Magnesium, a mineral essential to your diet, is most prominent in the skeletal system and works with the mineral calcium to maintain bone mass. Magnesium acts as an electrically charged particle that aids in conducting nerve impulses and it has a role in synthesizing cells that form genetic material for muscle and skin repair. Adequate magnesium intake mostly comes from a balanced diet, but oral and topical supplements are also available. No clinical evidence shows that too much magnesium causes loss of skin elasticity, but high doses can have other adverse effects.
Skin ages just like the rest of your body. External factors like direct sunlight or environmental toxin exposure can contribute to the aging process, resulting in splotches on the skin, irritation and wrinkles. Elasticity refers to the flexibility of the skin like when you pinch a section of skin and then release, it returns to form. Loss of elasticity makes the skin appear rippled and saggy. The mechanism behind loss of skin elasticity is loss of muscle flexibility. Excess dietary magnesium is not associated with skin or muscle elasticity loss, but in extreme cases, it can cause acute muscle weakness.
Magnesium is available in natural food sources, supplemental pills and topical forms. The general use for topical magnesium is as an additive in skin care products or in bath salts to sooth irritations. Topical magnesium absorbs slowly into the skin cells to aid in regenerating damaged skin, but it also helps to relax the muscles and soothe the nerves. You might use topical magnesium rather than oral supplements to reduce the direct exposure your gastrointestinal tract has with the mineral and minimize the risk of side effects like diarrhea.
Safe Magnesium Intake
Magnesium is recommended in the daily diet for women at 320 milligrams and for men at 420 milligrams. Food sources of magnesium are not associated with adverse effects from excess intake. However, supplemental forms of magnesium taken in excess of the tolerable upper intake level of 350 milligrams per day could result in moderate to severe toxicity. Lethargy, confusion, muscle weakness and skin rash could occur from overuse. Skin care products with magnesium additives like magnesium chloride or magnesium sulfate are typically diluted and do not exceed safe dosing recommendations. In the event of excess intake from products containing these forms of magnesium, adverse effects include severe allergic reaction, irregular heartbeat, nausea and slow reflexes.
Foods including grains, nuts, beans, leafy greens and bananas are magnesium-rich. Do not take magnesium supplements without first consulting your physician. Consult your physician before using skin products containing a magnesium additive as the primary ingredient, because you might have a different reaction to topical magnesium. To maintain skin elasticity as you age, follow a balanced and nutrient-rich diet, avoid excessive sun exposure, get plenty of sleep and implement healthy lifestyle practices like not smoking.
Aubri John has been a contributing researcher and writer to online physical and mental health oriented journals since 2005. John publishes online health and fitness articles that coincide with her licensed clinical skills in addictions, psychology and medical care. She has a master's degree in clinical social work and a Ph.D. in health psychology.