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Milk of Magnesia as Home Remedy for Acne

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Q. Have you heard of using milk of magnesia on severe acne? My son has cystic nodular acne. He is 16 and has been under a dermatologist’s care for many years.

We have spent thousands to no avail. He has recently tried a home remedy: applying milk of magnesia to his face at night before bed. He looks the best he has in four years. Can you tell us why this is working so wonderfully well?

A. Milk of magnesia (aka MoM) is a solution of magnesium hydroxide and is best known for its laxative action.

We don’t know why MoM might combat acne, but we have heard that this laxative can help clear up seborrheic dermatitis. In this condition, yeast on the skin causes redness and flakes, rather like dandruff, but on the forehead and chin as well as scalp and eyebrows. Here is one reader’s report:
“I have been using milk of magnesia on my face for the past two months and my face flakes are gone! I pour it in my hand and massage it on my face (forehead, eyebrows, around the eyes, nose, cheeks and chin) while showering, and rinse it off at the end of the shower. End of problem. It’s a great, cost-effective alternative to expensive Nizoral, and it works better, too.”

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61 Comments

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After reading you article in the paper Sunday,I tried MOM on two spots of red blemishy skin that had come up on my face in December. They are 90% gone after 4 days of use. I put a little MOM on these spots just after I wash my face at night. I might try using the MOM in the shower, as the other reader suggested as MOM may be a bit drying
otherwise.

I read YOUR COLUMN FAITHFULLY,BUT I'VE NEVER READ ANYTHING ABOUT SEBACIOUS CYSTS. I HAVE THEM ALL MY FACE,AND THEY ARE SPREADING. WILL MOM HELP ME GET RID OF THEM?

MOM for SKIN REACTIONS to TAPE: ie. eliminate irritation to adhesive on PATCHES ,tape for bandages on injuries and surgical procedures, paper tape and regular band-aids. Just apply a very light amount of MOM in area where tape will come in contact the skin and let it dry (just edges of patch). This has resulted in no irritation (previously reacted with raw skin)

I was interested in the letter touting MOM for acne. My wife and I used MOM on both our children for diaper rash when they were babies and it worked well. We kept the MOM in the refridgerator so it was cool and soothing on our children's rashes when applied. With continued use, the rash improved over several days.

As a teenager, I was blessed with relatively few blemishes. Now in my mid-20s, I have developed large deep pimples that heal slowly and have eroded my self-esteem. I had tried everything from the department store skin care regimens to the infomercial systems to acid peels at the salon. Nothing was wholly effective and I had been considering seeking a dermatologist's help when I heard MoM mentioned on your program. I gave it a try and my skin hasn't looked better for years! I apply a thin layer with a cotton ball 3-4 times a week, let it dry and then remove with a warm cloth before applying my normal cosmetics in the morning. My skin keeps a matte finish longer through the day and I have been developing fewer and less severe blemishes. MoM works better than anything else I've tried and the price is certainly right! Thank you, Joe and Terry!

I saw Amanda H's article in a local paper and i am trying MoM.. should i use my regular acne cleanser in between using MoM ( 3-4 times a week) ?

Can MOM be left on skin (the upper back - for acne)overnight??

i have been using milk of Magnesia for oneweek now, and its great! i have been suffering from acne for years, finally something that works!

My son has suffered from horrible acne for 2 years, even after seeing 2 different dermatologists. We've tried everything from prescriptions & ProActive to laser treatments. Nothing left to try except Accutane, but we were afraid of the side effects. After using MOM for only 2 weeks, his face has improved so much that instead of hiding behind shoulder length hair, he got his hair cut so his face can actually be seen now! It definitely works on severe acne, but be sure to get the original MOM because the flavored has mineral oil added. It's wonderful to have my son smiling again!

I have been applying MOM for the past 1 week and it is not working for me...the redness has increased and have new breakouts. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

I am putting milk and magnesia on every, morning and night... and I think it's great... why spend so much money on some acne product when you can just get something as little as $1.58 :)

I've had severe acne for 23yrs and I've used nearly everything I can lay my hands on...proactive, acnepril, avecix, etc. etc., and also wrinkle removers like revitalume, amino genesis, etc., etc. that had been caused by severe whiteheads under the eyes - NOTHING WORKED. I've been using MOM for 4-5 days and my skin has become so smooth that it is ONLY a MIRACLE - how it has worked.. I've no idea why, but it has WORKED!!!

