Should You Use Milk of Magnesia on Your Skin?: The Internet Rumor, Researched

Personal/Inspirational, Skin Care

You always hear beauty gurus say that Milk of Magnesia (MOM), an OTC antacid and laxative, can secretly double as a life-saving foundation primer or mask for those with oily skin . But does this actually have scientific merit in regards to absorbing facial oil? And are there any drawbacks to this off-label use?

[ Read More: What Can Be Done for Very Oily Skin?]

What is MOM’s original purpose?


In its unflavored and most widely-used form, magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2) is the active ingredient, accompanied by water and sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) (Philips’).

Mg(OH)2 acts as an antacid (to counter something like stomach ulcers) via neutralization: Mg(OH)2 will dissociate in water, and the basic hydroxide ions (OH) will combine with the acidic hydrogen ions (H+) in stomach acid to form water. Hence, neutralization.

As a laxative, Mg(OH)2 relies on the magnesium ions (Mg2+) that form upon dissociation. Because these ions aren’t largely absorbed by the intestinal tract, they will draw water from the surrounding tissues, which will increase the water content of the intestinal tract, resulting in softer and more “passable” fecal matter.  Mg2+ ions also cause the release of a compound called cholecystokinin, which similarly results in higher levels of water, electrolytes, and intestinal movement (The American Journal of Gastroenterology).

Sodium Hypochlorite


The other ingredient of importance is sodium hypochlorite (NaClO), otherwise known as bleach. It is in very low concentration and acts as a pH adjuster or buffer. When dissolved in water, NaClO will slowly decompose, releasing chlorine, oxygen, and sodium hydroxide.

The reaction of this process is: 4 NaClO + 2 H2O >>> 4 NaOH +2 *Cl2 +O2.

*Keep in mind that the rate of decomposition is extremely slow, so the amount of chlorine gas emitted will probably be negligible. However, it’s best to not inhale bleach for any prolonged period of time.

What attributes are relevant when referring to MOM’s applications in skin care?  

Milk of magnesia does indeed have some ability to absorb surface lipids on the skin. Although not many studies have been specifically designed to test this concept, one study suggests that Mg(OH)2 is more adept than magnesia or magnesium oxide (MgO) at facilitating the absorption and separation of wax and stearyl esters, which are similar to compounds found in sebum (Lipids). While this is far from conclusive, it does give some weight to the efficacy of MOM as a “degreaser.”

Furthermore, what little of the bleach content is present, can further “degrease” the skin. As a strong oxidizer, bleach can cause defatting or the chemical dissolution of surface lipids (Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine), resulting in less oil on the skin.

Are there are drawbacks?


Clearly, the most obvious drawback is that milk of magnesia is quite basic — as are its two main ingredients, magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2) and sodium hypochlorite (NaClO). MOM has an overall pH of 10.5, while sodium hydroxide (NaOH), as seen above in the chemical reaction has an astonishingly high pH of 14 (Miami Museum of Science)!

When the skin is at a basic pH, all kinds of problems related to impaired skin can manifest, such as: contact dermatitis, increased acne (since a basic pH interferes with regular desquamation and allows for bacteria proliferation), and many others. With consistent use, MOM can seriously wreck your skin!

What do I do?!

Relax. If you’ve been applying MOM to the skin, just discontinue use. If you’re bummed out because something so promising isn’t actually so, don’t worry! There are other (better) ways to deal with oily skin, ranging from something as complicated as oral isotretinoin, to something as simple as a pressed powder. There are too many to identify, describe, and analyze! Therefore, keeping in line with this post, here are a few topical “cosmetic” absorbents that can easily replace MOM:


