Q. Long ago I heard on your radio program that milk of magnesia (MoM) can be applied to underarms as a deodorant. I tried it and it worked!
Later I heard it is good for pimples. So when, two years ago, I had my usual summertime attack of poison ivy, I thought: If MoM is good for drying up perspiration and pimples, it might work on poison ivy too.
It is GREAT! It stops the pain immediately and dries it up within a day. MoM is so much better than calamine lotion, which takes many applications while the poison ivy lingers on.

A. Thanks for sharing your experience with topical application of milk of magnesia. The active ingredient in MoM is magnesium hydroxide, which is also found in many antacids. We can’t think of a safer way of soothing skin irritation.

Join Over 55,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. VM
    Reply

    I am very susceptible to poison ivy. If it is around I break out.
    In the past I have used Ivy Dry with moderate effectiveness, which was better than others. This time Ivy Dry just seemed to give me very little relief.
    I was talking to my 81 year old aunt and she remembered a doctor recommending Milk of Magnesia. I was willing to try anything at this point. Within 24 hours I was getting some relief and it was drying some of the poison ivy up. I will use Milk of Magnesia from now on as soon as the poison Ivy begins to appears.

  2. Heiko
    Reply

    Thank you for the info. I heard this last week on the program, just as I was having a bad breakout of PI on my legs. As I am very allergic to PI and calamine lotion doesn’t work that great I was curious to give it a try. Result, it relieved the itching and quickly dried up the oozing sections. Definitely a useful remedy. Thanks again!

  3. tkg
    Reply

    I am wondering how much magnesium is absorbed into the body when MoM is used topically?
    I was using MoM pretty consistently as underarm deodorant as regular deodorants were giving me a rash. The MoM worked great – I mean, I never got stinky, ever!
    However, my blood test results have come back with my Magnesium levels slightly elevated (2.5 mEq/L is considered the norm, mine was 2.9). Could I be absorbing a little too much Mg through my skin?

  4. AM
    Reply

    I tried this for rosacea and it did nothing, unfortunately. However, I just got into some poison ivy and applied MOM and it seems to be working. There’s a little tingling rather than the full-blown itch.

  5. Donna
    Reply

    I volunteer at a local high school in the theater department. Acne is a constant issues. I recommended that the students try the MoM treatment and it worked! One parent even told me that it was a life-saver for his son. (They had spent a small fortune on treatments and medications with a dermatologist). When the father told the dermatologist about the efficacy of MoM as opposed to other medications, the physician was not happy. It even cleared up my rosacea! What a great product. Thanks for helping so many young adults.

  6. Tom S
    Reply

    I used MOM on a terrible heat rash in the private area between legs and body and even on privates, and it cleared it up in a very few days. It amazed me after using all types of medications; calamine lotion and solarcaine, etc., and medicated powders, that this simple remedy would work so quickly in relieving terrible pain and itch. Thank you for the information.

  7. Paul43
    Reply

    Seems like good old MoM is good for a lot of cures!

  8. BAS
    Reply

    Thanks for this info … I love to work outside and always get poison ivy several times a summer… Any relief from the itching would be a blessing.

What Do You Think?

Share your thoughts with others, but be mindful of protecting your own and others' privacy. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from web visitors is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. In posting a comment, you agree to our commenting policy and website terms and conditions.