logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

How Milk of Magnesia Cleared Stubborn Blemishes

A person who suffered from stubborn blemishes for many years found that applying milk of magnesia worked better than other treatments.
How Milk of Magnesia Cleared Stubborn Blemishes
Woman middle age ethnic origin asia have problems with the facial skin is acne and blemishes.

Stubborn blemishes can be extremely distressing. People with moderate to severe acne sometimes report that they feel embarrassed by a bad outbreak and withdraw from social interaction. When skin conditions are not acne, but some other type of blemish such as folliculitis, psoriasis or rosacea, the social stigma may be equally hard to bear. One reader with a persistent problem got relief from an unexpected remedy.

Many Treatments for Stubborn Blemishes:

Q. Over many years, I have consulted seven physicians, including two dermatologists, about a condition on my face and neck identified alternately as folliculitis and acne. I have used numerous antibiotics, antifungals, and steroids (including direct injection, patches, and topical creams) as well as Retin-A and Finacea and topical anti-inflammatories.

I have also tried every over-the-counter product that seemed likely and spent hours soaking in Epsom salts. Nothing has cleared my skin.

In despair over these stubborn blemishes, I turned to home remedies. Listerine began to get the lesions under control. But milk of magnesia (MoM) has made the biggest difference. I read about it in your column.

MoM has a strong drawing effect. Thank you for writing about it.

Milk of Magnesia to Clear the Skin:

A. As far as we can tell, dermatologists have not studied milk of magnesia for stubborn blemishes. That is despite a provocative letter to the editor of the medical journal JAMA Dermatology (Jan. 1, 1975)

Milk of magnesia is an oral laxative, magnesium hydroxide, that has been used for more than 140 years. In addition, other readers report that topical MoM works well as a deodorant and to treat under-breast rashes. Because milk of magnesia is basic, it may alter the environment for skin microbes. This might help explain how it could help against stubborn blemishes. 

Rate this article
4.1- 144 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
  • Sigal R, "Letter: Milk of magnesia treatment for acne." Archives of Dermatology, Jan. 1975.
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.