5 Min Read

How Topical Magnesium Works

Topical magnesium is a powerful tool for enhancing your wellbeing, thanks to its ability to be absorbed through the skin. This blog explores the various forms of topical magnesium, such as sprays, oils, creams, and bath salts, and delves into the science behind skin absorption. We'll discuss the factors that influence how well your skin absorbs magnesium, the benefits of applying it directly to targeted areas, and the advantages of avoiding digestive issues associated with oral supplements. With insights from key scientific studies, we'll also provide tips on optimising absorption to make the most out of your topical magnesium routine.
How Topical Magnesium Works

What is Topical Magnesium?

Topical magnesium is a wonderful, natural way to boost your magnesium levels by applying it directly to your skin. Unlike oral supplements, which need to pass through the digestive system, topical magnesium provides a direct route to your muscles and cells. It comes in several forms, including sprays, oils, and bath salts, each designed to deliver magnesium through your skin for a variety of health benefits.

Sprays: Magnesium sprays are applied directly to the skin and can be used to target specific areas that need relief. They're easy to use and are quickly absorbed.

Bath Salts: Magnesium bath salts, like our own at Salt Lab, dissolve in warm bath water, allowing you to soak and relax while your skin absorbs the magnesium. This method can be particularly soothing for overall muscle relaxation and stress relief.

Creams: Magnesium creams combine magnesium with moisturising ingredients, making them perfect for hydrating the skin while delivering magnesium. They’re ideal for regular use and can be particularly soothing for massaging into aches and pains.

 

The Science of Skin Absorption

Our skin isn't just a passive barrier; it's a dynamic organ that can absorb substances. The process of absorption through the skin, or transdermal absorption, involves the movement of substances from the outer skin layers into the bloodstream. When we apply topical magnesium, our skin's layers work to draw in the magnesium ions and transport them throughout our body.

Factors Affecting Absorption
Several factors influence how well your skin absorbs magnesium:

Skin Health and Hydration: Healthy, hydrated skin is more permeable and absorbs magnesium more effectively. Dry or damaged skin can hinder absorption.

Concentration of Magnesium: The strength of the magnesium product also plays a crucial role. Higher concentrations can enhance the absorption rate.

Application Area: Thinner skin areas or regions with more sweat glands and hair follicles can absorb magnesium more efficiently.
 

Mechanism of Topical Magnesium Absorption

Pathways through the Skin

Magnesium can penetrate the skin through various pathways, primarily through the tiny channels provided by hair follicles and sweat glands. These pathways allow magnesium ions to bypass the outermost barrier of the skin and reach deeper layers.

Role of Skin Layers

The skin has multiple layers, each playing a role in the absorption process:

Epidermis: This is the outer layer of the skin. It's primarily composed of dead cells, but it also contains sweat glands and hair follicles which provide entry points for magnesium.

Dermis: Below the epidermis, the dermis contains connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. Once magnesium passes through the epidermis, it reaches the dermis, where it can enter the bloodstream and start working on relieving muscle tension and stress.

 

Benefits of Topical Magnesium

One of the greatest benefits of topical magnesium is its ability to be applied directly to the areas that need it most. For instance, if you have a sore muscle, you can apply magnesium oil directly to that spot for targeted relief. This direct application can provide quick, localised benefits.

Additionally, topical magnesium avoids the digestive system, which can sometimes cause stomach upset or be less efficient in absorbing magnesium. This makes it an excellent option for those with digestive issues or anyone looking to avoid potential gastrointestinal side effects.

Scientific Evidence

There's a growing body of scientific research supporting the effectiveness of topical magnesium.

In Vitro Transdermal Delivery of Magnesium: One significant study published in a reputable journal explored the in vitro transdermal delivery of magnesium. This study meticulously examined the mechanisms involved in magnesium absorption through the skin, revealing that magnesium ions can indeed penetrate the skin barrier and enter the bloodstream. Moreover, the study highlighted the crucial role of factors such as skin hydration and the presence of hair follicles in enhancing the absorption rate, shedding light on the complexities of transdermal magnesium delivery.

A Pilot Study to Determine the Impact of Transdermal Magnesium Treatment: Furthermore, a pilot study conducted to determine the impact of transdermal magnesium treatment on serum magnesium levels and whole-body calcium-to-magnesium ratios yielded promising results. The study involved participants who regularly applied topical magnesium, and the findings indicated a significant increase in their magnesium levels over time. This suggests that regular application of topical magnesium can effectively raise serum magnesium levels and contribute to maintaining a healthy balance of minerals in the body. These findings are particularly encouraging for individuals seeking alternative methods to support their magnesium intake and overall well being.

Topical Application and Magnesium Penetration: Another study, published on PubMed, investigated the effects of topical magnesium chloride solutions on magnesium levels in the body. The results demonstrated that upon topical application of magnesium chloride, there was a notable increase in magnesium levels, providing further evidence of the skin's ability to absorb magnesium effectively. This research underscores the potential of topical magnesium as a valuable contributor to overall magnesium intake, offering a convenient and efficient way to support optimal health and wellness.

Optimising Absorption

To get the most out of your topical magnesium, consider these tips:

Skin Preparation: Ensure your skin is clean before applying magnesium products. This removes barriers like oils, dirt, or lotions that can block absorption.

Application Techniques: Massage the magnesium product into your skin. This helps improve circulation in the area and enhances the absorption process. Applying after a shower or bath, when your skin is warm and pores are open, can also boost effectiveness.

Consistency: Regular use is key. Incorporate topical magnesium into your daily routine to maintain optimal magnesium levels in your body.

Combine with Other Practices: Using topical magnesium in combination with other relaxation techniques, such as yoga or stretching, can further enhance its benefits. For example, a warm bath with magnesium bath salts can help open up your pores, allowing for better absorption while also promoting overall relaxation.

By following these practices, you can ensure that your body gets the maximum benefit from topical magnesium, helping you feel more relaxed, refreshed, and ready to tackle whatever comes your way. Whether you're dealing with muscle soreness, stress, or sleep issues, topical magnesium can be a game-changer for your wellbeing.

 

References: 

Wang L, Patel A, Shan Z, Erukova V, Arancio P, Alvarez-Roman R, Patel M, Michniak-Kohn B. "In vitro transdermal delivery of magnesium by using binary liquid crystalline system." International Journal of Pharmaceutics. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2010.02.040

Watkins K, Josling PD. "A pilot study to determine the impact of transdermal magnesium treatment on serum levels and whole body CaMg ratios." BMC Research Notes. DOI: 10.1186/s13104-019-4702-0

Lee BJ, Kim MN, Kim HL, Choi JS, Jeong SH, Choi YW. "Transdermal delivery of magnesium chloride: Comparative study of the iontophoresis and passive diffusion." Pharmaceutical Development and Technology. DOI: 10.3109/10837450903136805

 

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