If you have super oily skin, a friend has probably suggested you use Milk Of Magnesia as a primer. Yep, Milk of Magnesia. The common OTC laxative. You’re supposed to slather that all over your skin. Gross, isn’t it?
“Not as gross as a face slick with oil,” I hear you oily-skinned gals say. And if Milk Of Magnesia really were the amazing cure for oily skin it is touted to be, I’d agree with you.
But it isn’t. What seems like a godsend in the short term can really cause havoc on your skin in the long run. Here’s why:
Milk Of Magnesia Is An Effective Oil-Absorber
I get why so many ladies turn to Milk Of Magnesia to keep their oily skin under control. The active ingredient in MOM 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. So, if you smear Milk Of Magnesia all over your oily skin, it’ll stop shining so much. Great, isn’t it? Not so fast.
The Problem With Milk Of Magnesia
If Milk Of Magnesia works so well, why shouldn’t you use it? Because of its alkaline ph. It’s not good for your skin. Let me explain.
Your skin’s natural ph is slightly acidic. This allows the good bacteria that live on our skin to thrive and those nasty ones that constantly attack it to shrivel and die.
When this acidic mantle is damaged, those bacteria can get past skin’s defenses and harm it. Skin also becomes dry, prone to irritations, and even acne. That’s why good skincare products are 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. If you use it regularly, it can do some serious damage to your skin.
I’m not the only one who thinks so. Skincare guru Paula Begoun, which used to recommend MOM before learning of its side effects, agrees with me: “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 bad MOM is for your skin, and now am recommending you use it as a deodorant? Am I nuts? Nope. Just hear me out.
The underarm area can get pretty sweaty and moist, especially in humid, hot weather. This moistness creates the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive in. By absorbing excess moisture, MOM makes sure that doesn’t happen.
In other words, if a high ph can increase the risk of a bacteria infection, the loss of sweat can reduce it. So, 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 gets rid of oil in the short term, regular use can cause havoc on your skin. Only when used as a deodorant, the risk is worth the benefit.
Do you use MOM on your skin?