I've had really bad acne on my back and chest for years now that has slowly spread and have tried many things that have yet to work. Well, my aunt read your article in the paper on MoM and how it can help so I've decided to try it. What is the best way for application and do you rinse it off after? I'm not sure which procedure works best. Anybody know?

A friend of mine and I were just discussing a possible auxiliary benefit of MoM as an anti-aging agent, helping the face maintain a fresh, healthy look. Has anyone had any long term success with MoM for this purpose? Also, for those who may be suffering from eczema like I did, may I suggest ingesting a small dose each day of flaxseed oil? Tastes horrible but works great.

Put it on with a cotton ball and let it dry. Leave it on overnight and wash your face in the morning. My daughter has used it for two nights, along with her regular acne products, and we can already see a difference. Honestly! It works.

I went to my derm. yesterday because of my flare ups! He said my skin looked good and I told him make up does wonders then he says before I put the makeup on put MoM on and let it dry! He said my makeup will look fresh all day! Put MoM on overnight to to clear up skin but get the basic mom not the advanced one cause that has oil in it! He says the zinc is what helps skin!

As I was walking in an aisle at the grocery store, my friends mom brought up the product Proactive. I told her that everyone I know who uses/used it, say that it doesn't work. To our amazement, another lady was listening in on our conversation, and suggested MoM. I bought it yesterday! I used it last night and this morning, I can't wait to see the results after a few more days! She said she had heard about it from an article! Thanks so much! You have solved about 5 years of severe acne.

Hi, my son has both seb. derm around his nose and acne-the acne has been treated with antibiotics, and ointments. It will clear up somewhat, but never completely, then will flare up again. The seb. dermatitis on each side of his nose has flared up quite a bit the last week or so. I am going to get some MOM, and am wondering if this should be used instead of his other stuff or in addition to it?
thanks!

I heard about MOM from a friend, I have moderate acne, mostly on the forehead. I can't wait to try it. Of course I will also continue eating fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking lots of water and green tea!

Does eating fresh fruit really work?

M.O.M really does work. I have the most pretty face. I used to break out and try to hide it but now I don't ever really break out. I still got some scars but M.O.M. really is helping them.

MoM works very well. I started using it 6 months ago and it helped my skin soooo much. SO much better than my dermo products. Then I stopped because I got lazy, and started to break out again. I am now leaving it on almost every night before bed all over my face. It can be some what drying, but it works wonders. Best product for acne I have ever used!!

I also have used MOM for one week now with no improvement... my acne tends to hurt and it has gotten more painful this past week. I was wondering if you got any tips after posting that message. I wonder if I'm doing it wrong, I just rub it all over my face morning and night after cleansing and in the morning I put make up on over it. Is that what you do too?

I have tried most every remedy that medicine had to offer for acne over several years (5 different specialists)with the exception of Accutane, which I refused to take because of the many side effects.

Believe me, MOM has been a real pleasant surprise. It probably will not work if you still guzzle the sodas and eat the chocolate and I think those who preach that those two things don't matter had better study the acne problem more thoroughly. I had also, on occasion, tried adding a small amount of one of the over-the-counter 10% benzol peroxide creams....but if your acne is not too bad, that addition is probably not necessary.

MOM really did work for me though and I hope it might work for you. Believe me I know what it's like to deal with acne and MOM did the most for my problem. Good luck and if this comment helps even one person it will certainly have been worth it.

OK, I've been reading, no scouring the internet for remedies to my acne that is now bringing me to tears. I've had it since I was 14 and I'm almost 40, I work in an industry where first impressions are paramount. I'm SICK AND TIRED of looking like I put my face in a mud pile to just cover up the spots. It all came to a head the other day when I was on my way into a meeting, looked in a mirror passing by and noticed a blemish I had, now had a huge whitehead AND flake. Of course there's nothing I can do on my way into a meeting....hence STARES!

I have heard do a honey mask, it's antibacterial and will sooth your skin...yeah nadda. I've used every over the counter treatment including Proactiv that cleared up a section but another popped up. This morning I even bought the Murad system that's on it's way. Well, long story short (haha) I found an article about MOM. Seriously!? Well I'm sitting here writing this post with it on my face. Waiting for it to dry and then going to wash it off. After I applied it, I saw what my face could look like with a matte finish...now those were good tears. I'll post back about my experience and if I find anything negative or (HOPEFULLY) positive.

