Are you getting enough magnesium? What your skin may be telling you.

Magnesium is absolutely essential to life. It is responsible for over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body. It has a key role in regulating energy, the breakdown of fatty acids, protein synthesis, DNA metabolism, the relaxation of muscle tissue, neurotransmitter activity, and hormone regulation. Seen in these terms, your skin may be the least of your concerns if you have a severe magnesium deficiency. But, did you know that low magnesium levels may contribute to acne, wrinkles and eczema? In fact, the condition of your skin may be revealing underlying nutritional issues.

Lack of Magnesium is Common

[pullquote]Did you know that low magnesium levels may contribute to acne, wrinkles and eczema? The condition of your skin may be revealing underlying nutritional issues.[/pullquote]
Statistically severe magnesium deficiency is rare, but this does not prevent mild magnesium deficiency being a widespread issue. In the last 25 years, the magnesium content in the standard Western diet has decreased by 30% to 40%, primarily due to intensive farming methods. This is important because studies suggest that a diet that is one third under the recommended daily intake can induce heart arrhythmia, impair glucose balance and alter cholesterol metabolism.  On the other hand, boosting magnesium can help reduce cramps and migraines.


The UK recommended daily values for magnesium is 300 mg for men and 270 mg for women. Spices, nuts, cereals, coffee, cocoa, tea, and green leafy vegetables are rich sources of magnesium. Vitamin B6 is needed for many of the biochemical reactions that require magnesium, so it is also worth checking out your intake of B6.

Magnesium Reduces Acne Inflammation

This was the conclusion of a 2007 study cited in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” which found that magnesium reduced levels E-selectin in the skin. The skin releases this chemical when it is invaded by the P. acnes bacteria. The presence of E-selectin results in acne inflammation. Magnesium reduces E-selectin’s effects and prevents the inflammation.

Magnesium Prevents Wrinkles

A diet rich in magnesium may significantly slow down the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. This is because magnesium plays a critical role in DNA repair. Furthermore, without the antioxidant power of magnesium, enzymes in the skin are unable to neutralise wrinkle-forming free radicals. The skin is constantly under attack from damaging free radicals, and without a proper defence system, wrinkles and fine lines simply cannot be held at bay.

Magnesium May Help Eczema

Low magnesium levels can cause the body to release histamine. Histamine can trigger the symptoms associated with allergic reactions. This includes itchy skin and red blotches, which is caused by swelling blood vessels leaking fluid into the skin and tissues. Magnesium deficiency can also lead to lower levels of fatty acids on the skin, which may contribute to inflammation and dryness.


1. British Medical Journal, See also Wester PO (1987). “Magnesium”. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 45 (5 Suppl): 1305–12.

2. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007.