1. Magnesium prevents and fights inflammation:
Magnesium and acne
Acne rarely originates in our skin but is rather an indicator of inflammation throughout our body, which can also be expressed on our skin’s surface.[1-4] Inflammation arises when we experience stress and our body’s systems stop working optimally. Not only do these systems depend on magnesium[5-10], but magnesium itself has anti-inflammatory effects on the human body, thus reducing the major cause of acne. [11-13]
In fact magnesium’s anti-inflammatory effects can be seen directly inside our sebocytes: the acne-prone skin cells which make our skin’s natural lubricant called sebum.
A rise in inflammation can cause overproduction of sebum which allows bacteria such as Propionibacterium Acnes and Staphylococcus Epidermis to thrive. The mixture of these bacteria, excess sebum and dead skin cells clogs our pores and results in acne.
Magnesium & inflammation
We know magnesium fights inflammation in our skin cells, yet it also fights systemic inflammation throughout our entire body:
Blood tests use biomarkers to see the degree of inflammation in our body. E-selectin is the biomarker that reveals inflammation in our skin and C-reactive protein identifies systemic inflammation in our body.
Taking magnesium lowers both E-selectin and C-reactive protein (15,16), making it possible to reduce skin and whole-body inflammation. This makes sense when we look at magnesium’s role in producing our body’s most potent detoxifying agents:
Magnesium & detoxification
Our body’s innate systems protect our skin from oxidative stress and inflammation with the help of our two most potent antioxidants, glutathione & melatonin:
Glutathione is our most abundant anti-inflammatory helper. Our cells make it using a molecule called ATP: adenosine triphosphate.[17-20] which itself needs magnesium. [21-25] Simply put, we need magnesium for the antioxidant benefits of glutathione.
Melatonin lets us sleep. This is essential for healthy skin because most of our skin’s regeneration happens during sleep. Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant  which protects our skin’s DNA , and delays the death of our skin cells.  Our body can’t make its own melatonin without magnesium, because the process once again requires ATP-Mg2+ (magnesium-dependent ATP)[29,30]. This helps explain why magnesium deficient diets result in lower levels of this rejuvenating antioxidant.
2. Skin firmness and elasticity depend on magnesium:
Collagen and elastin are the two proteins that give our skin the firmness and elasticity it needs to look young and healthy. While there are different types of collagen and elastin used in different areas of our body (not just our skin), the one thing they all have in common is that our body uses magnesium to make all of them:
Our skin cells make collagen and elastin via a process called protein synthesis, where they use our DNA as an instruction manual to assemble amino acids into proteins such as collagen or elastin. This process has two phases, and both require magnesium:
Phase 1: Our DNA is unwound and the gene with the instructions to make collagen or elastin is located and duplicated. The enzymes that unwind the DNA (Helicases), and make a copy of the gene (RNA polymerases), both need magnesium to work. [32-40]
Phase 2: An enzyme called a ribosome now scans the new gene duplicate, and uses it to find the right amino acids and assemble them into collagen or elastin. The ribosome that performs this process also needs magnesium to function. [41,42]
Simply put, without magnesium we cannot make the two proteins that maintain our skin’s firmness, elasticity and youth.
3. Magnesium supports our skin’s DNA:
Our DNA holds the instructions for our cells to make collagen and elastin. Therefore it is critical that our DNA and genes be kept healthy at all times. This is why special enzymes called DNA ligases exist:
They constantly repair the damage that our DNA incurs from daily wear-and-tear and inflammation within the cell.[43,44] Our DNA ligases repair our DNA trillions of times per second. None of our DNA ligases can function without magnesium.[45,46] Thus magnesium deficiency can cause inadequate repair of the genes that let us make our skin’s elastin and collagen, which in turn leads to accelerated aging of our skin.
4. Magnesium powers vitamin D to keep our skin healthy:
Vitamin D is critical to the health and function of our skin  including reducing inflammation in our skin cells , immune system function, and our skin’s wound healing and regeneration.  However vitamin D production has three main stages, and all three depend on magnesium:
Stage 1: The vitamin D we get from food is in the inactive form [50,51] known as D3 or cholecalciferol. 
Stage 2: Our liver then converts this inactive form into the storage form: calcidiol.
Stage 3: Our kidneys then convert this storage form into the final active form: calcitriol.
Without magnesium, our body can’t synthesize active vitamin D because: the enzymes that facilitate the above conversions belong to the cytochrome P450 family of enzymes. [53-56] This family of enzymes is magnesium-dependent.  Magnesium’s role in vitamin D synthesis is critical for helping our skin recover from inflammation and other sources of stress such as radiation from prolonged exposure to sunlight.
5. Invasive skin treatments can deceptively accelerate skin aging:
Skin care experts know that invasive skin treatments improve our skin by first damaging it and then stimulating the body’s innate healing response, which is characterized by increased collagen and elastin. The goal of these treatments is for the increased collagen & elastin production to have a supercompensatory effect which improves the skin quality to a state that is better than it was before the treatment’s damage was incurred (otherwise the procedure serves no purpose). However this only happens in an ideal world where our body has enough magnesium to satisfy both:
- The increased need of skin collagen/elastin production.
- All of our other vital functions of the body.
In a magnesium-deficient person, there is not enough magnesium to sustain both, which is where we find the problem:
How the damage is done
After the treatment, our nervous system signals our body to use more of our magnesium for the collagen & elastin production of our skin in order to repair it. However at some point after the skin treatment the body realizes that this skin damage is not a survival threat. At this point, if the person is magnesium deficient, the increase of magnesium usage towards collagen & elastin of the skin may stop so magnesium can be used to make collagen and elastin in more vital areas such as the cardiovascular system.
If the amount of collagen/elastin made during this innate healing response was less than what was needed to fully repair the skin damage, the procedure has actually done more harm than good.
This can be deceptive because the initial post-treatment swelling common to such procedures makes the skin look more full. This temporary improvement in appearance can lead us into a cycle of skin treatments (in a magnesium-deficient state) which accelerates the aging of our skin.
Invasive skin treatments can be beneficial for making our skin look younger, because they do have the ability to increase the production of proteins that contribute to firm, elastic skin. However this is only optimally possible in people who are not deficient in magnesium and other nutrients essential for collagen and elastin production.
6. Solutions to restore magnesium and support healthier skin:
While restoring and maintaining healthy magnesium levels may not resolve all your skin conditions on its own, based on magnesium’s essential roles in our skin’s health and function, it is still a major requirement for optimally healthy skin. A complete magnesium restoration protocol can include:
- Eating a magnesium-smart diet. Learn more
- Reducing the environmental, psychological and physical stressors that deplete magnesium from your body. Learn more
- Monitoring your calcium intake. Calcium fortification in food is widespread, and excess calcium while magnesium deficiency may lead to inflammation.
- Using a quality transdermal magnesium supplement to restore whole-body magnesium levels. Learn more