Magnesium For Acne


Acne vulgaris is known for being the most common skin condition and affects more than 80% of adolescents and young adults.1 Acne is manifested by blackheadswhiteheadspapulespustules, and cysts on your face, back, and chest which often can cause scarring and hyperpigmentation.2,3 Scarring that occurs from acne, particularly severe acne, can have long-lasting negative physiological and psychosocial effects. Low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and avoidance of social interaction are all prevalent in the affected.3,4,5 

Acne occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with excess sebum oil and dead skin cells. Managing the condition can be tough, but there are several different options available to treat all kinds of acne, even including hormonal adult acne. It has become evident that nutritional factors such as vitamins and minerals are involved in the pathogenesis of acne.2,4 

If your diet is deficient in minerals, the levels of fatty acids and collagen in your skin's surface, which keeps it elastic and hydrated, drop.6,7 Your face becomes drier and uneven in tone. It becomes more prone to creases and wrinkles. 

Not only that, but vitamin and mineral deficiency can cause skin problems like acne. Not ideal. In turn, increasing these levels will help restore your skin condition. You've probably heard of magnesium supplements, which not only improve your overall health but also work wonders on your skin, especially if you have oily or acne-prone skin. 

What is magnesium? 

Magnesium is an alkaline macro mineral occurring in our bodies. As the second most abundant mineral in our body, magnesium is involved in almost all important metabolic and biochemical processes.6 It acts as a cofactor for hundreds of enzymatic reactions, and its primary functions include protein and nucleic acid synthesis, regulation of metabolic pathways, neurotransmission, neuromuscular function, and regulation of heart rhythm.7 It can help boost your mood, improve muscle function, and can lower blood pressure.9

Magnesium is a key element. It produces proteins and enzymes of skin cells that are consequently responsible for new skin cells being produced. Thus, this mineral holds significant potential in reducing acne breakouts, and calming sensitive skin and rosacea.6,8 In skin care, magnesium plays a crucial role in increasing skin hydration, increasing skin permeability, and barrier repair, facilitating skin renewal, therefore reducing skin inflammation.1 Also, a study suggests that people with severe acne had significantly decreased magnesium levels compared to patients with mild and moderate types of acne.8 

How to tell if you have a magnesium deficiency? 

Magnesium deficiency can lead to various health and skin problems. When your body lacks magnesium, it can impair protein synthesis and trigger an inflammatory response, which can make you feel weaker and age prematurely.6 Magnesium deficiency leads to uneven skin tone, reduced elasticity, and dehydration. This creates a perfect environment for age-related dryness, inflammation, and free radical damage.6 

The most common symptoms of low magnesium are: 

How does magnesium fight breakouts?

Magnesium has anti-inflammatory properties that can play a role by penetrating under the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis) which helps restore the skin by regulating skin cell regeneration and shedding.7,8 Therefore, magnesium has just the right properties to boost ​​wound healing, hence helping calm the inflammation caused by acne vulgaris.10 

A study suggests that magnesium might penetrate the skin while using magnesium-based skin care products. This can be helpful to reduce irritation and inflammation and improve things like acne and rosacea. 

Which magnesium is best for acne?

Both practice and research provide evidence that magnesium is great for fighting acne breakouts. There are many available magnesium forms over the counter, but how do you know which one is the best for improving your skin health? 

One of the most reliable ways to make sure you are getting enough magnesium in your diet does not involve taking a daily supplement of magnesium.11 It could be by improving the diet which should include dark green, leafy veggies like kale, spinach, and collard greens. Fruits like bananas, avocados, and dried fruits like apricots and raisins, could serve as a healthy dose of magnesium. 

Here are healthy foods that are high in magnesium:

Dietary supplements are an easy way to get your dose. Magnesium citrate is absorbed faster and more effectively when taken orally. Also, look for supplements with magnesium glycinate or magnesium bis-glycinate. Normally, they are the easiest on the digestive tract, and the most absorbable. Also, they have a calming effect on the GABA receptors in the brain and can help you sleep.12 Regardless, remember food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a balanced diet.

There is another option available over the counter which is magnesium and hydrocolloid acne patches that can effectively target spots. The powerful combination of magnesium and hydrocolloid could offer a good solution for your skin blemishes. Easy-to-use patches would have to be applied to your pimple. The hydrocolloid would absorb and draw out impurities while magnesium would reduce skin irritation and redness. For best results, it should be left for a minimum of 6 hours and a maximum of 12 hours. 

In addition, Epsom salts also known as magnesium sulfate have proven to be effective in improving skin conditions.13 Studies have shown that magnesium salts can enhance skin hydration, skin barrier repair, and boost’s the skin’s renewal, thus reducing inflammation.9 However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of Epsom salts in reducing acne is still debatable.

Koppes et al., suggest that face creams with magnesium, along with ceramides, can significantly improve the skin barrier.14,15 Therefore, it could be used to deliver great moisture without feeling sticky. 

How much magnesium do I need for treating acne?

