Style & Beauty

What Exactly Is Magnesium Oil And Does It Have Skincare Benefits?

01/14/2015 09:29am ET | Updated January 14, 2015

While dousing oneself in coconut oil seems like the beauty trend that's never going out of style, it looks like there's another product on the market that's slowly captivating everyone's attention.

We're talking about magnesium oil, a substance that we don't typically hear about in the skincare world. The element is normally used as a supplement, mainly to combat magnesium deficiency.

After hearing some of our friends swear by magnesium oil transforming their skin, we had to find out about its pros and cons. Can it really clear up our acne? Will it replace our current moisturizers? We turned to board-certified dermatologists and an esthetician expert to get the low down on these questions and more.

What is magnesium oil?

First things first, magnesium oil isn't actually an oil. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman tells us that it's less complicated than we think. She says, "It's just magnesium chloride that's suspended in water." The mixture between the highly concentrated element and water happens to have an oily texture, Dr. Engelman adds.

What is it normally used for?

Of course skincare isn't the ultimate use for magnesium, but it can be a supplement for something known as hypomagnesemia, or a magnesium deficiency. According to Dr. Engelman, it can also aid people who need help regulating their bowel movements.

Kendall Weatherman, who is a Timeless by Pevonia-licensed esthetician and resident Loxa Beauty skincare expert, points out other benefits including "alleviating aches, pains, inflammation, muscle soreness and spasms related to injuries and arthritis."

How should we use it?

We first thought that magnesium was mostly consumed orally. However, Dr. Engelman says that magnesium is absorbed much more effectively through contact with skin. Purchasing it could get expensive, but Dr. Engelman says that you can make your own oil by submerging magnesium flakes into hot water and putting the mixture into a spray bottle. So instead of rubbing it directly on your face, Dr. Engelman says your dose should start at about six to eight sprays daily, which could be worked up to 20 spritzes.

If you forgo making your own formula, Weathermen advises that you purchase magnesium diluted with water. "Each manufacturer may have different concentrations of the active ingredient," she adds, so be sure to read the label before applying anything to your skin.

Are there any dangers to using it?

Although Dr. Engelman says, "It's almost impossible to overdose on magnesium by supplementing," you should still be cautious. "With any element," Dr. Engelman says, "you can have too much and in this case, if you have too much magnesium, then you'll have GI side-effects, like watery or loose stools."

Remember that these dangers can happen even when applying magnesium topically, so if you experience some side effects, first and foremost, consult a medical professional before continued use.

Can it help clear up irritated skin?

Dr. Engelman says that magnesium oil has masterful absorption properties and acts as an efficient humectant that keeps the skin hydrated and flexible.

When it comes to irritated skin, meaning anything from acne to rosacea, there isn't any direct evidence that shows that magnesium oil treats skin, but it could help. "There's no direct correlation with magnesium oil and improvement of acne," Dr. Engelman tells us, however, in some cases, "we've found in retrospect that by supplementing the element, it can actually help -- it's not going to hurt."

Board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner adds that "in lab studies, magnesium, as in magnesium hydroxide or milk of magnesium, was shown to break apart different fats and oils, which can explain its benefit in reducing skin oiliness."

Dr. Engelman adds that magnesium also aids in alleviating anxiety and improving sleep quality, so "it is reasonable to believe that magnesium improves stress-induced skin disorders like acne and rosacea." Dr. Engelman supports this claim, saying that some patients report better rest and less stress.

If you have any questions regarding magnesium, please consult a health professional.

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