I used M.O.M. on my face the first time I heard about it, and I slept with it one over night. I woke up and my breakouts had decreased in size by half! I absolutely love this stuff.

i have been using milk of magnesia for some weeks now. it is a miracle worker. i would probably have saved my face from cystic acne scars if i would have known about this some months ago. i put it on any pimples before i go to bed after i wash with my regular cleanser.

i spot treat usually. i apply it several times a day if i am home. i also use it under my makeup. hopefully my face will fully clear to the point where i wont have to wear makeup anymore. it also seems to work in exfoliating/fading acne scars. my face is about 98 percent clear.

i had perfect skin as a teenager and when i hit about 27 years old my skin broke out in blackheads all over my chin and temple area. i also break out with very large painful pimples on my chin. i have tried everything for both. i was getting monthly european facials for the blackheads which aren't cheap. every acne medication i tried either did nothing but dry my skin out or some even made the acne worse. i've spent 1,000's of dollars on different treatments.

my husband was on peoples pharmacy website a few years ago to try and find something to help get rid of skin tags that i had on my eyelids. the suggestion they gave worked so my husband looked a few days ago and found this remedy for acne. for the last 4 days i have put the milk of magnesia on my chin at night and all of the blackheads and 5 pimples i had on there are gone.

my skin is a little dry in the morning but it goes away throughout the day. my husband even noticed the difference and he doesn't usually notice if i cut or color my hair. i recommend this to anyone with acne or blackheads.

Alright, I have pretty bad acne and I'm 15 and I bought milk of magnesia for my face because some old woman in McDonalds told me to do so (random but that's how bad it is). So I started using it by putting it on my face and leaving it on all night then washing in the morning and it wasn't that effective and I was wondering if there are other effective ways of using milk of magnesia for my acne or even if I'm doing it wrong. I have faith in this so please someone tell me.

Try using it as a mask a few times a week and if it doesn't help try egg white mask; it sounds weird I know but it really has helped me with acne, redness and my really oily skin. It also leaves skin very soft. good luck =)

I am almost thirty and my skin can still get as bad as when I was a teenager. The difference now is that I take better care of it. I have extremely sensitive skin so I have to be very careful the products that I use. I have been using MOM as a makeup primer. I spread a thin layer all over my face and let it dry. Then I put my moisturizer OVER it and then my makeup. I usually have super oily skin, but with MOM I have a matte finish most of the day. I have also noticed a decrease in the number and size of pimples. The blackheads on my nose have almost gone away. I highly recommend it, you can't beat the price!

I just heard about this trick from my mom so I'm trying it out. If it works I'll tell my sister about it as well.

I have random break outs but she has been plagued her whole life with skin issues. If I give it a good review I'll write back in and also write an article for my health and fitness website. Thanks for the info!!!

Hello all,

my name is Nicky and I am 26 years old. I started using MOM about a week ago and I can tell you straight from the heart that MOM is perfect. My daily routine;

In the morning, wash my face with warm water. I apply the MOM entirely my face and leave it for about 20 mins, then rinse if off with either soap or face wash to get rid of flakes and then I apply daily moisturizer. The moisturizer (whatever you have) will just keep you fresh. If you don't use face wash or soap to cleanse after putting MOM on your face and you just use water, you will see some flakes when you put your moisturizer on but don't worry even though you do look like you have snow flakes on your face your skin will still feel good (I do recommend both ways).

At night, I wash my face with soap or face wash then I apply MOM on my face and leave it for 30 mins till an hour. I don't leave it overnight, but you can if you want to (just little by little or spot by spot only). After an hour (or 30 mins), wash your face with warm water (ONLY) and don't apply moisturizer. In the morning you will see that some of your spot will get lighter and lighter. I can honestly tell you that I love this product.

The MOM absorbs the oil that causes acne or pimple(s)(never like those words). The scars that you have on your face will gradually fade away as long as you stay connected with your routine. You may feel dryness at first, but that's normal. I hope this helps you girls and guys out there.

XOXO,
Nicky

But for how long do we have to leave it on?? Is it overnight?

I am 38 years old and have never had acne in my entire life. In the past one year however, I am not too sure about the cause which could vary from being stressed out to eating non organic food, drinking milk or perhaps even losing a lot of weight in a short span of time, I have had a severe acne break out mainly on my forehead. The pimples have been massive and ugly to say the least and I used everything under the sun to control it but to no avail.

Last week I came across this strange prescription of applying MoM for acne. I had serious difficulties in finding the original MoM but I finally did get hold of it and guess what! Just after four days of use, my acne is clearly in retreat. Most of the big pimples are gone from the sides of my forehead. There are some new ones just out but they also seem to be getting smaller with its use. All I can say is that I very impressed with the results MoM has given me and I hope it continues. I would recommend it any day.

