Magnesium is known to be essential for total body health, but should we be applying this mineral to our skin, too?
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When it comes to ingredients touted for their barrier-strengthening properties, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid immediately jump to mind. It’s a similar story when it comes to dialling down redness. But magnesium may just be the dark horse in the skincare world, and – after slathering on a product laced in this mineral – one that will win your deep-seated appreciation .
Stina Lönnkvist, co-founder of Mantle, reveals everything you need to know about magnesium’s health and beauty benefits.
What is magnesium?
"Magnesium is a mineral present in our own bodies," says Lönnkvist. "It's a crucial supporter of muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure, energy production and the body's overall health." The mineral is naturally found in foods including whole grains and dark-green, leafy vegetables, is available as supplements and is also a supporting ingredient in many skincare products. It's most often found in three different formulations in creams and serums: magnesium hydroxide, magnesium PCA and magnesium carbonate.
What are the benefits of magnesium for skin?
Magnesium is a workhorse ingredient that still flies largely under the radar. "Applied topically, magnesium shows promise as an agent for strengthening the skin barrier, regulating cellular regeneration and repair, calming irritation and redness, replenishing moisture and improving skin’s overall wellbeing," notes Lönnkvist.
What skin types benefit most from using magnesium?
"Magnesium could potentially be the perfect fit for those of us living in Scandinavian climates with its harsh weather conditions," says Lönnkvist. "In creams and serums its skin-soothing and barrier-strengthening effects could help to calm redness and irritation, making it an ideal winter hero for combating seasonal dryness." Given magnesium regulates cellular repair, it can help to ward off wrinkles and keep your complexion plump when under attack from eternal stressors.
"Magnesium may also be beneficial for acne and rosacea thanks to its calming and anti-inflammatory properties," adds Lönnkvist. In fact, some dermatologists recommend supplementing with magnesium as it lowers cortisol levels, which, in turn, regulates sebum production in hormonal acne sufferers.
What time of year do you need to use magnesium most?
"Magnesium may be a beneficial add-on to incorporate into your skincare routine regardless of season," says Lönnkvist. "But it's especially beneficial now that we're heading towards the colder months, which always calls for ingredients that strengthen the skin barrier, replenish moisture and combat seasonal irritation."
How should you use magnesium?
"Used in face creams like Mantle's ultra-protective The Rich Cream, magnesium is a great way to boost and bolster skin with its mighty mineral-rich properties," Lönnkvist explains. "Magnesium can also be found in Epsom salts. When poured into a bath, the salts dissolve and the magnesium can penetrate the skin, easing inflammation and relaxing a tired body with tense muscles.
"Magnesium is considered safe when applied topically as part of your morning or nighttime skincare routine," adds Lönnkvist. "But, of course, always consult your doctor if you have questions about any skincare ingredient."