  1. The Smashbox Anti-Shine ($28.50, contains a similar, but less basic, compound magnesium aluminum silicate, to absorb excess facial oil. I have personally tried this and it’s quite effective, although you may have some difficulty obtaining it in-stores. For some reason, both Nordstrom and Sephora have pulled it from their shelves.  The texture is a slightly thick paste- or spackle-like gel that’s excellent for filling in pores, and can be applied underneath or on top of makeup and/or sunscreen.
  2. The Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer ($52.00, contains the powerful absorbents, isododecane and alumina. Furthermore, it contains a gentle mineral-based sunscreen wrapped up in an elegant silicone base and whose texture is simply divine! While pricey, I always have one of these on hand. It’s best used underneath or mixed with makeup and/or sunscreen.
  3. The OC Eight Professional Mattifying Gel ($27.73, contains a patented type of acrylate copolymer that allegedly forms “micro-particles that trap facial oils.” While the concept and marketing are impressive, I have yet to try this and therefore, cannot give a wholehearted recommendation.
  4. The Paula’s Choice Shine Stopper ($21.95, also contains a type of (meth)acrylate crosspolymer, in addition to a small amount of the absorbent present in the Smashbox Anti-Shine, magnesium aluminum silicate. Coincidentally, the textures of both are also quite similar. Likewise, they perform about the same for my very oily skin type. You’ll want to be careful with these two products, as using too much will cause them to ball up and make a mess.


Ultimately, my personal Holy Grail product is the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer because it really extends the wear-time of anything I apply over it by a few hours. It also provides decent UVA and UVB protection, which coupled with its silky, water-light texture, makes it a perfect mixing medium for my regular sunscreen.

[Read More: What are the Best Products for Oily Skin? The Friendly Friday Q&A Post] [Read More: What Are the Best Primers for Oily/Acne-Prone Skin?]

Have YOU tried MOM before? Let me know what you think either on down below or on my blog! 

Looking for the best skin care? FutureDerm is committed to having its customers find — and create — the best skin care for their individual skin type, concern, and based on your ingredient preferences. Learn more by visiting the FutureDerm shop


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  • Nelo

    I started using MOM 3 days ago and the results were instant! It’s an amazing and cheap products. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I have tried almost every product recommended by the author of this article and NONE of those products work as amazingly as MOM. My skin is smoother, clearer and more radiant than ever before (yes, all that in three days)…oh, and the two pimples I had on Sunday are gone 🙂

  • LongDong

    MOM works good for oily skin, not to leave on your face as a primer all day.

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  • Diane

    kfnheat, if you happen to read this, thanks! I think you got to the root of the questions and confusion here. =) I like it when people do that for me…since otherwise I have to do it for myself!

  • Christina

    I’ve been seeing an esthetician and I am banned from using any foundations or concealers. Only loose powders and MOM and Monistat and a regimen of products and my skin is changing for the better!! So I have to disagree with your article completely. Lathering on more make-up is not the answer.

  • Misty

    I have been using MOM to treat my adult acne for over 4 years. When I don’t use it I break out. I use my MOM in 3 different ways, as an acne spot treatment, as an overnight mask, and as a daily primer with moisturizer.

    I use it straight from the bottle as an overnight spot treatment on cystic acne and it almost always reduces the size and inflammation of the cyst in one treatment and with continued treatment will heal the cyst completely without it ever having to be excised or “popped”. As a leave on mask for my whole face I use MOM at full strength and smooth over my face with a cotton ball. When it dries I lightly brush off the excess MOM with a soft clean cloth and leave the rest on overnight . This gives me consistently visibly brighter and clearer skin. I also mix MOM in with my facial moisturizer (Aveeno Simply Radiant spf 15 moisturizer) with a 1:3 ratio. I apply this after cleansing or anytime my face feels dry or like it needs a “refresh”. This gives me a double whammy benefit, I have a moisturizing primer that helps keep my acne under control and I also have a facial sunscreen that does not cause me to break out.

    I have tried nearly every acne treatment out there and until I started using MOM nothing even made a dent, most made it worse. MOM has been a miracle treatment for me, and while the research may suggest that it has drawbacks, certain skin types can benefit GREATLY from its regular use. I have never used any kind of acidic toner or pre-treatment and MOM consistently makes my skin look and feel better every time I use it, whether every day or once a week. This is my personal experience and others may have different results but as far as the efficacy of MOM in treating acne and acting as an effective oil controlling primer, it has my vote with 5 stars.