I'm using MoM for the first time and I am 9. How should I use it? Thank you for your reply if you leave one!

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: IF YOU ARE USING THE LIQUID FROM A BIG BLUE BOTTLE, POUR A LITTLE IN YOUR HAND AND SMOOTH IT ON YOUR ARMPIT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE DAY. GIVE IT A MINUTE OR TWO TO DRY BEFORE YOU PUT ON YOUR TOP, AS IT WILL LEAVE A WHITE RESIDUE ON CLOTHING IF IT IS STILL WET.

THE ONLY REASON TO USE THIS IS IF YOU HAVE UNDERARM ODOR. SOME PEOPLE ARE A LITTLE OLDER THAN 9 BEFORE THAT BECOMES A PROBLEM.

IF YOU FIND IT HELPS, YOU MIGHT ASK YOUR PARENT(S) ABOUT ONE OF OUR ROLL-ON MILK OF MAGNESIA DEODORANTS, SINCE IT IS MUCH MORE CONVENIENT TO APPLY. YOU'LL SEE IT IN THE PEOPLE'S PHARMACY STORE ON OUR WEBSITE.

Good for you for NOT using Accutane. My son just had a reaction to it and was hospitalized (stroke like symptoms... very scary). Now that I've seen your post, we'll try Milk of Magnesia. We are out of options. Thanks!

Crap... I've always known about the MOM but never knew it couldn't be flavored & point is, I just bought it, but I guess it"ll do for now till I get to the store again. Well good luck to me day 1...

My daughter (20) has what has been diagnosed as deep tissue acne. It reminds me of boils, but the doctor and dermatologist says that it's a form of acne. It first appeared near her rectum area, when she was about 16 but now has moved to under her arms. They form beneath the skin and are painful, then appears above the skin and finally drain. She was told that there really isn't a cure. This has left scars in both areas.

She is currently using a prescription wash and an ointment for the open acne.

Angela-
My son had similar issues. The dermatologist suspected a staph infection, even though the test was negative (nose swab). Oral antibiotics helped, but did not resolve completely. Unfortunately, he broke his ankle and needed 2 surgeries. Because we suspected staph, he was given IV antibiotics during both surgeries to avoid the risk of getting a staph infection in the surgical wound.

The IV antibiotics were strong enough to finally wipe it out, no more outbreaks and the scars are fading.. Please get another opinion. Those deep tissue lesions leave dark scars and can be so painful. Good luck.

Im 14 and have decided to try using MoM! will a flavoured MoM do the job or do i need a normal one? Thanks in advance for reply !

My daughter is 18 and has been covered in comedoic acne plugs, blackheads & whiteheads for eight years. Five different dermatologists, countless topical and oral prescriptions (except Accutane) tried every OTC topical treatment and auto-shipment "acne treatment club" you see on TV (ProActiv wasn't good, BTW). The problem in his household is not that I am unwilling to help my daughter achieve clearer skin, the problem is SHE DOES NOT STICK WITH ANYTHING OR WORK THE PROGRAM.

Murad started to work (sulphur in Step 3 is the kicker), then she bailed on it. I was even paying for her to go to blue light therapy every two weeks and it WAS WORKING but again, she bailed on it. She complains about her acne, picks at it constantly, but has no patience to get into a regular regimen of any kind, then glops on liquid foundation cover-up which IMO has made her face 1000x times worse.

I bought MoM years ago but she refused to use it. Bought Witch Hazel and she refused to try it. I would spend every last dime I have to try and help her, but SHE HAS TO MAKE THE EFFORT and I'm sick of being treated like garbage just for being a concerned, helpful mother. I give up.

Well, I'm glad to hear MOM is working for so many people, including those describing cystic acne like I've had. I tried several natural/herbal remedies in recent years with no luck, as well as some prescription stuff, way back when I was a kid. Only Proactiv would keep my acne tolerable, and I still got a couple painful cysts at a time and was never totally clear (this was still like 80% better than I was without it). I'm 29 now and have had cystic acne since I was about 11.

But I've recently had GREAT improvement with spironolactone! I saw a huge difference after just a couple weeks and have been able to reduce my Proactiv use, though I can't drop it completely yet (it's been a month so far). Hopefully with a little more time or a little stronger dose, I will be able to.

