Milk of Magnesia, the common OTC laxative, is often touted as a wonderful, and inexpensive, primer for people with very oily skin. But when things seem too good to be true, there’s usually a catch and, unfortunately, this is no exception: Milk Of Magnesia works well in the short term, but regular use can do more harm than good to your skin. Here’s why:
Milk Of Magnesia is an effective oil-absorber
The active ingredient in Milk Of Magnesia is Magnesium Hydroxide, a substance that has the ability to absorb lipids on the skin. The degreasing action of MOM is also enhanced by another of its components, Sodium Hypochlorite, commonly known as bleach. As a result, if you smear Milk Of Magnesia all over your oily skin, you’ll soon see a great reduction in shine.
So, what’s the problem with Milk Of Magnesia?
If Milk Of Magnesia can reduce shine, then why is it bad for the skin? Because of its alkaline ph. The skin’s ph is slightly acidic, which creates a good environment for the good bacteria that live on our skin and can protect it from the nasty ones, and everything else, that constantly attacks it. When this acidic mantle is damaged, skin becomes dry, and more prone to irritations and even acne.
That’s why skincare products should be formulated within the skin’s pH range (from 5 to 8). Milk Of Magnesia has a PH of 10.5. This is way too high and, if MOM is used regularly, it can cause havoc on your skin. Even skincare guru Paula Begoun, which has recommended MOM for years, has now stopped doing so: “Milk of Magnesia has a very high pH, which, over time, is not ideal for skin to use frequently. Using once an awhile, however, is ok!”
Use it as a deodorant instead
Ok, so I’ve just finished telling you how MOM is bad for the skin and am now recommending you to use it as a deodorant? Yes. Let me explain. The underarm area can get pretty sweaty and moist, which can create the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive in. Therefore, if a high ph can increase the risk of a bacteria infection, the loss of sweat can reduce it. In other words, in this case, and this case only, the benefits of MOM are greater than its side effects.
The Bottom Line
There are lots of ways to take good care of oily skin and reduce shine, but using Milk Of Magnesia is not one of them. While MOM does reduce shine in the short time, it can cause havoc on the skin if used regularly. Only when used as a deodorant, its benefits are superior to its side effects.
Do you use MOM on your skin?