    I also use bare minerals foundation primer which also seems to help control my acne but does not give a very matte feel. I often use the bare minerals primer over the MOM moisturizer mix.

  • Well I don’t know so much about this chemical and molecular formula but yeah one of mine friend recommend me to use the product and I have use it and I like it. It suits to my skin and I got positive result.

  • This post gives us the information about merits and demerits of use milk of magnesia. MOM is basically used to deal with oily skin. It tells us about the different range of products and alternatives we can use instead of using milk of magnesia.

  • kfnheat

    The one thing that no one seems to have mentioned is that MoM, while not being used as designed, is actually truly doing its job when it reduces the appearance of oil on your face. It’s an acid-reducer (i.e. counteracts low ph) First, a little about me. Before I stumbled across MoM a few years ago, my face was so shiny it could have solved the world’s oil crisis. When I stumbled across MoM I did a little research and I read about pH levels and few comments much like this one, stating not to use it due to its alkaline levels. But then I thought about everything I’d tried thus far, including the Smash Box product mentioned above, which actually just added to the oil instead of helping it at all. I tried it multiple times and the result was always the same. Never once did it prevent oiliness, not even a little. I tried Clinique moisturizers, because according to their “expertise” if your face is super oily, it must be super dry. I RARELY have a dryness issue. My face is just constantly seeping sebum (oil). I have been prescribed Retin-A by my dermatologists, which does help with acne to some level, but I’ll wake up in the morning greasier than ever. Sure, not having an overly dry face helps you to stay young, and I’m frequently mistaken for being significantly younger, but the amount of oil I have is NOT cute. Everything I tried before MoM just added to the greasiness instead of helping it. So when I read about MoM online, and I saw the cheap price tag, I thought, it sure can’t hurt as much as all the other expensive products – much like the ones touted on here. When I first tried it, I did note that it smelled kind of funny and was a bit too thick, so I simply watered it down a bit. I grabbed a triangle sponge and applied it and then applied the rest of my minimal makeup. I very rarely wear foundation unless I have a special occasion, but I do wear blush and minimal eye makeup. You can say all you want that MoM will build up bacteria and cause more acne or damage your face, but for me, it has had the opposite effect. It has changed my life. I can wear this stuff all day and potentially (not guaranteed) but stay grease-free. Other times, I may need a second application, where I would clean my face in-between. Also… yes, I’m admitting this… I frequently DO NOT clean my face before bed. I used to when I was trying everything to reduce the oil. But now that I use MoM, I’ve gotten lazy about it, and I just use a Clarisonic brush in the morning in the shower. (I’m not promoting Clarisonic btw, I think it’s o-kay.) In any event, I do get the occasional breakout, but hello! I have oily skin. My breakouts are fare fewer than they used to be. As for all that other weird stuff you mentioned, nope, none of that has happened. The ONLY drawback I’ve had from MoM use is that I’ll occasionally forget to rub it in all the way, and since I rarely use a foundation, I’ll sometimes have toothpaste-looking white spots on my face that I’ll notice later. Totally not a big deal compared to looking in the mirror and seeing my reflection in my reflection, if you know what I mean. I know you kind of already denounced the word of dermatologists, but I mentioned MoM to mine as like a, “Eureka, I finally found something that works and I can’t wait to tell you so that you can spread the word,” kind of thing. She said it was totally fine. She hadn’t heard of MoM being used for skincare, but was very familiar with the product. She looked up the ingredients and then referenced the alkalinity was quite high, but that with a non-dry oily face, that’s okay, because MoM is an acid-reducer. She explained that if your face is primarily dry with occasional oiliness, that it’s more alkaline, but if it’s the opposite, it’s more acidic. Yes, very confusing. It seems that most of what I’ve read online supports that. I honestly thought that only one was capable of oiliness, but I think this explains why most products don’t work for truly oily skin, like mine.

