Ditch the Itch
The absorption of Magnesium through skin application, particularly in the form of Magnesium Spray, offers a multitude of benefits; these range from alleviating muscle soreness to facilitating quicker onset of sleep.
However, few may have encountered a notable side effect: skin itchiness, or a slight sting. Leaving many people asking:
Why does Magnesium spray itch or burn? Is it a good sign or a bad sign? How can you avoid this irritating sensation?
The itch or burning sensation sometimes associated with Magnesium spray application is a reaction which some experience, and it is considered to be closely connected to low levels of the mineral in the body. Whilst some may attribute this stinging feeling to skin sensitivity, it is not always the case and there may be more than one source of this tingling sensation:
Cause 1 - Severe Deficiency: The itchiness may signal a significant Magnesium deficiency. The more severe the deficiency, the more intense the sensation.
This itchiness is often an initial reaction when Magnesium-deficient skin encounters the spray, resulting in blood vessels opening rapidly and causing friction under the skin. Consistent use of the product can reduce this "urgency reaction."
Cause 2 - Excessive Magnesium: Applying a large amount of Magnesium all at once, especially if you are deficient, may well contribute to the stinging sensation. Gradually introducing your body to topical Magnesium oil, especially for first-time users, is advisable.
Cause 3 - Vasodilation: Magnesium oil acts as a vasodilator, relaxing muscle cells and increasing blood flow in capillaries, which can also lead to a stinging sensation.
Cause 4 - Salt Residue: Magnesium oil is technically Magnesium Chloride Brine, a form of saltwater. Once absorbed into the skin, it may leave a slight residue, triggering itchiness in individuals with sensitive skin.
A word from our co-founder and long-term user of Magnesium Sprays
Dan Simpson, Co-Founder of Harrogate Organics, a long-time user of Magnesium spray himself, indicates that Magnesium has the capacity to be absorbed through the skin, rendering Magnesium Oil Spray a viable alternative (though not exclusive form) to dietary incorporation. Simpson highlights, "your skin can absorb the benefits of Magnesium on a dermal level, delivering essential Magnesium to directly to your bloodstream and cells. The topical application bypasses the digestive tract where benefit can often be lost during digestion, which thereon enhances the bioavailability of the nutrient without the risk of overconsumption."
For those people using Magnesium spray as a supplementation method or as a bedtime ritual, the sensation of tingling on the skin can be a familiar occurrence.
And there are two prevailing theories attempt to explain this phenomenon. Simpson and others pose a theory that low Magnesium levels in the body may lead to tingling, persisting until Magnesium stores are replenished or restored, albeit this theory still lacks comprehensive scientific validation. Simpson states, " When your cellular Magnesium levels are depleted, applying Magnesium oil directly to your skin might cause a slight stinging or itchy sensation. However, with regular and persistent use, this discomfort usually subsides."
One of the first studies on transdermal Magnesium absorption was published by the naturopathic doctor and founder of the American Holistic Medical Association Norman Shealy, M.D. Ph.D in 2000. He was an early advocate for the particular benefits of transdermal applications of Magnesium. Shealy argued that a Magnesium deficiency can be compensated by transdermal application far quicker than oral supplements.
Likewise, dermatologist, Dr. Rachel Nazarian from Schweiger Dermatology, proposes a different explanation. They attribute the tingling sensation to a significant variation in pH between the Magnesium product and the skin’s natural pH value, resulting in itching and irritation upon topical application. Dr. Nazarian goes on to clarify that while the sensation indicates the presence of a substance on the skin, it is not necessarily indicative of Magnesium deficiency. The pH of Magnesium Chloride, commonly found in sprays, is 7.5, while Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom salt) ranges between 5.5 to 6.5.
Top 8 tips for how to ‘ditch the itch’.
- Opt for a Magnesium product which is suitable for sensitive skin (Magnesium sprays which do not contain chemical based ingredients) or consider using Magnesium flakes for a more gentle option. Alternatively, dilute the spray with water, gradually increasing the Magnesium concentration as your skin becomes accustomed.
- Rinse off the spray 15-20 minutes post-application (the main time frame for absorption) to prevent salt residue sticking to the skin, which might cause irritation and or itching.
- Avoid using Magnesium spray before or after sun exposure. Sun exposure can heighten skin sensitivity, intensifying itching sensations post-application of topical Magnesium.
- Skip Magnesium spray after a hot bath. Hot water opens pores, leading to skin sensitivity. Finish your shower with lukewarm water to soothe the skin and gently close the pores.
- Refrain from applying Magnesium spray after shaving and wait a few hours post-shave before using diluted Magnesium spray to prevent irritation. Soothe razor burn with a cool compress and moisturise. Avoid spraying on irritated areas.
- Apply Magnesium spray pre-showering. Establish a routine of using Magnesium spray 15-20 minutes before your daily shower to allow sufficient absorption and prevent itching.
- Start with less sensitive areas for Magnesium application. If your Magnesium levels are low and your skin is ultra-sensitive, begin applying on the least sensitive area, such as the bottom of your feet, gradually moving on to more sensitive areas as your Magnesium levels improve.
- Lock in Magnesium, with a good moisturiser after rinsing off Magnesium spray. Replenish and soothe your skin by applying rich lotion and lock in the goodness.
Magnesium packed foods
Alternatively, you can incorporate Magnesium-rich foods into your diet to boost your levels.
Processed foods tend not to feature Magnesium, so it's a good idea to focus on fresh, raw options which are rich in this essential mineral. Consider adding these Magnesium-packed foods to your daily diet:-
Kelp, Chard, Millet, Almonds, Avocados, Legumes, Whole Grains, Fatty Fish, Dark Chocolate.
Navigating the vast array of Magnesium supplements available today can be a bit perplexing, to say the least, as they don't all contain the same Magnesium form.
And whilst oral Magnesium supplements are a potential method for increasing Magnesium levels, they often bring along unpleasant side effects such as stomach pain, laxative effects, nausea, and gastric discomfort. It is worth noting that the body may absorb effectively, only 20-50% of orally ingested Magnesium, dropping as low as 4% with some inexpensive supplement options.
In contrast, applying Magnesium trans dermally bypasses the digestive system, allowing for more efficient absorption through the skin cells, resulting in a higher Magnesium percentage reaching the bloodstream.
For those who struggle with swallowing tablets or have a sensitive stomach, topical Magnesium could be a favourable alternative.; however, if you are still considering an oral Magnesium supplement, opt for a high-quality product.
Types of Magnesium
Magnesium Sulphate : (Epsom salts) can be good for constipation, muscle soreness
Magnesium Glycinate : Can be good for sleep, mood, helps promote GABA secretion in the brain to help relaxation
Magnesium Oxide : The least absorbable form and often used to relieve constipation.
Magnesium Citrate : Can be good for sleep, constipation, leg cramps
Magnesium Malate : Can help to support muscle and nerve function as well as boost energy and mood, blood sugar regulations and heart health. Often used for individuals suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
Magnesium Taurate : Taurine protects the brain, heart, eyes, and muscles from damage and stressMagnesium Chloride (topical: This is a type of salt which is a combination of Magnesium and Chloride. When applied through the skin (dermal) it is readily absorbed and is an efficient way to raise your levels. It can reduce aches and pains, relieve stress, treat insomnia, dealing with sleep time and quality. Topical forms of Magnesium are less likely to cause digestive side effects and are increasingly becoming an efficient and effective way to bolster your Magnesium levels for a healthy and happy, balanced life.