Q. My son has acne and seborrheic dermatitis. He has been treated with antibiotics that help somewhat but never completely clear it.
I have heard that applying milk of magnesia (MoM) to the face is a low-risk approach. How effective is it?
A. There are no scientific studies of milk of magnesia applied topically for acne or seborrheic dermatitis. Some people tell us it is ineffective while others sing MoM’s praises:
“My grandson had severe acne. I sent the column about milk of magnesia for acne to his mother. The next time I saw him, about a month later, I could hardly believe the improvement, about 90 percent better. He applied MoM morning and evening and is still using it.”
We are sending you our Guide to Skin Care and Treatment with more details on a variety of approaches for acne and seborrheic dermatitis. Your son might also consider a change of diet. We heard this from a reader:
“My 16-year-old daughter had terrible acne. She gave up sugar, dairy and gluten and started taking natural supplements for other reasons, and her acne disappeared within 6 weeks. She has beautiful skin now.”
Her experience is supported by research published in the European Journal of Dermatology (online Sept. 7, 2010).