Anyway, I want to highly recommend to anyone with acne to see an endocrinologist about it. I've been diagnosed with NCAH (Non-Classical Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, aka Late-Onset Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia). There are other hormone-related conditions though, like PCOS which can cause other health problems, depending on severity and you really should get diagnosed. From what I've ready, especially if you are someone who got acne seemingly out of the blue, as an adult - see an endocrinologist!

Acne isn't a disease all it's own - it's a symptom. Like a fever it's a symptom for a lot of different things, that's why people struggle so long to find a treatment that works for them. Hang in there!

A friend told me to wash my daughters face pat dry and then put on calamine lotion, let it dry and leave overnight. Wash off in the morning and she has been doing well on it and this has been since Sunday so 6 days. Cheap $2

Are you using the original formula?

This is a WONDERFUL inexpensive way to help reduce acne and even rosacea! When I was 13, 13 years ago I went to a lady for facials, when we suggested this I thought she was nuts! BUT it helped so much with the redness, swelling, and my skin over all just starte to feel and look healthier.

Most people using this apply in the morning and at night and don't leave it on for more than 15 minutes, why? I'm not sure because it workers faster when you apply a thin layer on the face, let it dry and rub off the excess(looks like you are rubbing off powder) once you rub it off GENTLY (don't use water, dry hands please) you apply another thin later on top of the dried layer. Wait until this second layer dries and then gently re-rub face with hands to remove the dried magnesium. Once done it will look like you have while powder on your face.

Go to sleep like this, in the morning rinse off with lukewarm water. Making sure nothing stays behind. Then rinse off with cold water (as cold as your water can get). This allows the pores to close. Go about your day and repeat every night. After a few days you'll see dramatic results!

Be sure it is the original MoM and not flavored type

It may take at least 2-3 weeks. You should also try Lysine caps. they have helped many.

After finding the article I cannot wait to get down to the local chemist and buy some MoM.... acne & body odour will hopefully be a thing of the past for myself and my teenage daughters.. Fingers crossed

So, how regularly do I use this product?

Omg!! So this really works!! I have been using it for two days now and Jesus Christ thank u my skin is clearing up!! amazing!! I usually pay $300 dollars for a chemical peel that minimizes my acne and always makes my skin sooo oily after and with mom they are almost gone!! Can't wait to see results in a week or two I encourage everyone out there to use it its cheap and u have nothing nothing to loose but your acne :D so plz give it a try!!

I've just started mom, does it really do wonders?

Why is it so important for it to not be the flavored type? That's what I have in my house and I'd like to try it this instant... :/

Hi I was wondering if mom worked for you.

It could be the cleanser you are using before you apply m.o.m. try to just use m.o.m alone before applying makeup and then see the results. (: goodluck

Could it be that you are using the flavored kind with sugars, sucrose added. Make sure that you have the most natural unsweetened form of it and it WILL work. Its job is to pull oils in the near vicinity and react with them to leave nothing around to block pores and thus cause acne.

Fresh fruit isn't exactly "the cure" but all of the vitamins & the water that the fruits & vegetable have really help :)

I started using MoM a few days ago--I have regular bouts of hormonal acne on my chin, jawline and temples. I read an article that said using MoM will help get rid of current spots and help prevent new ones from forming.

And in just a couple of days my skin is GLOWING. The acne I had is almost entirely gone, the blotchy redness I've always had is toned down and my acne scars are already less visible.

I use a cottonball to put MoM all over my face and chest 2 times a day. Once right after my shower-which I then rinse off when I'm done getting dressed/doing my hair so I can put my regular cosmetics/sunscreen on. Then again at night all over my face and chest but very thick--it looks kind of gross--let it dry and then go to bed.

I wash it off in the shower the next morning. Maybe once all the acne is gone I can rinse before I go to bed, but for now--this has definitely worked.

is there any side effect of MoM on skin?

I have had facial and body acne since my teens and have tried everything from proactiv to acne.org products, but within the last year I switched almost completely to MOM and it works well for me. I as an adult suffer from cystic acne, but this stuff manages it quite well.

I make sure to wash my face and body before putting it on, and since it makes my skin so dry I coat my hands first with a salicylic acid lotion, then with MOM, and spread it on. I've found that I can still get clogged pores, so I exfoliate gently in the shower to remove any excess, and sometimes use a benzoyl peroxide lotion or a clay mask to unclog pores.

*MOM makes an excellent deodorant, if you haven't heard. It won't stop you from sweating, but it kills the smell.

just started using topical MoM (milk of magnesia) for a day and my acne has started shrinking. Hope this one works for me.

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