    Here’s the other thing that no one has brought up, which I just briefly kind of mentioned. So the pH level is the main thing touted as the reason NOT to use MoM on your face. Now, I will wholehearted agree with that statement IF your face is normal to dry. If your face is normal, it will make it dry. If your face is already dry, prepare to feel pain. However, if your face is oily and bit acidic – yes, acidic – like mine, then as my dermatologist mentioned, this product is fine to use. See here’s the thing that wasn’t adequately explained above. If your face is more prone to being dry, that means it’s more alkaline, and it has a higher pH. So that means that MoM with it’s high pH is just going to worsen your problem. What you really need are moisturizers. Now on the flip side, if you’re like me with skin so oily that it glows in the dark, that means your skin is more acidic, with a low pH. This means that alkaline products are going to help balance you out. Just like a moisturizer can sometimes be applied multiple times daily for a person with excessively dry skin, MoM or similar product (not that I’ve found though) can actually be applied multiple times a day depending on your personal need. Now, I actually recommend that you eat foods that are going to counteract your acidity, but if you’re like me and you tend to dislike a lot of alkaline foods like fruit, and love acid-forming foods like meat and legumes, it can be a bit of a struggle.

    Anyway, I recognize there is A LOT of conflicting information out there. To me, that means that as humans, we still haven’t quite figured ourselves out. I mean think about it, one day a food item or product is promoted as healthy and the next it’s considered cancerous. It’s really hard to sort that truth from lies and misassumptions. What I recommend for anyone who is reading this, is to take both my view and the original author’s view with a grain of salt. If you want the answer, try products for yourself and keep an eye on them. Ask yourself, are my symptoms getting better or worse? I tried MoM because I’d tried pretty much everything else at that time… and it was cheap. So I thought, “Why not?” I haven’t looked back. Sure, there were other reviews out there, similar to this one when I was considering if I should try it. But if I had listened to them… I wouldn’t have a nice, normal-feeling face for the vast majority of the day.

  • In this blog we came to know about the advantages of the use of Milk of Magnesia. Milk of magnesia is good for our skin it makes our skin soft and glowing. It also tells you about some other skin products which help to make our skin healthy and young.

  • bbyjill

    The many pros that have used mom long term state that the have never seen any bad reaction. It’s my understanding that MOM should be used on occasions like weddings. New to trying it my makeup stayes on all day with no shine. I am so oily and have been for so many years. I have tried just about all other oil contol products that are recomended. Some work better than others but nothing lasts like mom. I told my oily niece to use it for prom last year . Not thinking she would continue using it daily but her super oily acne skin has been clear for 3 months. Something proactive couldn’t do.

  • Mayra

    Oh and I have acne prone skin.

  • Mayra

    What are your opinions on BHcosmetics anti-shine serum work? Or Purmineral ENHANCED Color Correcting Primer – Prep & Perfect – Neutral, or the Under Control Mattifying Gel also from purmineral?? Thanks. Is their any newer primers that you can suggest?

  • @Kaitlyn

    Yeah, I looked up that video you mentioned. Almost everything she says is wrong when read in context.

    I mean, she uses osmosis to describe the movement of facial oil. Sorry, that’s completely wrong. Osmosis describes the diffusion of water…

    She also states that the skin needs to be basic–something that MoM does, in order to neutralize the acidity of the skin and the alleged “acid” components of acne-causing bacteria. Again, sorry that’s wrong. The skin is supposed to be acidic–many conditions like acne exhibit a HIGHER pH of the skin than normal. Bacteria do not release components that increase the acidity of the skin. Why do you think hydroxy acids work to treat the skin? By exfoliating the skin, AND lowering the overall acidity–something that helps the skin to naturally exfoliate more efficiently.

    She also states that the magnesium ions that form in solution will help improve acne. There is no published research that suggests this, not to mention that ions have a difficult time penetrating the stratum corneum because it’s a charged molecule. Very little if any, will take part in active transport.

    Finally, forgive me if I don’t take skin care advice from someone (Rancher) with obvious tan lines.

    I’m glad that MoM has worked for you, but to recommend it as a treatment option for everyone, is ludicrous.

