Immediately following delivery of a newborn, nourishment first comes in as colostrum. This colostrum contains antioxidants and is antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiinflammatory to protect the newborn against disease and promote health by creating a strong immune system. After a few days, breastmilk comes in to nourish the baby. Breastmilk contains a saturated fat called lauric acid that is also antiviral and antibacterial. Both colostrum and breastmilk are considered liquid gold.
Used topically, the milk contains lactic acid which is an antibacterial and the only alpha hydroxy acids that hydrates while it exfoliates. Because of these benefits, some have turned to using breastmilk in skin care. Colostrum can be purchased in powder or liquid form. Breastmilk can be sourced from a local milk bank. No matter which form, if used, it is imperative to ensure safety first. HIV and other serious infectious diseases, including syphilis, herpes, hepatitis, and rubella, can be transmitted through breast milk. So, choosing a reputable source that screens all supplies is best. Some milk banks will be very specific and only have milk from organic, vegan, dairy-free mothers or grass-fed cows (if using a bovine source). Breastmilk can change from skim milk to full-fat milk depending on the diet of the mother, so the source definitely matters.
In terms of performing a facial, using breastmilk as a mask allows for the most time on tissue for hydration, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial benefits. Steps could include cleansing, toning, exfoliation, and extractions (with or without steam), followed by a milk mask. For a warm milk mask, add honey, or for a refreshing, cool milk mask, try hints of mint and cucumber. The possibilities are unlimited. Cleopatra attributed her beautiful skin to milk baths infused with honey and herbs.
Breastmilk is one of nature’s first foods and defenses against disease and is powerful both inside and outside the body. For skin, it could be a great add-on or specialty treatment for more hydrated, supple, and glowing skin.