Ever heard the slogan "milk does a body good"? It turns out that milk does the skin good, too. Milk baths have been part of beauty and relaxation rituals for centuries. Cleopatra famously bathed in sour milk to improve her skin texture. And for good reason: "Milk baths can have tons of great benefits for your skin," says Michelle Henry, M.D., clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. "They can soothe and hydrate skin, whether it's dry, itchy, or just generally irritated."
What are the benefits of milk baths?
- Exfoliation: "The lactic acid in milk acts as a mild alpha hydroxy acid, which helps with exfoliation," Dr. Henry explains. This helps to smooth the skin's texture and get rid of dry, rough patches.
- Inflammation: Milk baths can also treat some frequent ailments, including sunburns and poison ivy rashes. "The proteins and vitamins will help calm inflammation and moisturize," Dr. Henry explains. If you’re treating a sunburn, she suggests applying aloe vera after your bath to help skin retain moisture.
- Hydration and replenishment: "Milk also contains nourishing ingredients for your skin, like proteins, fat, vitamins, and minerals," Dr. Henry adds.
Can milk baths soothe eczema?
Some people cite that milk baths can help various skin conditions and issues, including eczema. While Dr. Henry hasn't seen strong studies regarding the benefits of milk baths for eczema, she notes that bathing is an important part of eczema treatment, and there is some anecdotal evidence that milk baths have helped those with eczema. Milk baths may also help relieve the flaking and itching that accompanies psoriasis, she adds. But if you’re hesitant in any way, you should always check with your dermatologist before soaking.
Are milk baths safe?
They are safe for most people, but not everyone. "If you have extremely sensitive skin or a milk allergy, you may want to skip milk baths," Dr. Henry advises. "The lactic acid is quite gentle but in theory could cause irritation if someone is extremely sensitive." And stick with once a week as a guideline for how often to take a milk bath.
What type of milk is best for a bath?
The world is your oyster: You can use whole milk, coconut milk, buttermilk, goat milk, or rice or soy milk in a milk bath, Dr. Henry says. Cow’s milk is the most commonly-used because it’s inexpensive, and full-fat or whole milk will feel the most nourishing to your skin. Goat milk is also known for it’s high fat content and strong soothing properties.
How to make a milk bath at home
Now, here's how to DIY a milk bath: To make a milk bath at home, add the following ingredients to warm bath water, Dr. Henry suggests. Then soak and relax in the tub for 20 to 30 minutes for maximum benefits.
For a foaming milk bath recipe, try the following:
- 2 cups powdered milk (goat, cow, or buttermilk)
- 3 teaspoons lavender essential oil (or essential oil of your choice)
- 1 cup epsom salt (plain, no fragrance)
- 1 cup sea salt
Finally, if you like the idea of a milk bath, but pouring actual milk into your tub isn't for you, we've got you covered. You can create a milk bath experience at home with pre-made products including milk bath powders and bath bombs, like the following:
You Might Also Like