this benefit, making it a valuable ingredient in skincare products designed to treat sensitive or inflamed skin. One study demonstrated that a 2% magnesium topical solution could effectively reduce diaper dermatitis, suggesting its potential for treating other types of dermatitis as well.⁴ 

Magnesium’s ability to reduce irritation is linked to its role in regulating the production of cytokines. These proteins play a key part in your body's inflammatory response.⁵

Magnesium salts are known to facilitate skin cell growth and differentiation, leading to reduced inflammation.⁶ For this reason, Cer-Mg, a magnesium-based compound with ceramides, has been suggested as a non-steroid alternative for treating mild to moderate atopic dermatitis.⁷

Improves skin barrier function

Other than relieving skin irritation, a study found that bathing in a magnesium-rich dead sea salt solution enhanced skin hydration, improved skin barrier function, and reduced inflammation in individuals with atopic dry skin.⁸

By helping to protect the skin barrier function, magnesium prevents water loss and dryness, ultimately leading to healthier and less irritated skin.¹⁰ 

Hydrates skin

Magnesium has been found to effectively hydrate skin, providing much-needed moisture and nourishment. One study comparing ceramide-magnesium cream to hydrocortisone and emollient found that the magnesium-infused cream was more successful in improving skin hydration and maintaining levels of natural moisturizing factors.⁹

Magnesium salts are also known to enhance skin hydration, further emphasizing this mineral's importance in maintaining healthy, moisturized skin.¹⁰

Incorporating magnesium into your skincare routine is a great tip that can improve hydration, resulting in a plumper, more youthful appearance.

How you should use magnesium for your skin

Magnesium can be utilized either through oral consumption or topical application. By including this versatile mineral into your skincare regimen, you can unlock its remarkable potential to enhance the vitality and appearance of your skin.

Orally: Foods and supplements

The amount of magnesium your body needs varies based on factors such as your age and gender. To ensure optimal skin health, it's essential to include magnesium-rich foods in your daily diet. However, consult your medical provider before introducing supplements or herbal remedies to your routine.

Naturally occurring in a variety of foods, magnesium can be found in legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables like spinach. Fortified breakfast cereals and other fortified foods, along with milk, yogurt, and some milk products, can contribute to meeting your recommended daily magnesium intake as well.¹¹

Topically: Popular skincare products containing magnesium 

Aside from consuming magnesium, you can also apply it topically. Applying magnesium directly to your skin can allow you to harness its numerous benefits, from hydration and inflammation reduction to improved barrier function.

Curology’s experts approve of these popular skincare products containing magnesium:

Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer

The Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer by Paula's Choice is a lightweight, fast-absorbing moisturizer. It’s enriched with electrolytes, including magnesium to help replenish your complexion. This moisturizer can be used for all skin types and helps combat dullness and dryness.

REN Clean Skincare Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Wash

The Atlantic Kelp & Magnesium Anti-Fatigue Body Wash is infused with mineral-rich Atlantic kelp and magnesium. This body wash cleanses and nourishes your skin using these powerful ingredients.

Glossier Super Glow Vitamin C + Magnesium Serum

Glossier's Super Glow is a serum with a potent blend of Vitamin C and Magnesium PCA. Its lightweight, fast-absorbing formula targets dullness and uneven skin tone. Suitable for all skin types, Super Glow is designed to work in harmony with your existing skincare routine, providing an extra boost of brightening to your skin. 

Enhance your skincare routine with Curology today

Magnesium's benefits for your skin—from hydration and irritation reduction to improved barrier function—make it a great addition to your skincare routine. As you continue to look into this essential mineral and other beneficial skincare ingredients, you can enhance your skincare journey with personalized solutions, including our Custom Formulaᴿˣ for acne.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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Sign up for a 30-day trial* today and experience the difference that personalized care can make for your skin. By using our products, you can get closer to achieving the radiant, healthy complexion you crave.

FAQs

What does magnesium do for your face?

Magnesium may help reduce inflammation and irritation. Research shows this mineral also strengthens your skin's barrier function and boosts skin hydration, helping to give you smooth and radiant skin.

Does magnesium make your skin glow?

Magnesium can improve your skin's radiance and brightness by enhancing your skin's hydration and protecting it from external damage. However, its effects may not necessarily lead to a "glowing" appearance on their own. As always, the results of using this mineral may vary depending on your skin type and condition.

What type of magnesium is best for the skin?

Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) and magnesium chloride are two forms of magnesium commonly used in skincare products. Both MAP and magnesium chloride work to address various skin concerns, including dryness and irritation.  Incorporating skincare products containing these forms of magnesium can lead to a healthier, more radiant complexion. 

Before incorporating magnesium-based skincare products into your routine, it’s important to consult with a licensed dermatology provider. They can evaluate your skin type, and specific concerns, and help determine whether products containing magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP) or magnesium chloride are suitable for your individual needs.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Al Alawi, A.M., et al. Magnesium and Human Health: Perspectives and Research Directions. Int J Endocrinol. (2018, April 16).

  2. Al Alawi, A.M., et al. Magnesium and Human Health: Perspectives and Research Directions. Int J Endocrinol. Ibid.

  3. National Institutes of Health. Magnesium. (2021, March 22).

  4. Nourbakhsh, S.M.K., et al. Effect of Topical Application of the Cream Containing Magnesium 2% on Treatment of Diaper Dermatitis and Diaper Rash in Children A Clinical Trial Study. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. (January 2016).

  5. Al Alawi, A.M., et al. Magnesium and Human Health: Perspectives and Research Directions. Int J Endocrinol. Ibid. 

  6. Schwalfenberg, G.K. and Genuis, S.J. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica (Cairo). (2017, September 28).

  7. Koppes, S.A., et al. Efficacy of a Cream Containing Ceramides and Magnesium in the Treatment of Mild to Moderate Atopic Dermatitis: A Randomized, Double-blind, Emollient- and Hydrocortisone-controlled Trial. Acta Dermato-Venereologica. (2016, n.d.).

  8. Proksch, E., et al. Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin. International Journal of Dermatology. (February 2005).

  9. Koppes, S.A., et al. Efficacy of a Cream Containing Ceramides and Magnesium in the Treatment of Mild to Moderate Atopic Dermatitis: A Randomized, Double-blind, Emollient- and Hydrocortisone-controlled Trial. Acta Dermato-Venereologica. Ibid.

  10. Schwalfenberg, G.K. and Genuis, S.J. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica (Cairo). Ibid.

  11. National Institutes of Health. Magnesium. Ibid.

Meredith Hartle is a board-certified Family Medicine physician at Curology. She earned her medical degree at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, MO.

* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary.

• • •
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Meredith Hartle, DO

Meredith Hartle, DO

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