  • Kaitlyn

    MoM is terrible for your skin-too bad estheticians are taught to use it! MoM is is as a base for many skin packs. This article exposes itself when it merely skims the surface of why it is so bad for you, citing only the pH. It goes on to recommend expensive primers which rely heavily on silicones are certainly not good for skin-not to mention being useless on oily/very oily skin.. As a long term MoM user I can tell you it has not caused worsening-it has knocked out my cystic acne and whiteheads, as well as lessening the blackheads. Try BishonnenRancher on YT for a more in depth look into MoM.

  • @Kat

    Ooh, it looks pretty promising, though the essential oil content does warrant caution. It’s up to the individual whether or not that characteristic is tolerable–meaning if any irritation is experienced. But I’m glad to hear that it is so for you, and that oily skin isn’t much of an issue you have to deal with anymore! 🙂

  • Kat

    The best thing I have ever tried for my oily skin is the Rice product line from L’OCCITANE. Try their Ultra-Matte Face Fluid it is the absolute best!

  • @Katrina

    Well, like I said in the post, there are other products to combat oiliness. However, if you think you’ve exhausted your options, consider applying something like a salicylic acid moisturizer/primer that has an appropriately low pH underneath the MoM, just to help offset any potential changes in pH.

    That way, you’ll get the benefits of salicylic acid–something that’s great for your acne-prone skin, along with the benefits of MoM.

  • Katrina

    I just recently just bought milk of magnesia, today actually.I was so convinced by reviews I had seen on YouTube. I tried it today and I really like it.. But now that I read this I don’t know how I should keep using it. Because my skin is really oily, I tried everything I can, and I’m really bummed about how oily I get even just at after an hour after putting foundation on. So if I keep continuing MOM, my skin will just become worst?

    I also see a dermatologist occasionally for the last 5 years.. And I don’t know if I should ask her about MOM. I haven’t gone to the dermatologist for about a year now so I will be going back to get prescribed more cream for my acne. Also my dad side of my family, has a history of acne prone skin.

  • @Niella

    When used occasionally, it shouldn’t cause any noticeable harm to the scalp or the condition itself. But then again, it wouldn’t really treat the condition either.

  • Niella

    What if it’s used every once in awhile for dandruff/oily scalp relief?

  • @Hyspin

    Well, I never said that ACV is awful. If you’d like to use that on your skin, go for it. All I’m saying is that hydroxy acids are significantly better than ACV in terms of the amount of research and efficacy. See my response to @Anna above for more details.

    As for MOM, THAT really isn’t great for the skin. It’s a highly documented fact that an increased pH of the skin increases chances of microbial proliferation, reduced barrier repair, and irregular exfoliation. Many cutaneous conditions like eczema, various forms of dermatitis, and even acne are actually characterized by a higher than normal pH of the skin. Okay, if you want to dilute it, again that is your prerogative. But then you’re reducing efficacy, and then in the end, what’s the point?

    And yes, your skin will “auto-adjust,” its intrinsic PH, but that is dependent on how basic/acidic the cleanser is, which will influence how well and how long it takes for the skin to do so. There is no measured “average” time, just because there is so many factors (like length of time, cleanser pH, cleanser formulation, the individual’s skin type and pH, the rest of the skin care routine, etc…) that will influence any attempt to calculate such a number.

    Does that all make sense?

  • Hyspin

    John Su the only info they have on ACV med scape on skin is an anti microbial and should not be used on inflamed skin (that would include dermatitis and eczema), otherwise ther isn’t really any research for or against apple cider vinegar as a topical treatment. But apparently new research shows that it may be good source to reduce glucous levels. Also we must not forget that what may not work for you, may work for others each subject must be treated on a case to case bases. I think if MOM diluted as mask followed by rinse of water or ACV works for some, why knock it. But as you said ACV isn’t necessary as a toner because skin will return to regular pH on its own. Which begs the question knowing that fact, how harmful could MOM really be if the skin will auto adjust afterward anyway? I actually curious about that. What is the average time it takes for the skin adjust back to its correct pH after a alkaline cleanser any way?

  • @cookie

    Actually, MoM would do the opposite because it’s so basic. Keep in mind that basic and alkaline are the same thing. 🙂

    A higher skin pH will allow for additional bacterial, fungal, and other infections; a more acidic pH is what inhibits this type of proliferation.

    Does that make sense?

  • What about those applying MoM on their skin for rosacea? I’ve heard that the reason people have it may have something to do with their bodies having too much alkalinity, allowing for the proliferation of demodex in the pores. Would applying something basic help this or is it still a bad idea?

  • @Anna

    Well if you must ask, I’ve been in Oz… Lol. Perhaps ACV works for you, but regardless, it just doesn’t have much research documenting its efficacy. I mean even most essential oils have more research behind them, and I don’t believe in THOSE.

    Yes, ACV may act as a “toner,” (though toners aren’t really necessary for the antiquated purpose of balancing the skin’s pH), as there are plenty of excellent water-soluble and pH-appropriate cleansers these days.

    As an exfoliant, maybe ACV does work. But hydroxy acids work significantly better than ACV and have much better peer-reviewed documentation supporting topical use. Same for the treatment of acne and “balancing the skin’s pH.”

    And as for dermatologists recommending ACV… does that mean everything recommended by a dermatologist is good? Think of it like this: there are plenty of poor products and dermatologist-created skin care lines that are similarly recommended. However, keep in mind that just because one or even a few dermatologists recommend something, doesn’t automatically prove something’s efficacy. Why not depend on something that has published research? That way, it’ll be peer-reviewed (meaning that a LOT of established dermatologists affirm the subject(s) of a particular study)!

    Also, as someone who has seborrhoeic dermatitis, I can tell you that MOM and ACV have done nothing for me; in fact they worsen the condition. But does that mean they’re completely useless? Nope. My personal and singular experience doesn’t prove or disprove anything.

    And FYI, there’s nothing wrong with silica or parabens. Just because you haven’t read up on the research, doesn’t mean they deserve to be condemned or feared.

    Ultimately, I can’t convince you to change your ways if you’re not willing to see reason. And that’s okay. We all do what we think is right, right?

    P.S. I’m not going to even mention Livestrong and how it “proves” ACV’s efficacy… Why don’t you just type in “Apple Cider Vinegar” into, and see what comes up?

  • Anna

    ACV isn’t good for the skin? Where have you been? ACV works like a toner, exfoliant & acne defense product. When diluted, it can also balance the pH. The same can be said about MOM, with proper dilution it can benefit the skin especially considering the fact that alot of primers already contain magnesium in their base formulas. The key is moderation of course. It can be placed in a glycerin base or water solution with a 1:3 ratio so that the pH is neutralized like the magnesium in most primers. Tap water is best as it’s pH is more acidic than purified water. This is an effective way to save money using things already at your disposal. Don’t let the beauty industry who has alot of money to lose tell you not to use home products that are cheaper & easily accessible without first seeking an unbiased opinion from someone with medical background… the dermatologists who have recommended or endorsed things like ACV or MOM for years. MOM especially has been promoted for skin use such as combating seborrhea, baby rash, and canker sores. It sounds backwards for someone to say that an inexpensive treatment can wreak havoc on your skin but then turn around & promote silica based, paraben loaded, chemically formulated & carcinogenic products that cost an arm & a leg. I’d rather risk bacterial breakouts than be susceptible to cancer. But we can’t be extremists. So rather than substitute a potentially harmful product for a potentially even more harmful product, why not remedy the issue. I think prepping a concentrated toner of ACV & then a concentrated primer of MOM would be too much pH disassociation for the skin. Dilute both & your skin will thank you for it. While we’re on the topic of ACV, here’s an M.D. endorsed article on uses for ACV in skincare:

  • @AwwRITE!

    Well, an acidic pH doesn’t really contribute to oil production. However, this pH range (roughly) is necessary for the skin to naturally and optimally exfoliate and maintain its barrier. So using too alkaline products can make your skin go haywire, which includes congestion and the appearance of more oil. 🙁 So yeah, definitely use a well-formulated hydroxy acid product in your regular routine. My favorites are from Paula’s Choice. Consider reading this post:

    Good luck!

  • AwwRITE!

    I think I’ve tried all the big-name primers out there (mostly through free samples from Sephora) and none of them really help for more than an hour or two.

