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Coconut oil plus milk of magnesia for rosacea
Your Health

Coconut oil plus milk of magnesia for rosacea


Joe Graedon and Dr. Teresa Graedon


Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist; Dr. Teresa Graedon is a medical anthropologist and nutrition expert.

Question: I just stumbled upon your article regarding milk of magnesia for rosacea. I am 54 and have had rosacea since I was 48. I found that rosacea definitely responds well to MoM, but I don’t like the feeling of tightness on my face as the MoM dries. Plus, the flaking residue can be annoying to dab off.

I have found an easy workaround: I noticed that virgin coconut oil also reduces redness, but it can be greasy. Instead, I tried combining the two, one part MoM with two parts coconut oil. This seems to be a very effective rosacea treatment that doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight. My skin looks great. Hope you find this tip useful!

Answer: Dermatologists haven’t determined the exact cause of rosacea, which makes the face red and bumpy. They suspect, however, that this inflammatory skin condition may be caused by an immune reaction to Demodex mites that live on the skin (Dermatology and Therapy, December 2020). We don’t know how MoM affects mites, but it might discourage them.

We appreciate the idea of coconut oil to keep milk of magnesia from flaking. Coconut oil also has antimicrobial properties that could be helpful (Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, July-September 2019).


Question: At least half of the people who wear face masks do so improperly, with their noses exposed, which is the same as not wearing a mask. Thick beards also impair mask function. How can people use masks more effectively?

Answer: Even N95 respirators don’t work as well as they should if they don’t fit properly. If a mask is loose and slips below the nose, it cannot do the job. Face masks held on by ear loops rather than secured firmly to the head may not fit tightly enough to provide meaningful protection (JAMA Internal Medicine, online, Nov. 23, 2020).

To learn more about the proper way to wear a face mask, you may wish to consult the “Comprehensive Guide to Face Masks” from the Cleveland Clinic:


Question: When I was working, I got up at 6 a.m. to leave for work at 7 and went to bed around 11:30 p.m. Now that I’m retired, I have gotten used to going to bed later and waking up later, but that’s getting out of hand. I now rise between 9 and 11 a.m. or sometimes even later, since I don’t get to sleep until 2 or 3 a.m. I’d like to get out of this vicious cycle.

I was on trazadone for a while, but still had trouble falling asleep. Then I was drowsy the next day unless I had several cups of coffee. How can I fix my current dilemma without taking sleeping pills?

I take glipizide for Type 2 diabetes, Lasix and lisinopril for high blood pressure, simvastatin for high cholesterol and gabapentin for spinal stenosis pain. I also take oxybutynin for overactive bladder, so I don’t want to add more meds.

Answer: Some of your medications may be contributing to your sleeping problems. Please ask your doctor to check oxybutynin and simvastatin.

Melatonin might help recalibrate your sleep-wake cycle. You will want to establish a regular routine prior to bedtime. To help you tune up your sleep hygiene, you may want to read our eGuide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep. This online resource, available at, also offers a number of nondrug approaches to overcoming insomnia.


Question: You’ve written about coffee raising cholesterol unless it is filtered to remove cafestol and kahweol. My brother has been using only Keurig coffeemakers for the past 10 years. He is experiencing high cholesterol and memory problems. Do the Keurig devices raise cholesterol, since they do not have filters for the coffee grounds?

Answer: Keurig-type machines that use “K-cups” or “pods” to make a single serving of coffee have become extremely popular. If you take a K-cup apart, you will find a filter in it. We don’t know whether that filter removes cafestol and kahweol. Consequently, we can’t say with certainty that your brother’s coffee habit affects his cholesterol. We suspect, though, that it’s less likely to pose problems.

Recent research shows that drinkers of black coffee have higher “good” HDL cholesterol (Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, online, Nov. 2, 2020). If people add milk, cream or sugar, however, the HDL benefits disappear.

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist; Dr. Teresa Graedon is a medical anthropologist and nutrition expert. Questions for the Graedons can be sent to them using their website,, or by writing to the following address: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803.

The Tri-State Neighbor Weekly Update

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Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist; Dr. Teresa Graedon is a medical anthropologist and nutrition expert.

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