Milk of magnesia wipes out acne

Have you heard of using milk of magnesia on severe acne? My son has cystic nodular acne. He is 16 and has been under a dermatologist's care for many years.

We have spent thousands of dollars, to no avail. He has recently tried a home remedy: applying milk of magnesia to his face at night before bed. He looks the best he has in four years. Can you tell us why this is working so wonderfully well?


Milk of magnesia is a solution of magnesium hydroxide and is best known for its laxative action.

We don't know why milk of magnesia might combat acne, but we have heard that this laxative can help clear up seborrheic dermatitis. In this condition, yeast on the skin causes redness and flakes, rather like dandruff, but on the forehead and chin as well as scalp and eyebrows. Here is one reader's report:


"I have been using milk of magnesia on my face for the past two months, and my face flakes are gone! I pour it in my hand and massage it on my face (forehead, eyebrows, around the eyes, nose, cheeks and chin) while showering, and rinse it off at the end of the shower. End of problem. It's a great, cost-effective alternative to expensive Nizoral, and it works better, too."

I developed a dry cough soon after my doctor diagnosed me with hypertension and put me on Altace. I would cough and cough until I would gag and throw up into my trash can at work, because the coughing would just come on so suddenly. I even had to carry a small trash bag in my car because I was afraid that I would throw up during my commute to and from work.

I asked my doctor for another medicine. He prescribed lisinopril, and I am still having the same problem. What's going on?

Both of your blood pressure medicines are ACE inhibitors and can cause a persistent cough in susceptible people. We are surprised that your doctor didn't mention this side effect.

A survey of participants on the Web site (which offers personalized estimates of drug risk and interaction concerns) revealed that only one patient in four on lisinopril had been told that the drug could cause cough. More than a third of the respondents had a chronic cough.

I have back problems and have been taking Vicodin daily for pain. For the past six months, my breathing has been terrible. I have had to stop and catch my breath with any little thing.

I've been off Vicodin for a week, and my breathing is much better. Could the Vicodin be responsible?

The prescription pain reliever Vicodin contains acetaminophen and the narcotic hydrocodone. According to the manufacturer, in sensitive people or at high doses, hydrocodone can produce respiratory depression and irregular breathing. We don't know if that is what you experienced, but you should report it to your physician.


You recently offered a list of natural migraine remedies people have tried. I've had migraines since before I was in kindergarten, and I'm 58. The best thing I've found is ginger: Jamaican-style ginger beer (stronger than ginger ale) is good though rather sweet; the pickled ginger sold with sushi is a godsend. It also helps with nausea.

I sometimes make a tea of mint, chamomile, sassafras, some cinnamon sticks, cloves and a bit of valerian. I add grated fresh ginger when preparing the tea. It's not a cure, but it helps -- as does ginger, a warmed buckwheat-filled pack along my back and shoulders, and ice packs on my temples and forehead.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Ginger is well-known for its anti-nausea activity, and there are a few mentions of ginger easing migraine in medical literature. Most suggest that ginger works best when taken at the first sign of a migraine headache.

As an active senior, I was more than dismayed that increasing arthritis caused pain when I attempted simple activities. Aspirin and exercise helped a bit. I tried deleting the "reds" from my diet (meat, tomatoes, eggplant). I also took herbs like boswellia, turmeric and bromelain. They helped a little, but not enough.

Then I tried the gin-soaked raisins, and I am pain-free and flexible once more. Fantastic! My horses thank you, my grandkids thank you, and my garden also thanks you.

We don't know why some people get such relief from gin-soaked raisins and others tell us this remedy is worthless. We're delighted to learn that it worked for you.


To make this remedy, put golden raisins in a shallow bowl, cover with gin and allow it to evaporate. Eat nine daily.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or e-mail them via their Web site: