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Milk of Magnesia (Magnesium) Solves Rosacea and Acne

Topical magnesium in the form of milk of magnesia or Epsom salts has been surprisingly effective for skin blemishes and acne rosacea.

Q. Six years ago I was battling all those red bumps and rashes on my face called rosacea. I used tubes of Metrogel (metronidazole) as well as many other prescribed creams, to no avail. Then I read on the People’s Pharmacy that milk of magnesia might be helpful.

I bought a small bottle ($1.25) put it on my face every night before bed. One week later the rash was gone, never to return. I haven’t had to continue using it.

I hope this helps someone else. I have referred this idea to others with great results.

A. You are not the first person to report that topical applications of milk of magnesia (MoM) help clear up the redness of rosacea. This is a somewhat mysterious condition where people experience red cheeks, forehead or nose. Some individuals also notice pimple-like blemishes.

The cause of rosacea may be related to infection that triggers inflammation. Bacteria, viruses and fungi fave been implicated, but dermatologists are still debating which organisms might be responsible and how best to deal with this skin condition.

Eradicating or controlling the infection is a challenge. We’re not sure why magnesium hydroxide, the active ingredient in milk of magnesia, might work. Nevertheless, we have heard from a great many people that it does:


“Please accept my humble gratitude for all the goodness that you do for people like myself and many others. Your work is so very needed, as well as appreciated.

“I too have been a victim of Oracea, Metrogel and a lame doctor’s indifference. I was very lucky to accidentally find your information for help with my acne rosacea. Believe me, I am 66 years old, have been through two rounds of Accutane and laser resurf.

Forever grateful, C. Saunders

“I volunteer at a local high school in the theater department. Acne is a constant issue for the kids.

“I suggested that the students try the MoM (milk of magnesia) treatment and it worked!

One parent even told me it was a life-saver for his son. They had spent a small fortune on treatments with a dermatologist. When the father told the dermatologist that MoM worked better than prescribed medications, the physician was not happy.

“MoM even cleared up my rosacea. Thanks for helping so many young adults.”

Epsom Salts for Rosacea

Many people have heard about Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) as a bath soak for sore muscles. Others have found that it can be helpful topically:

“I read about using milk of magnesia for treating acne. My skin condition is called rosacea. It is a painfully embarrassing problem and no one seems to know what causes it or how to cure it. (W. C. Fields was the most famous rosacea victim and people sometimes assume a red nose is a result of drinking too much.)

“The pharmaceutical products my dermatologist prescribed failed to clear up my red bumps. So I tried magnesium sulfate in the form of a warm compress soaked in an Epsom salts solution. This worked beautifully, but nobody is making the rounds telling dermatologists about it.”


“Thank you for the suggestion of using Epsom Salts for rosacea. It worked like a charm for me. The tetracycline and Oracea and Finacea and Metrogel did not work as well as the Epsom Salt wash.

“This is an easy fix for a perplexing problem. I told my Doctor about this and your site.”


“Thank you so much for the posting about the Epsom lotion for rosacea! I have had rosacea for about 4 years & it has been getting progressively worse. I have also been using the OTC Prosacea gel on the bumps but it only minimizes the look of them. Doxycycline made me deathly ill & the expensive prescription gels seemed to bring more bumps to the surface.

“The Epsom lotion worked like a miracle after everything I have been trying for years. I put it on at night as suggested & was amazed that the bumps were so diminished the next morning. I still used a small bit of Prosacea (along with the Epsom lotion) on the worst areas. I am hoping that regular use of both will make my facial skin start looking more like it used to.

“This is the first real improvement I’ve seen in years.

“My doctor also recently prescribed a Magnesium supplement at night to help with severe insomnia & that has also helped me fall asleep more easily (along with my long term Lunesta that was becoming less effective). I couldn’t be more surprised that magnesium could help so many conditions!”

Teenage Acne Responds to MoM

“My daughter’s skin cleared up after she started using MoM, and I was convinced that it worked when her only occasional breakouts were all along the edges of where she applied it – her hairline and around her lips. She ran out of MoM while I was out of town and now we have proof – her forehead completely broke out before we got to the store for more!

“Her skin with MoM is so smooth that her friends ask her what she uses. They have all tried expensive over-the-counter treatments without the results she gets from MoM.”

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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