Magnesium Oil Benefits Include Relief For Sore Muscles, Clear Skin & Better Sleep
What is magnesium oil?
Magnesium is a mineral that plays a role in many biological processes of the human body.
In fact, the interaction between phosphate and magnesium ions make this mineral essential to the functioning of all cells in all living organisms.
Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions that contribute to healthy metabolic and immune functioning.
Additionally, magnesium is critical for healthy bone development, and its deficiency has been linked to osteoporosis1, high blood pressure2, and even heart disease3.
You might be asking yourself why magnesium seems to be cropping up everywhere. It’s because magnesium deficiency, known medically as hypomagnesemia, is pretty common.
In fact, recent data shows that magnesium deficiency is conservatively estimated to affect around 10%–30% of a given population4. The reason? Low dietary intake coupled with over-farmed soil, lack of sleep, constant stress, and too much alcohol, caffeine, and sugar consumption.
Less than 10 percent of Americans meet the recommended dietary allowance. Most with magnesium deficiency may not even know it because they have no symptoms or minor ones.
Despite the fact that this condition often flies under the radar, some health experts believe that magnesium deficiency is one of the largest and most under-addressed health problems.
The symptoms vary from person to person and can range from general anxiety to restless leg. So be sure to ask your doctor if your magnesium levels are normal because it may be the root cause of any neuromuscular, cardiovascular, and metabolic dysfunction.
Finally: magnesium oil is really a misnomer. It’s not really an oil at all but gets the moniker from the slick, oil-like feeling that this highly saturated mineral oil leaves on the skin.
And, like copper, this mineral can cause some confusion when choosing the one most appropriate for skin and overall body care. Magnesium oil is simply magnesium chloride suspended in water.
What are the potential benefits of magnesium?
Since many people are magnesium deficient, it's often beneficial to integrate this mineral into your diet, supplement rotation, and self-care routine.*
While there still needs to be more research done on magnesium oil specifically (at the moment most of the research is about magnesium glycinate supplementation) here are some ways magnesium deficiency affects the body and what magnesium oil might do to help.
We should also note that transdermal magnesium therapy5—or the idea that when magnesium is applied topically through an oil or soak it can penetrate the dermis to have internal effects—is a very controversial method, as the science just isn't there to back up many of the claims.
Magnesium oil may help ease minor aches
If any sort of body pain has you feeling out of commission, a magnesium oil massage may be just what you need.
When applied topically, a healthy level of magnesium has been demonstrated to stave off nerve pain and help alleviate dull, aching chronic pain6 in human studies. That's why magnesium-infused bath salts and magnesium foot and hand lotions have grown ever more popular.
Some preliminary research shows that magnesium might help alleviate carpal tunnel pain.
Even if you don’t have aches and pains, magnesium oil may catalyze the healing of injuries and improve overall athletic performance7.
It may help with cramps
When magnesium is lacking in the body, you may experience more frequent muscle spasms or cramping.
In the body, magnesium functions as an electrolyte that is critical for muscle function, as it grants potassium entry into your muscle cells. Because of this interaction, it's vital for neuromuscular transmission and contraction.
While there is not much robust and methodologically sound research on magnesium’s antispasmodic properties8, there exists evidence that supplementation relieves cramps in some patient populations9.
Anecdotally, magnesium oil is considered to be a natural relaxant for mild pains like cramps. With the benefits of massage well-documented in the scientific literature, one study found that abdominal massage was effective in reducing dysmenorrhea10, which would only strengthen the therapeutic benefit of any applied magnesium oil.
Magnesium deficiency disrupts sleep, so oil may help
Throughout history, magnesium has garnered a reputation for relaxation and bliss that makes it ideal for those with insomnia and anxiety. The research supporting magnesium supplements for sleep11 is fairly robust.
In fact, it’s now widely accepted in the medical community that sustaining healthy magnesium levels often leads to better sleep thanks to magnesium’s vital role in maintaining appropriate GABA levels.
GABA is a neurotransmitter that promotes unwinding and slowing down. While many studies do not look at the effect of magnesium oil just yet, magnesium supplementation has been shown to greatly improve sleep quality in people who report having problems with falling or staying asleep12.*
Even if you’re not looking for more Z's, magnesium is critical in regulating the stress response. Recent groundbreaking research demonstrates that magnesium deficiency may wreak havoc on the gut and contribute to anxiety13.
Magnesium has also been shown to have a harmonizing effect on mood13, which may help you relax into a deeper sleep.
When topically applying magnesium oil to the skin, you are reducing the oil production of the sebum14, which makes this a standout for those dealing with chronic acne and breakouts.
It acts as a humectant, keeping the skin hydrated. While there is no clinical evidence showing that magnesium helps with skin irritation, like rosacea, it’s believed to help because of the many benefits it has in regulating the body’s biological processes and stress response.
Plus, its role as a powerful anti-inflammatory makes some think that magnesium oil may alleviate inflamed skin.
How to make magnesium oil
Making your own magnesium oil at home is simple and requires only two ingredients!
- 1 cup magnesium chloride flakes
- 1 cup distilled water (must be distilled)
- Boil distilled water.
- Add the flakes to a bowl. Once the water is boiled, pour it into the bowl with the flakes.
- Stir until the flakes dissolve.
- Pour the oil into your container of choice (I use a spray bottle) and allow to cool.
- To use, spray or lather on your skin like any other oil.
How to use:
When just starting to use the oil, five or just a few sprays a day will be enough to get your body used to the Mg.
Over the span of a few days or week, gradually add more sprays—I do not suggest using more than 15 to 20 sprays on the body per day.
While this leaves an oil-like feel, it’s not always adequate hydration, so feel free to lather on another body oil or lotion after.
Side effects of using magnesium oil
Magnesium citrate is often used in supplements because it absorbs well internally, but this type of magnesium is too irritating for the skin and can leave a film. Make sure that you are only using magnesium chloride flakes for your body oil.
While this spray is regarded as safe, dermal magnesium supplementation may have side effects. If you have any problems, consult a doctor.
One of the most common side effects is skin inflammation—itch and rash. If any unpleasant skin irritation occurs, stop use and check in with a health professional about your reaction.
Additionally, too much magnesium can sometimes lead to an upset stomach thanks to its laxative-like properties. Also, be wary of any heart palpitations or noticeable blood sugar changes, especially if you take heart medication or have a cardiovascular condition. Overall, many have minimal issues using magnesium oil.
Leigh Winters is a neuroscientist, psychologist and natural beauty expert. She received her M.S. in Neuroscience and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. She is the founder and CEO of Leigh Winters Beauty, and has previously contributed to NBC News, Allure, Health, and Shape, and worked as a researcher at Columbia University’s Spirituality Mind Body Institute researching mindfulness and biobehavioral health.