Beauty 

Got Milk? Skincare's Latest Fad Is Probably in Your Fridge

Experts explain the surprising dermatological benefits of cow, goat and donkey milk.

9,221 Hypes

Milk: it’s not just for drinking anymore. Though the nutritious beverage is most widely associated with building strong bones and mixing with coffee, the kitchen staple also works wonders when applied topically to the skin. Rubbing milk into your face and body might seem like a bizarre idea, but it’s actually a practice that dates back to ancient Egypt. Cleopatra, the ruler who pioneered various beauty practices including smokey eyeliner and perfume-making, used to bathe in donkey milk. In fact, Roman author Pliny the Elder went on to write in his book Natural History that donkey milk “effaces wrinkles in the face, renders the skin more delicate, and preserves its whiteness.”

As it turns out, Cleopatra and Pliny were onto something. Beauty brands including Korres and Kate Somerville incorporate goat and donkey milk into their moisturizers and cleansers, and Pennsylvania-based Dionis Goat Milk Skincare uses the dairy as a base for its range of creams, soaps and bath bombs. HYPEBAE spoke to doctors about the surprising benefits of milk that will have you rethinking the humble ingredient. Keep reading for what we learned.

Milk is a two-in-one moisturizer and exfoliator

According to Dr. Purvisha Patel, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare, milk naturally contains several of skincare‘s most prized ingredients: vitamin A, vitamin D and lactic acid. Vitamin A helps stimulate collagen production, making it a commonly used addition to wrinkle-reducing products (in fact, retinol, a powerful anti-aging ingredient, is a derivative of vitamin A). Vitamin D, an antioxidant, helps calm redness and neutralize the effects of pollution on the skin. Lastly, lactic acid is a chemical exfoliant that helps the body shed dead skin cells, thereby evening skin tone, smoothing rough skin and reducing the appearance of dark spots. The cherry on top? “The fat in milk helps moisturize and soothe inflamed skin,” Dr. Patel adds.

Cow, goat, donkey milk — they all work

Dr. Patel notes that commonly used milks including cow, goat and donkey milk all contain vitamin A and D, as well as lactic acid. They also boast fatty acids that help repair the skin barrier — this means milk-based skincare is an excellent choice for those with dry skin and conditions such as eczema. “When the skin barrier is open and inflamed, there is an immune response resulting in eczema. All of the milks help soothe and coat the skin to repair the barrier,” Dr. Patel explains, adding that milk also contains probiotics, another science-backed skincare trend. If there’s one type to opt for, though, it seems the jury is split. Dr. Patel notes that donkey milk contains more vitamin C than its counterparts, resulting in “more antioxidant and free radical fighting properties.” Karen Minsky, director of Dionis Goat Milk Skincare, further mentions that human skin shares the same pH as goats, making their milk an ideal choice. 

What if I’m lactose intolerant?

Even if you’re lactose intolerant, dairy-based milks are likely safe to use on your skin. “Goat and donkey milk-based products do indeed have lactose, but less than cow’s milk. Since the milk in skincare is not ingested, there is usually not an issue,” Dr. Patel says. However, she heeds that using dairy-based skincare on eczematous skin (skin experiencing an active eczema flare-up) can actually cause a goat milk allergy. “If using goat’s milk or any milk products makes your skin more inflamed and irritated, stop, and be leery of eating goat’s milk products,” she cautions, recommending that anyone unsure of their allergies speak to a doctor. Rekha Tailor, founder of Surrey-based clinic Health & Aesthetics, suggests testing newly purchased products on a small patch of skin to rule out a serious reaction.

Plant-based milks are good for the skin, too

If you’re lactose intolerant or vegan (or both), don’t fret — dairy-free milk alternatives can be just as beneficial for the skin. Dr. Patel and Tailor both agree that soy milk aids in collagen production and is rich with vitamin E, another ingredient that helps strengthen the skin barrier, while almond milk contains vitamins B, C and E, as well as magnesium, which can help reduce acne. Another non-dairy alternative, coconut milk has antibacterial properties and can help soothe blemish-prone skin and rosacea. 

The bottom line? Pulling a full-on Cleopatra and bathing in milk probably isn’t practical, but if you have dry, sensitive skin, it might be worth incorporating the ingredient into your routine. Beekman 1802’s Triple Milk Retinol Bar, a foaming cleanser, contains goat milk and coconut milk, while Kate Somerville’s dairy-based cleanser is formulated with goat milk and honey. Korres’ Donkey Milk Moisturizer is a rich formula ideal for applying at night. Dionis Goat Milk Skincare, your new one-stop shop for milky products, sells a range of goat-aided offerings including hydrating lip balm, bath bombs and hand cream.

