Transdermal Magnesium: Is it Effective?

The capacity of healthy skin to absorb substances applied externally is very limited. Because of this, the application of topical magnesium has a reduced effect.

The epidermis of the skin is composed of many layers that need to be penetrated in order for a substance to be absorbed. Because of this, only lipophilic substances can pass through the layers of the epidermis.

Magnesium as spray or oil is in an ionized form (as magnesium chloride), therefore not able to penetrate the lipophilic layers. Magnesium ions are further surrounded by a thick hydration shell, which makes it almost impossible for the ions to pass cellular membranes in an unregulated manner.

Currently transdermal magnesium is a form of magnesium administration without any scientific proof.

In addition, products marked as “cosmetics” do not allow any medically effective claims such as “for treatment of magnesium deficiency”. Without approval as a medicinal product with proof of efficacy, it should not be marketed as such.


Werner, T., Weidner, M., & Vormann, J. (2017). Transdermal magnesium – myth or reality?
. Trace Elements and Electrolytes,34(04), 45-48. doi:10.5414/tex01481