In general, all skin types can benefit from magnesium use, although those with oily, acne-prone skin will likely benefit the most.16 First things first, as mentioned above, magnesium exists in many different forms and it is up to you what form you prefer. However, if you do choose a magnesium supplement, the recommended dose for people 18 or older is 350 mg/day. Although, the recommended dosage may differ depending on your needs. Regardless, you should not exceed the stated dose on the tube. 

Side effects and other concerns

You shouldn't worry about getting too much magnesium from food. Studies suggest that magnesium intake is generally safe and is well tolerated.17 However, when magnesium is consumed as an additive it might have a laxative effect when the dosage is exceeded. You should not exceed the daily recommended dosage. In addition, if you are taking any antibiotics, make sure to consult your GP before adding any kind of supplement to your daily regime.  


Acne breakouts can have substantial physiological impacts. Hence, effective treatment not only helps to improve the skin condition but helps to boost self-esteem. For acne treatment and overall health, an increase in magnesium can be achieved through a balanced diet, oral supplementation, and/or skin care products containing magnesium. 

Acne breakouts can be frustrating, but clearing your skin is never hopeless. With a few dietary changes, a better sleep schedule, and a little help from magnesium, your skin condition couldd improve in no time.


  1. Bettoli V, Guerra-Tapia A, Herane MI, Piquero Martín J. Challenges and solutions in oral isotretinoin in acne: Reflections on 35 years of experience. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. 2019;12:943–51. Available from: 
  2. Leung AKC, Barankin B, Lam JM, Leong KF, Hon KL. Dermatology: How to manage acne vulgaris. Drugs in Context. 2021;10:1–18. Available from: 
  3. Bhate K, Williams HC. Epidemiology of acne vulgaris. British Journal of Dermatology. 2013;168(3):474–85. Available from: 
  4. Duru P, Örsal Ö. The effect of acne on quality of life, social appearance anxiety, and use of conventional, complementary, and alternative treatments. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2021;56:102614. Available from:
  5. Kaikati J, Zoghaib S, Kechichian E, Stephan F, Helou J, Sleilaty G, et al. The impact of acne treatment on quality of life and self-esteem: A prospective cohort study from Lebanon. International Journal of Women's Dermatology. 2021;7(4):415–21. Available from: 
  6. Pickering G, Mazur A, Trousselard M, Bienkowski P, Yaltsewa N, Amessou M, et al. Magnesium status and stress: The Vicious Circle Concept revisited. Nutrients. 2020;12(12):3672. Available from: 
  7. Glasdam, S.M.; Glasdam, S.; Peters, G.H. The Importance of Magnesium in the Human Body: A Systematic Literature Review. Adv. Clin. Chem. 2016;73:169–193. Available from: 
  8. OM Saleh B, NH Anbar Z, Y Majid A. Serum trace elements (zinc, copper and magnesium) status in Iraqi patients with acne vulgaris : (case- controlled study). Iraqi Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2017;20(2):44–9. Available from: 
  9. Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica. 2017;1–14. Available from: 
  10. Nourbakhsh SM, Rouhi-Boroujeni H, Kheiri M, et al. Effect of topical application of the cream containing magnesium 2% on treatment of diaper dermatitis and diaper rash in children a clinical trial study. J Clin Diagn Res. 2016;10(1). Available from: 
  11. Baldwin H, Tan J. Effects of diet on acne and its response to treatment. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2020;22(1):55–65. Available from:
  12. Kawai N, Sakai N, Okuro M, Karakawa S, Tsuneyoshi Y, Kawasaki N, et al. The sleep-promoting and hypothermic effects of glycine are mediated by NMDA receptors in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2014;40(6):1405–16. Available from: 
  13. Proksch E, Nissen H-P, Bremgartner M, Urquhart C. Bathing in a magnesium-rich dead sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin. International Journal of Dermatology. 2005;44(2):151–7. Available from:
  14. Koppes S, Charles F, Lammers L, Frings-Dresen M, Kezic S, Rustemeyer T. Efficacy of a cream containing ceramides and magnesium in the treatment of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis: A randomized, double-blind, emollient- and hydrocortisone-controlled trial. Acta Dermato Venereologica. 2016;96(7):948–53. Available from: 
  15. Kass L, Rosanoff A, Tanner A, Sullivan K, McAuley W, Plesset M. Effect of transdermal magnesium cream on serum and urinary magnesium levels in humans: A pilot study. PLOS ONE. 2017;12(4). Available from: 
  16. Tamara A, Anggowarsito JL, Tandyono V. Association between magnesium levels and the severity of Acne Vulgaris. Journal of Widya Medika Junior. 2021;3(4):237–41. Available from: 
  17. Beckstrand RL, Pickens JS. Beneficial effects of magnesium supplementation. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 2011;16(3):181–9. Available from: 
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Karina Silova

MSc Molecular Medicine and BSc Biomedicine, University of East Anglia, UK

My background is in key areas of biomedical research focusing on diseases and their molecular pathways to understand their root cause. I specialise in epigenetics and reproductive health; I am passionate about understanding diseases and helping to bridge the gap between medical science and the general public with accurate and understandable content while educating the public about health and diseases.

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