Skin optical clearing effect ex vivo and in vivo was achieved by topical application of low molecular weight paramagnetic magnetic resonance contrast agents. This novel feature has not been explored before. By using collimated transmittance the diffusion coefficients of three clinically used magnetic resonance contrast agents, that is Gadovist, Magnevist and Dotarem as well as X-ray contrast agent Visipaque in mouse skin were determined ex vivo as (4.29 +/- 0.39) x 10(-7) cm(2) /s, (5.00 +/- 0.72) x 10(-7) cm(2) /s, (3.72 +/- 0.67) x 10(-7) cm(2) /s and (1.64 +/- 0.18) x 10(-7) cm(2) /s, respectively. The application of gadobutrol (Gadovist) resulted in efficient optical clearing that in general, was superior to other contrast agents tested and allowed to achieve: (a) more than 12-fold increase of transmittance over 10 minutes after application ex vivo; (b) markedly improved images of skin architecture obtained with optical coherence tomography; (c) an increase of the fluorescence intensity/background ratio in TagRFP-red fluorescent marker protein expressing tumor by five times after 15 minutes application into the skin in vivo. The obtained results have immediate implications for multimodality imaging because many contrast agents are capable of simultaneously enhancing the contrast of multiple imaging modalities.