Read Full Article
Text By
Share this article

What to Read Next

Thirteen Lune Is Upgrading Your Skincare in the Sky With American Airlines
Beauty

Thirteen Lune Is Upgrading Your Skincare in the Sky With American Airlines

Your skin will be skinning 30,000 feet in the air.
1,338 Hypes

Try These Waterless Face Wash Beads for a Sustainable Skincare Upgrade
Beauty

Try These Waterless Face Wash Beads for a Sustainable Skincare Upgrade

Crush, wet, lather — ushering in a new era of responsible beauty.
86 Hypes

Here's How To Choose the Right Cleanser Based on Your Skin Type
Beauty

Here's How To Choose the Right Cleanser Based on Your Skin Type

Healthy skin starts with your face wash.
983 Hypes


Balenciaga's New Campaign Is Probably Not What You're Looking For...
Fashion

Balenciaga's New Campaign Is Probably Not What You're Looking For...

Let’s just say, it’s different.
1,831 Hypes

Here Are the Collections You Missed From London's Digital Fashion Week
Fashion 

Here Are the Collections You Missed From London's Digital Fashion Week

Digital fashion month kicks off with shows from Gabriela Hearst, Proenza Schouler and more.
4,530 Hypes

Starbucks Japan Launches Cherry Blossom Drinkware Collection
Culture

Starbucks Japan Launches Cherry Blossom Drinkware Collection

Looking forward to sakura season in March.
24,637 Hypes

Priya Ahluwalia Wins Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design
Fashion

Priya Ahluwalia Wins Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design

The designer is recognized for her sustainable practices and culturally informed designs.
1,623 Hypes

adidas Teams Up With Artist Shantell Martin on Customizable Superstar
Footwear

adidas Teams Up With Artist Shantell Martin on Customizable Superstar

Available at adidas’ MakerLab in New York City, where visitors can create bespoke gear.
3,175 Hypes

Sotheby's To Auction Off Collection of Vintage Maison Margiela
Fashion

Sotheby's To Auction Off Collection of Vintage Maison Margiela

Nearly 200 designs spanning 20 years will be posted for sale.
2,161 Hypes

The Estée Lauder Companies Increase Investment in DECIEM
Beauty

The Estée Lauder Companies Increase Investment in DECIEM

“Our loving team will remain committed to putting innovation, design, kindness, and function at the heart of everything we do.”
1,812 Hypes

Meet Hey Humans, Jada Pinkett Smith and Her Family's Eco-Conscious Personal Care Brand
Beauty

Meet Hey Humans, Jada Pinkett Smith and Her Family's Eco-Conscious Personal Care Brand

Featuring high-quality sustainable products accessible to all.
3,742 Hypes

Daniel Fletcher Debuts First Womenswear Collection
Fashion 

Daniel Fletcher Debuts First Womenswear Collection

Read our interview with the designer.
1,802 Hypes

This Mask Is the Best One I’ve Worn All Pandemic Long
Fashion 

This Mask Is the Best One I’ve Worn All Pandemic Long

Read all about why the Human Made x Airinum mask is my favorite.
4,547 Hypes

Braun x Off-White™ Team Up for Limited-Edition Alarm Clocks
Art & Design

Braun x Off-White™ Team Up for Limited-Edition Alarm Clocks

The ultimate home accessory to wake up to every morning.
7,203 Hypes

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Keep updated on the latest news.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Looks like you’re using an ad-blocker

We charge advertisers instead of our readers. Support us by whitelisting our site.

Whitelist Us

How to Whitelist Us

screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Under “Pause on this site” click “Always”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock Plus icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Block ads on – This website” switch off the toggle to turn it from blue to gray.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlocker Ultimate icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Switch off the toggle to turn it from “Enabled on this site” to “Disabled on this site”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the Ghostery icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the “Ad-Blocking” button at the bottom. It will turn gray and the text above will go from “ON” to “OFF”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the UBlock Origin icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the large blue power icon at the top.
  3. When it turns gray, click the refresh icon that has appeared next to it or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the icon of the ad-blocker extension installed on your browser.You’ll usually find this icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. You may have more than one ad-blocker installed.
  2. Follow the instructions for disabling the ad blocker on the site you’re viewing.You may have to select a menu option or click a button.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.