Magnesium for Eczema: What’s the Connection?

Did you know that a lack of magnesium can play a vital role in your eczema flareups? We asked Dr. Dendy Engelman, board-certified dermatological surgeon at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, to explain more about the connection and benefit of magnesium for eczema. And she has some pretty great tips, including bathing in Epson salt for eczema relief.

Continue reading below to learn more about magnesium and eczema, as well as how you can prevent magnesium deficiency eczema.

ILW:  What is a magnesium deficiency?

Engelman: Magnesium is an essential nutrient for more than 300 biocellular processes in the body. When your body doesn’t have enough magnesium, it causes a deficiency.

A magnesium deficiency can affect how your body operates. This is a growing problem as many of our foods no longer contain high sources of magnesium. We often need to turn to supplements to help fill in the gaps of our diets.

ILW: How can a magnesium deficiency impact eczema and psoriasis?

Engelman: Magnesium helps to reduce inflammation, which is a key symptom of eczema and psoriasis. It can also help decrease stress and anxiety, which can trigger eczema and psoriasis flareups.

Taking magnesium for eczema will in no way cure eczema, but it can help prevent future flareups and inflammation.


ILW: How do you know if you have a magnesium deficiency?

Engelman: Since magnesium contributes to more than 300 biocellular processes in the body (and everyone has a unique medical history) it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how a magnesium deficiency would present itself.

The best way to know for sure is to see your physician and get your magnesium levels in your blood tested.

However, you could try eating magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens and almonds. You can also try bathing in Epsom salt for eczema (which is actually magnesium sulfate) to see if it makes a difference in your stress, anxiety or sleeping patterns.


ILW: How do you know if a magnesium deficiency is triggering your eczema?

Engelman: A magnesium for eczema supplement can help reduce inflammation and the body’s stress hormone, cortisol, which can both contribute to eczema flareups.

To see if a magnesium deficiency is triggering your eczema, try taking regular baths with two cups of magnesium salts, (which is actually epsom salt or magnesium chloride) and see if it helps with your eczema symptoms.

Soaking in a magnesium salt bath can help reduce skin inflammation caused by eczema.

I recommend the “soak and seal” method, also known as wet wrapping, where you spend 20 minutes in the bath and then immediately apply moisturizer to prevent your skin from drying out.

(ILW Recommends: An excellent moisturizer is this Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream that is completely natural and offers anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.)


ILW: How can you reverse magnesium deficiency eczema?

Engelman: To boost your magnesium levels, I recommend applying magnesium oil topically or adding magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) to the bath. These can be more effective than oral supplementation because magnesium for eczema is better absorbed through the skin than through the gastrointestinal tract.


ILW: How can you prevent magnesium deficiency eczema?

Engelman: Try to get more magnesium through a healthy, balanced diet. Some magnesium-rich foods include leafy greens like spinach, almonds, and dark chocolate.


ILW: Since eczema can be one big open wound, won’t using any type of salt irritate and cause a lot of pain?

Engelman: Magnesium chloride salts can be irritating to the skin when applied directly to open wounds or eczematous plaques. That is why it’s best to dilute it in water, while still allowing transdermal absorption.


ILW: Can any type of salt be used? What is best?

Engelman: Epsom salt is unique because it contains magnesium. This nutrient is not found in any other salts, like sea salt. The magnesium in Epsom salt is what makes it so beneficial, as the magnesium helps to reduce inflammation, stress, anxiety.

An epsom salt bath for eczema can also help promote a more restful night’s sleep.


Want to learn more about eczema and how to treat it naturally? Check out these other popular blog posts:

Eczema 101: What is Eczema?

Our Elimination Diet Trials and How You Can Do It To

Natural Remedies for Eczema, What Worked For My Son


magnesium for eczema

Bio: Dr. Dendy Engelman is a board-certified dermatologic surgeon at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatologic Surgery and American College of Mohs Surgery. Recently, she was appointed Director of Dermatologic Surgery at New York Medical College where she oversees the training of future Mohs surgeons and dermatologists. For more information, please visit

FROM: Eczema


  1. Carol Stewart on December 26, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Leafy greens, almonds, dark chocolate, all on my high in nickel list. What a catch-22.

  2. Di on October 19, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    I don’t agree. I think all those items are affordable and are actually REAL FOOD which is much better than highly preserved crap like hot dogs, beanie weenies, boxed Mac & cheese, or even canned peas. A container of spinach doesn’t cost much more ( if at all) than a container of iceberg lettuce ( which has almost No food value). Almonds do cost a little more than peanuts but not much….at least buy the peanuts and throw away the potato chips. FIND A WAY TO EAT BETTER QUALITY FOOD…even Real food. Heck, even “ dark chocolate bars” cost about the same as milk chocolate at my local Kroger, WM etc
    You are what you eat and many foods have been grown in the same dirt for ages which has depleted the magnesium and other nutrients. Plant based vitamins are better absorbed than synthetic vitamins but they are All low in magnesium. I take both Magnesium Gluconate and L-Threonate. I had some chelated Mag too that worked well. PS. The cheap stuff at the local supermarket ( Oxide and Citrate) have a Laxative effect.

