Can You Absorb Magnesium Through the Skin? – All the Facts

Welcome to a topic that often causes confusion and sparks debates: can you absorb magnesium through the skin?

It’s a question that has been asked by many health enthusiasts, athletes, and individuals looking for ways to boost their magnesium levels.

You may have heard some people swear by the healing powers of magnesium sprays and lotions. Others might dismiss them as just another wellness trend, claiming that the skin is an impermeable barrier that cannot absorb magnesium.

So, what’s the truth? Can magnesium penetrate the skin or not?

Can Magnesium Be Absorbed Through the Skin?

The science behind transdermal magnesium absorption is still evolving, and there is no consensus among researchers. (1)

However, based on the available evidence, it seems that magnesium can penetrate the skin to some extent, depending on the form of magnesium, the concentration of the solution, the duration of exposure, and the skin condition.

The skin is the largest organ in the body. It can absorb various substances, including minerals, through its layers, so, logically, magnesium is no exception, especially in the form of magnesium chloride or sulfate.

Is Topical Magnesium an Effective Way to Raise the Body’s Magnesium Levels?

While oral magnesium supplements are commonly used to raise the body’s magnesium levels, topical magnesium has gained popularity as an alternative method.

There are indications that topical magnesium can effectively raise the body’s magnesium levels, especially for individuals who have difficulty absorbing magnesium orally or have digestive issues.

The study has shown a rise in both serum and urinary markers. (2)

Yet, more research is needed to prove the safety and effectiveness of higher dosages of magnesium cream for longer durations. Until then, you must be aware of topical magnesium’s potential limitations.

How Quickly Does Magnesium Absorb Through the Skin?

The absorption rate of magnesium through the skin can vary depending on the same factors I mentioned in the last paragraph – form and concentration of magnesium, skin condition, and duration of the exposure.

Some studies have shown that magnesium can penetrate the skin within minutes, while others suggest that it can take several hours to reach peak levels. Still, scientists have a long way to go before they can give us 100% credible information regarding dermal absorption rate.

Can You Use Too Much Topical Magnesium?

Yes, it is possible to use too much topical magnesium, just as it is possible to consume too much magnesium orally. While magnesium is essential for many bodily processes, excessive intake can lead to adverse effects. (3)

Overdosing on transdermal magnesium is very rare compared to oral consumption, but it can occur if you apply too much or use a high-concentration solution for an extended period. That can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, or even toxicity.

You must follow the recommended dosage on the label and listen to your body. If you experience any adverse effects, discontinue use and consult your doctor.

What is the Best Place to Apply Topical Magnesium?

The stomach, arms, legs, and feet are body regions where most people decide to apply topical magnesium. Sometimes it could even be the back of the neck.

The skin on the palms and soles of the feet is more absorbent than other areas, so it makes sense to apply it there, but the effect may not be as localized as previously thought. The same goes for spraying and massaging parts with specific issues, such as muscle cramps.

Choosing a clean, dry skin area and avoiding broken or irritated skin is essential.

Is it Better to Take Magnesium Orally or Topically?

Honestly speaking, it is hard to tell which is better since both methods have benefits and drawbacks.

In my opinion, the fact that many studies have proven the benefits of taking magnesium orally is the biggest plus for this method. (4) On the other hand, studies on topical magnesium included fewer subjects, lasted shorter, and were often inconclusive.

That’s why the question is not whether to take it orally or topically but whether to use it together in the recommended doses or just orally. Since the importance of magnesium is huge, I would not rely on creams, lotions, sprays, and Epsom salt baths as the only source of Mg, at least until more research is published.

Bottom Line: Is Topical Magnesium Worth Using?

The question is complex, and we must consider the individual’s magnesium needs, absorption rate, skin health, potential risks, and benefits.

So, the effectiveness of topical magnesium may vary from person to person and may depend on the type of magnesium used and the method of application as well.

Transdermal magnesium can be a convenient and effective way to supplement magnesium, especially for those who have trouble absorbing it orally or have digestive issues. In the case of severe conditions that make it impossible to take anything orally, doctors will also recommend topical supplements, even though we still don’t know everything about absorption through the skin.

If you have a skin disease, you must get a green light from a dermatologist before starting supplementation.


The skin is a complex organ, and the ability to absorb magnesium depends on several features.

In general, it looks like transdermal magnesium can be a practical and efficient way to supplement magnesium. However, the answer is not a simple yes or no.

I hope you understand this topic better after reading this article. Now you should be able to make an informed decision about incorporating topical magnesium into your wellness routine.

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