Permeation of topically applied Magnesium ions through human skin is facilitated by hair follicles

Magnes Res. 2016 Jun 1;29(2):35-42. doi: 10.1684/mrh.2016.0402.


Magnesium is an important micronutrient essential for various biological processes and its deficiency has been linked to several inflammatory disorders in humans. Topical magnesium delivery is one of the oldest forms of therapy for skin diseases, for example Dead Sea therapy and Epsom salt baths. Some anecdotal evidence and a few published reports have attributed amelioration of inflammatory skin conditions to the topical application of magnesium. On the other hand, transport of magnesium ions across the protective barrier of skin, the stratum corneum, is contentious. Our primary aim in this study was to estimate the extent of magnesium ion permeation through human skin and the role of hair follicles in facilitating the permeation. Upon topical application of magnesium solution, we found that magnesium penetrates through human stratum corneum and it depends on concentration and time of exposure. We also found that hair follicles make a significant contribution to magnesium penetration.

Keywords: hair follicle; mag-fura-2; magnesium; multiphoton microscopy.

MeSH terms

  • Fura-2 / administration & dosage
  • Fura-2 / analogs & derivatives
  • Fura-2 / metabolism
  • Fura-2 / pharmacokinetics
  • Hair Follicle / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Ions / administration & dosage
  • Ions / metabolism
  • Ions / pharmacokinetics
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage*
  • Magnesium / metabolism
  • Magnesium / pharmacokinetics*
  • Skin / metabolism*


  • Ions
  • 2-(2-(5-carboxy)oxazole)-5-hydroxy-6-aminobenzofuran-N,N,O-triacetic acid
  • Magnesium
  • Fura-2