  3. Caroline on May 16, 2020 at 3:40 am

    I have had eczema since babyhood, but manageable in adulthood and linked with hayfever or stress, but I began to have severe and regular eczema flareups on my chest for the past year after an allergic reaction to dog dander. I was still having flare-ups after contact with the dog ceased for four months. A friend recommended magnesium spray as a food supplement and for eczema, I was spraying it on my feet (because my friend applied it there) after a bath but saw no health benefit or any improvement with eczema either but carried on spraying it on my feet as a moisturiser (it has an oily texture). Anyhow, I sprayed magnesium ‘Better You’ brand directly onto the area experimentally / accidentally, it stung like hell as expected with this spray, and I feared I was about to make a bad situation much worse, but my skin has begun to repair after only three or four applications. The dark scarring is improving too which is a surprise (I am of Afro-Caribbean heritage) and the dryness has completely gone.

  4. John on October 12, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    I get plaque dermatitis that when scratched has a discharge that crusts over. When ever I’m in Greece for 2 months each summer these symptoms disappear only to begin again in fall. Is it the UV rays from the sun? Is it the influx of magnesium I get from diet, or both?
    Please advise!
    Thank you…

  5. Helena on March 5, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    Any input on magnesium sulphate vs. magnesium chloride for baths?

  6. Barbara on April 18, 2023 at 4:46 pm

    About 15 years ago I was successfully treated for dermatitis on my face by a homeopath. Now I have a recurrance around my eyes, nose and mouth , my doctor in the UK (who will only prescribe hydrocortisone cream) is no longer allowed to refer me to a homeopath and I cannot find the one who helped me before..My face is very itchy and the skin is rough and lumpy. Even aloe vera gel and calendula cream sting. Only water – and oils such as coconut are tolerable. Last night, after soothing my face with coconut oil, I had an Epsom salts bath and put a flannel of the bath water on my face. Almost instantly the skin felt smooth and calm- all the lumps and bumps went. As soon as I left the bath and my face dried, the roughness and bumps returned. I had to wet it again before applying coconut oil to wet skin. Another thing which is soothing is my mineral sunscreen (zinc oxide). It both soothes the itch for a while and covers up the very red blotches. My sister said “Ah yes, nappy cream”. Thank you so much for this site and information from everyone- it is very helpful.

    • Betsy on September 18, 2023 at 11:30 pm

      Beef tallow! It’s amazing. Really great for eczema and irritated dry skin. Just get the grass fed beef tallow, not the kind you cook with. I get mine from US Wellness Meats. A trustworthy source and company. I just made a cream from it and my friends who have severe oozing eczema, acne, rosacea, sunburns, dry aging skin issues, sensitive skin, or contact dermatitis… love my stuff I just make at home for me or friends. Skip the tea tree oils, coconut oils, eucalyptus, or peppermint, which can sting sores,eczema, or agitated skin. I used 1/2 c tallow, softened in a warm ,not too hot, double boiler… then 1 tablespoon of a high grade ( I used Millisrd) wax pellets until they melted really well… cook it down before adding in grape seed oil and sunflower oil.. then if you want to add some essential oils, I only put in 20 drops of one that is good for sensitive skin and healing ( calendula, frankincense, bergamot,rosemary, lemongrass, etc) you have to research and know your skin. Put in freezer 5-10 minutes or until it’s starting to solidify and still whippable.. then whip it into a luxurious cream and put in a glass jar. I use it on my face at night ( I’m 65), any dry spots, rosacea , rashes and wrinkled spots! Lol I’m a cancer survivor ( had it since I was 4 years old, lost my gallbladder, colon and thyroid…) needless to say, all of this affects skin and allergic reactions are worse. I have researched homeopathic medicine,Chinese medicine,treatments, diets, and natural remedies for as long as I can remember. I find Western medical Drs to be seriously lacking in understanding nutritional deficiencies, allergic reactions to certain medications they easily throw at us, and the impatience that leads us all to living with issues that should be caught by our medical professionals we trust. Bloodwork does not determine whether or not you are deficient in magnesium or not.. I’m working on my own cream now for this as well. I’ve researched back thousands of years in every culture in this world in medical research when I can, and I think it’s invaluable to teach ourselves how to help ourselves and not rely on Western medicine alone. I hope my story and suggestions help.

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