    I only just learned that my skin is supposed to be at a ph of 4.5-5.5 and that if I’m using a product that is too alkaline, my skin reacts and eventually becomes more oily. I think if I pay attention to the ph balance of some of the products I use, I can help repair some of the damage I’ve been inadvertently causing. After changing a few things around in my product routine to align with this concept of not making my skin too alkaline, I’ve noticed that my skin is not producing as much oil and seems to be calmer, so maybe I won’t need to find a new primer after all (or maybe the ones that other people like will start to work on me). We shall see.

  • @AwwRITE!

    Hm, did you try any of the other primers listed in this post? Also, as someone with super oily skin too, you’ll want to combat your oil production via different sources. For example, in addition to a good primer (something that I don’t use on a daily basis actually), use an oil-controlling foundation and a similar setting powder.

    You may want to check out this post for more information:

    I have also have tried the Guerlain Extreme, and I prefer the Lancome Teint Idole 24H by far. Maybe try that?

    Finally, as for the pH-balanced thing, the skin is naturally acidic. And to keep it that way, you’ll want to avoid alkaline cleansers like soaps, and use hydroxy acids. And I may do a post on what an “acid mantle” is exactly. But it’s not an actual structure in the skin so-to-speak. It’s just a term that’s been coined to represent the acidity of the skin.

    I hope that all helps. 🙂

  • AwwRITE!

    Also, would you consider writing a post on how to keep skin ph-balanced? I just read the term “acid mantle” on a different site and it seems like a topic that a lot of people would be interested in learning about!

  • AwwRITE!

    I haven’t had success with the Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer–I think my skin is simply too oily. I recently bought the Guerlain Parure Extreme foundation, which is supposed to have primer built in, but even that can’t keep my face from oiling up within a few hours (yuck). Have you tested any other primers lately that you would recommend?

  • @Simona (Sânziene si Mătrăgună)

    Glad to hear it!


    It would certainly help counteract it. But is MoM really worth going through all that trouble? Not to mention that ACV doesn’t have any particularly good benefit for the skin. 🙁

    But hey, you work with what you have right? Furthermore, I’m not sure MoM will function in the same way if it’s naturally-high pH becomes neutralized. It may not be as effective at absorbing oil afterwards.

    • Sharron Pierre

      I have just started using ACV/water mix for blemishes caused by spots (acne scars) 50:50 and it works really well. It’s a slow process but my skin look brighter. I’m also using MOM afterwards and I love it! It’s a mini miracle to my skin.

    • NaturalBeauty

      “Is MOM really worth going through all that trouble” – I wouldn’t say putting a toner on before a primer would be enough to class as “all that trouble” , especially considering the standard skin routine has always been “cleanse, tone, moisturise” , I would however find paying up to $50 for a primer ALOT of trouble.

      More to the point, You seem to contradict your statement by claiming that MOM may not work once the PH is neutralised (also be reminded we are not directly mixing ACV with MOM, but simply applying alkaline ontop of the skin once it has a primarily acid toner). In your blog it states the main issue is that MOM is “dangerous” due to being TOO alkaline.. However buying a product with so many different chemicals in that cannot be ingested is “so much better for your skin” .

      Also, if you did your research you will find that ACV has MANY benefits for the skin and is another highly recommended natural remedy that you may or may not be trying to cover up.

      In conclusion, I think I will continue to believe GENUINE reviews from people who aren’t being paid to market products, as it is very clear to me that this blog is an advertisement in order to counteract the decrease in sales caused by MOM.

      Little tip, when these companies are paying you to promote their products, the added profanities in your blog do not make you seem more “human”.

      • Ansley

        I agree and if anyone is really hesitate with using MoM I find that mixing it with water in a spray bottle works wonder. I have been using MoM for years and toning with ACV my skin looks way better than it ever has before!!!! I will not pay up to 50 dollars for a product that may or may not work I don’t have money to throw away over here. This comment spoke life and truth some people can’t take take what you just dished out. (Snaps finger)

  • Partiallyclaudy

    What if I used an acidic toner such as Apple Cider Vinegar before applying the Milk of Magnesia? Would that help neutralize things a bit?

