White facial mask, milk of magnesia on your face

Rosacea may start with easy blushing and flushing and proceed to constant (or near-constant) redness across the cheeks. With this, people may get bumps that look like pimples but are not. There are medications that can help ease rosacea, but have you ever thought of an unusual home remedy–putting milk of magnesia on your face? Some readers have tried this.

Milk of Magnesia on Your Face for Rosacea:

Q. The only thing that has ever helped my rosacea has been milk of magnesia (MoM). Over two decades, I have tried prescription Metrogel, prescription antibiotics, Prosacea, tea tree oil, jojoba oil, sea buckthorn oil, various “healing” muds, splashing my face with apple cider vinegar (ouch!), snail slime, IPL lasers, homeopathic remedies, Chinese herbs, and more “redness” creams and lotions than I can remember.

I’ve eaten yogurt and banished gluten, taken supplements, including magnesium, and used anti-histamines. In the end, MoM was the only thing that worked for me on a lasting basis. The IPL laser treatments helped for about one week before the redness returned.

I applied the milk of magnesia at night about five minutes before going to bed (to give it a chance to dry) and rinsed it off first thing in the morning. There was a noticeable difference after the first night and within five nights my skin was clearer than it had been in twenty years. I now do “maintenance” by using the MoM about once a month.

Everyone’s body is different. MoM may not work for others, but given its low cost it could be worth a try.

What Is Rosacea?

A. Rosacea (also called “acne rosacea”) is a skin condition associated with flushing, redness and bumps on the face. The cause is unclear, but some dermatologists suggest it is an overreaction to Demodex mites that live on everyone’s skin. There is also evidence that Helicobacter pylori infections of the stomach can trigger rosacea (BMC Infectious Diseases, July 11, 2018).  Treating the H. pylori seems to help as much or more than the usual rosacea treatments.

We could find no clinical research on using milk of magnesia on your face for rosacea. You are not the only reader who has found it helpful, however.

Dandruff Shampoo for Rosacea:

Some people use the dandruff shampoo Selsun Blue containing selenium sulfide to wash their faces. They report noticeably less redness. Dietary restrictions that avoid personal rosacea triggers such as black pepper, yogurt, canola oil, citrus fruits or tomatoes may also be helpful for some individuals.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Mary
    Beverly Hills, Fl

    I’ve been using MOM for sunburns for over 20 years. It works extremely well, calming that burning sensation.

  2. Dave

    Love the MoM suggestion. I had seriously inflamed welts plus redness and Selsun Blue was the only thing that worked. I tried Metrogel and Soolantra and both were helpful but nether really solved it completely. I still have some redness which doesn’t bother me much but I might try MoM!

  3. Richard
    Krum, Texas

    I too suffered from Rosacea, and had a hard time clearing it up. I had changed the way I washed my face. I had started leaving the soap on my face for an extended period of time as an experiment, and the Rosacea started. I fought this for several, using prescription medicine along with other remedies but to no avail. Since going back to applying soap to my face and then immediately removing the soap I not only got rid of it, but have no re-occurance. The soap I use is Dove, due to other problems with other soaps.

  4. DF

    Think about it. If topcal magnesium helps with rosacea, under arm body & foot odor, might the entire body be deficient? Diabetics are almost always deficient in magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is said to be more prevalent than calcium deficiency. Serum magnesium is what’s usually tested but is not an accurate measure. You may have adequate magnesium floating around in your serum but it may not be getting into the red blood cells. If you are having labs performed, ask for RBC magnesium. Insurance probably won’t cover the extra cost but it is a more accurate marker than serum. Magnesium glycinate is protein bound & well absorbed & very rarely causes diarrhea if taken in larger amounts. Unless there is compromised kidney function, most individuals are safe to take magnesium glycinate.

  5. Jan

    I tried a reply, and it didn’t seem to take, so I decided to try it separately from the person’s original comment. (Wondering if this is why I sometimes see the same comment repeated.) I am wondering which antifungal medication the person mixed with MOM to deal with seborrheic keratosis, since antifungals differ.

  6. Marie

    Would MoM work on dandruff? Just wondering.

  7. Lucy

    I have used MOM but found that a nightly wipe with Listerine (house brand) is easier and just as effective. I use dandruff shampoo in the shower. Also use that under arms and breasts where there have been hot weather rashes in the past. I haven’t used Metrogel or a systemic antibiotic in years.

  8. Phil
    Columbia, MO

    I used MoM for a year or so, and it definitely helped to reduce rosacea and dermatitis. I was also using a dandruff shampoo to wash my hair and face. I no longer have rosacea, but I continue to be plagued by dermatitis. I get daily relief from the itching and scaling of the dermatitis by using Vitamin B3 serum. The Vitamin B3 serum does not cure the dermatitis, but it stops the itching and scaling.

  9. Barbara H.
    Baltimore, MD

    I have found that milk of magnesia provides instant and day-long relief for flare-ups of itching on my neck, under the chin area. After I apply MoM as a deodorant every morning , I use the same cotton pad to swab the neck area, and the itching stops immediately.

  10. Leslie

    I have suffered from acne rosacea since my early 40’s when I started menopause. Nothing topical ever helped, so I graduated to an oral antibiotic that worked for several years until it tore up my stomach. I then was switched to acutane which also worked until it dried out my eyes. Thankfully another treatment was suggested which only works for females, since it has the side effect of lowering testosterone levels in the body: spironolactone. This drug was originally developed as a water pill. I’ve been on spironolactone (one in morning and one at night) for 7 years now with no side effects and no redness or breakouts.

    • Margaret

      Spironolactone made me have bleeding after menopause and required my doctor to do a uterine biopsy. The miracle drug for me ended up being sodium sulfacedamide/sulphur lotion.

      • Cindy
        Richmond, VA

        I, too, get excellent control of rosacea with Sulfacetamide lotion. It’s inexpensive and works.

  11. Carole M
    Mt.Airy, MD

    About 8 years ago the seborrheic keratosis on my nose was successfully treated by a dermatologist. It returned in the same place a year later and was again treated by the same method. When it appeared the third time I tried a home treatment suggested for seborrheic dermatitis. A tube of antifungal medication was mixed with a half bottle of MOM & applied to the area every night, washed off in the morning. The place scabbed, healed, returned to normal skin & has not reappeared in 5 years.

    • Jan

      I would be extremely interested in which antifungal medication you used with the MOM since different antifungal medications are used for different purposes, and one might work for seborrheic keratosis while another might not. (Also may be different with different people, but I would like to start with the one that worked for you.)

    • Carol
      Boise, Idaho

      What tube of anti-fungal med did you use? I struggle with two types of keratosis. Your suggestion gives hope. Please respond!!!

    • Claire

      What anti fungal med did you mix with MoM? Your suggestion may make life happy again!

  12. Ellen

    Milk of magnesia seems to be the magic for everything where microbes are a factor….for body (as d.o., etc) and household (shower mold, etc). Thanks for introducing me to this inexpensive solution to so many problems.

  13. Mandi

    I tried it, and it seemed to help as does sea salt solution. I don’t have much of a problem though.

  14. Clare

    I’ve been washing my face with dandruff shampoo (the generic store brand) for several years and have had absolutely no symptoms of rosacea.

    I use it in the shower and leave it on for just a couple minutes before rinsing it off.

  15. Robert

    I have tried everything I have heard of and/or read about to combat rosacea since 1986, 32 years. Presently I wash my face with an antiseptic skin cleaner, Chlorhexidine Gluconate 4% Solution and use Betamethasone Valerate Ointment, USP, 0.1%. Results have been sporadic, good at the present time.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.