Can You Really Use Milk of Magnesia to Shrink Your Pores?

We thought we’d heard it all on TikTok—baking soda facials, pills that tan your skin and hydrocolloid bandages for acne—but the latest viral skin-care tip is one that involves a laxative. 

TikTok user Tabetha Wallace went viral on the app recently with her suggestion to use milk of magnesia to minimize the look of large pores. While this DIY practice is new to us, the use of milk of magnesia as a makeup primer is one that has made the rounds in the past. We’ve never heard of it used for large pores, so we had to investigate.

“When you put it on your skin, milk of magnesia soaks up and inhibits the production of excess oil,” says Saddle Brook, NJ dermatologist Dr. Frederic Haberman. “Which explains why this may work for some people who have skin that produces more oils than people with dry or normal skin; oily skin also tends to have large pores.”

“In powder form, the primary ingredient magnesium hydroxide does attract oil and that’s why it is a degreaser,” says New York dermatologist Heidi A. Waldorf, MD. “However, milk of magnesia is not in a base that is meant for skin. It’s in a base that’s meant for the gut. Applying it to the face is a recipe for irritation and even contact dermatitis.”

Final verdict? While it may work for some in a pinch, we’re going to pass on this chalky trend and reach for our pore minimizing toners and serums instead.

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