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 (epson 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. 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:
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 www.drdendyengelman.com.