  • Thanks, even though I don’t celebrate it, I wish a happy Halloween to everyone who does 🙂

  • @Sânziene si Mătrăgună

    Good call!

    Happy Halloween!

  • @John Su – the last reply (@Luanne) makes me think that my home made sodium bicarbonate based deodorant (I use this for several years now) is indeed a good idea 🙂 The main challenge is to find a fine enough sodium bicarbonate in order not to scratch the skin 🙂

  • @Luanne

    I think the use of MOM as a deoderant should be fine and not have any long-term negative side effect. Here’s why:

    While the high pH may increase the risks of bacterial or fungal infections, the reduced amount of perspiration from the use of MOM may actually result in an overall or net loss of sweat, resulting in an overall reduction in terms of getting a bacterial or fungal infection (since bacteria and fungi love moist and dark areas). Basically, what I mean is that the net loss of perspiration has a more meaningful positive effect than the change in pH, which has a comparatively smaller negative effect.

    As for absorption, the skin of the armpit is a bit thicker than that of the various areas of the face, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

    However, as with all things, if you notice something isn’t quite right after using MOM, discontinue use of it to see if that makes your problem goes away.

    I hope that made sense and thanks for commenting. 🙂

  • @Arlon Barbieri

    That’s good to hear. Thankfully she stopped doing that.

  • @Karen Stauss

    I’m glad to hear that you found something that works for you. Thanks for sharing!

  • Luanne

    Any opinions on using MOM as a deodorant?? I’ve heard so many use it for that and love it. Does that have any negative effect long term with the PH levels or absorbed through the skin?

  • Arlon Barbieri


    Paula Begoun no longer recommends milk of magnesia. Someone questioned this at Paula’s Choice facebook page and here is the answer:

    “We no longer recommend Milk of Magnesia as a regular-use product, and haven’t for some time due to its high PH level. That aside, in today’s skin care market there are other formulas of which have similar benefits while being friendly to daily use (our upcoming new formula of the Skin Balancing Oil-Absorbing Mask is a good example!). However, to use for special occasions, the Milk of Magnesia mask is an OK thing to do!”

  • Karen Stauss

    I have tried MoM and found it worked great… for about 3 days. On the 4th day my skin decided it was smarter than the MoM and was even oilier that it had been before. I like Peter Thomas Roth’s Anti Shine Mattifying Gel and DermaDoctor’s TeaseZone.

  • @Nicholas

    Yeah I suppose. But everyone, including myself, makes mistakes. Paula is usually right, and I love her vision of trying to raise awareness on actual skin care facts to the general public. But like I said, everyone makes mistakes. That’s why it’s important to always seek a 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th opinion from credible sources.

  • @Jody

    Since the Monistat Gel is designed for topical application and doesn’t include high amounts of any basic-yielding solutes, the pH should be about neutral. Get some pH paper and you can test it yourself.

    I personally am not a fan of it, since it’s similar in texture to the Smashbox original Photo Finish primer. It’s so super slick, as to feel greasy. And it doesn’t contain any real absorbents; it’s most made up of silicones and a tiny bit of silica I believe. It doesn’t extend wear-time for me, but again if it works for you, yay! Oh, and it really accentuates any dry skin, which is not good for me. 🙁

  • @Melinda Thomas

    That’s good, since it’s very affordable. 🙂

  • Nicholas

    Paula Begoun has been promoting the use of Milk of Magnesia for years. Kind of makes you question her recommendations somewhat.

    • bbyjill

      I been using Paul as choice products for years and everything has either worked or recommend products that did. My niece has used MOM for 3 months and her oil acne are gone. My oily t zone is oil shine free and makeup lasts all day. I use mom. Not as a primer but as a 20 min mask before getting ready. Works the same.

  • Jody

    What about Monistat chafing gel? I’ve heard some people use that on their face too as a primer.

  • Melinda Holmes

    I actually tried MOM as a primer for my oily sensitive skin, but didn’t like it. I use Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel as a primer and find that it works very well.

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