Milk of magnesia, a compound also known as magnesium hydroxide, is used temporarily to relieve constipation and other symptoms caused by excess stomach acid. It's a laxative that draws water into the intestines to help lower the amount of acid in the stomach and lets the stool pass more easily. Milk of magnesia is taken in chewable or liquid form. While it's ideal for providing short-term constipation relief, there are also many other uses for the laxative, and it poses little to no risks when the body absorbs it.
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Milk of magnesia's alkaline nature absorbs oil helping prevent acne on the face of individuals who suffer from oily skin. It also has antibacterial qualities that disinfect and kills the bacteria that cause acne. Furthermore, milk of magnesia contains zinc that balances hormones and speeds up wound healing.
There are several ways individuals can use milk of magnesia to treat acne-prone skin. For the best results, individuals should use milk of magnesia as a mask by applying a thin layer of the liquid form on the skin and let dry. It will cause the skin to tighten as it is absorbing the excess oil. Once dry, remove the milk of magnesia with warm water. Thankfully, milk of magnesia can also be used as a spot treatment for the occasional pimple when left to dry overnight.
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Treats Canker Sores
Canker sores are small ulcers appearing in the mouth making talking and eating uncomfortable. Simple canker sores appear about three or four times a year. Complex canker sores are less common and often occur in individuals who have experienced them before. Certain acidic foods, stress, or tissue injury are likely the cause of canker sores. The acid neutralizer in milk of magnesia changes the pH in the mouth to prevent a canker sore from growing. It also coats the sore to relieve pain and irritation. For up to three or four times a day, individuals can use a cotton swab to dab liquid milk of magnesia onto the canker sore.
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A low-fiber diet and consuming too much dairy are the leading causes of temporary constipation. Eating foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains will increase fiber, and not getting enough fluids can have the same effect, so it's important to stay hydrated for healthy bowels. Medications including iron supplements, sedatives, and blood pressure-lowering medications can also cause constipation.
There are serious health issues that cause constipation such as irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer, and thyroid disease. Milk of magnesia is a hyperosmotic saline laxative that helps increase bowel activity. It's fast-acting, and the user can expect a bowel movement within four to six hours after taking milk of magnesia. Doctors may need to rule out any serious condition that can cause constipation including a bowel obstruction or appendicitis before suggesting milk of magnesia for treatment.
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Indigestion is typically a sign of an ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or gallbladder disease. It causes recurrent or persistent discomfort and pain in the upper abdomen. Some symptoms of indigestion include nausea and vomiting, bloating, acidic taste, belching, and gas. Milk of magnesia can ease indigestion, eliminate embarrassing flatulence, and reduce acid in the stomach. The magnesium hydroxide combined with hydrogen ions neutralizes stomach acid and alleviates symptoms associated with indigestion including upset stomach, heartburn, indigestion, and other gastric conditions.
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When the lower esophageal sphincter doesn't close off the esophagus from the stomach, acid reflux occurs. Stomach acid flows up into the throat, causing pain and irritation. Typically, acid reflux suffers experience a burning sensation in the chest, a sour taste in their mouth, or the feeling of food coming back up into the throat. Common heartburn triggers are alcohol, acidic food, and fatty foods. Uncommon acid reflux is usually treated with over-the-counter medication. The magnesium in milk of magnesia alleviates heartburn by neutralizing stomach acid. Many doctors recommend milk of magnesia in combination with prescription medications for acid reflux to reduce magnesium deficiency.
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Benefits Skin Rashes
Some individuals use milk of magnesia to treat skin rashes. In these cases, individuals apply the substance topically rather than taking it by mouth. The theory is the substance has disinfectant properties that can help treat many different skin conditions including diaper rash, poison ivy, and eczema. Milk of magnesia has alkalizing properties that can help soothe the skin. At the same time, it keeps the skin dry. Whether this is an effective medicinal remedy has not been well-studied. Other skin rash treatments have more comprehensive scientific data and backing. However, several individuals have provided anecdotal evidence about the substance helping with their rashes. Milk of magnesia has been cited as helpful in getting rid of rashes under the breasts, treating swamp rashes, and treating heat rashes. It seems to work best in cases of mild skin irritation rather than in cases of allergy or autoimmune reaction.
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May Treat Itchy Scalp
Milk of magnesia may treat itchy scalp, but the evidence is largely anecdotal. There haven't been scientific studies indicating the substance affects itching or other skin issues. However, the reasoning is similar to that of the treatment for skin rashes. Milk of magnesia has an alkalizing and soothing effect on irritated skin, which can reduce feelings of pain and discomfort. Itching is just another form of skin irritation. If the same mechanism is at play, the substance might soothe the scalp. In the same vein, it might soothe mild itching not caused by an underlying condition like an allergic reaction or bug bite. There isn't any scientific research to determine exactly what the effect is, why it happens, or whether it can all be attributed to a placebo effect. Similarly, there isn't research to determine if milk of magnesia works for only certain types of itchy scalp. Can the substance soothe itching caused by dehydration? What about underlying conditions? More research is needed.
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May Alleviate Dandruff
Some individuals use milk of magnesia as a folk remedy to alleviate dandruff. Like with the other skin-related uses, this involves applying the substance topically rather than ingesting it. There has been some anecdotal evidence stating individuals saw improvement in dandruff when combining milk of magnesia with a medicated dandruff shampoo. According to these stories, the individuals saw much greater results than using medicated shampoo alone. However, there hasn't been an official scientific study done to quantify these stories and examine if there's any basis to them. Dandruff commonly occurs in individuals of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. It's often incorrectly thought to be the product of bad hygiene. But the flaking of the scalp is typically related to an underlying condition that has more to do with genetics than anything. Treating it can be difficult even if individuals have the best hygiene practices in the world. Dandruff is the mildest form of seborrheic dermatitis, which is a skin condition that causes serious and constant flaking and irritation of the scalp.
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May Act As A Deodorant
Some anecdotal evidence shows milk of magnesia may be effective as a deodorant. Like with other topical uses of the substance, there haven't yet been scientific studies done to quantify these results. Individuals say they've tried it and seen results, but the reason for these results and if they were related to the milk of magnesia is unknown. Most individuals who have used milk of magnesia as a deodorant say they did so after dealing with strong body odor that was not helped by many different brands and extra-strength deodorants with different ingredients. To try milk of magnesia as a deodorant, individuals should first put a small amount into a cup. They should allow the liquid to evaporate from the cup for several days until they're left with a paste rather than a thin liquid and then apply a thin layer under the arms. There have been hundreds of individuals claiming they have seen significant results when placing milk of magnesia on their underarms. Whether it works on other areas that commonly accrue body odor or not isn't currently known.
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May Work As A Makeup Primer
Many very strange cosmetic trends come and go, especially with today's rapidly evolving social media and influencer culture. But using milk of magnesia as a makeup primer is a practice endorsed by several large and well-respected makeup companies, experts, and publications. Some professional makeup artists use milk of magnesia on celebrities rather than using traditional cosmetic matte primers. One of the reasons it's so popular with makeup artists is because of the layer it creates between the face and the foundation. When celebrities go out under hot stage or studio lights to perform, this protective barrier prevents the foundation from sinking into their face as they sweat. There have also been demonstrated benefits for the appearance of oily skin. It removes excess grease from the skin and gives individuals a level of shine control that isn't often found in matte primers. Individuals who have tried it report it feels somewhat like using a hydrating clay mask as a facial.