Milk baths aren’t just a luxurious, spa-like addition to your routine – soaking in one can have tons of health benefits, and a cheap alternative to an expensive treatment. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to fill your entire bath with milk. In fact, just mixing a little milk (or pre-mixed milk bath powder) with your bathwater has been a foolproof way to soften and moisturize skin for centuries. Cleopatra took baths in sour milk, which gave her that coveted skin texture that people are still talking about today.
In short, milk baths are an anti-aging miracle treatment for many people. You can even include essential oils, herbs, and dried flowers for further skin-improving and aromatic properties. Get ready to light those candles – here are all the jaw-dropping benefits of milk baths, and why you should take one ASAP.
What exactly is in a milk bath?
Milk baths contain several compounds that help to replenish moisture, such as lactic acid (a natural exfoliant), vitamins, minerals, and proteins, and fats, which can help soothe and soften skin.
Benefits of Milk Baths
- Hydrate your skin and keep it smooth year-round.
- Reduce wrinkles and fine lines
- Gently exfoliate skin in a non-abrasive way
- Make your skin firmer
- Reduce flare-ups, and prevent dry spots
- Acts as a more soothing sunburn cure alternative to aloe
- Sleep better and reduce stress
- Reduce skin inflammation and conditions related to It, like eczema, dry skin patches, and psoriasis
Types of Milk
Cow: This is pretty much the most common and the cheapest option that’s readily available in your fridge or local grocery store. Opt for whole (full-fat) milk for optimal results.
Coconut: The lauric acid in this is antimicrobial, and also supports your skin health, just like coconut oil does. A great alternative if you need to go plant-based.
Oat milk: Oats are particularly soothing, so if you have sensitive skin, consider this gentle ingredient which can fight against eczema and dry skin.
Almond milk: to keep skin supple, opt for almond milk which is rich in fatty oils and hence decadent on dry skin. Ideal for those living a plant-based lifestyle.
Goat milk: the lactic acid in oat milk keeps skin smooth while gently exfoliating, and it’s extremely nourishing. It’s higher in butterfat than cow’s milk, so can provide a creamier texture.
Buttermilk: Due to the high amount of lactic acid in buttermilk, this may be your best bet if exfoliating is your main purpose.
How to Make a Milk Bath
- Run hot water into the bath
- Pour milk into the bath, or pour your powder. Use about 2 cups and no less than 1 cup.
- Add on essential oils, bath salts, or anything else to enhance your milk bath experience. Soak for up to half an hour and feel like Cleopatra!
Milk bath recipe
- 2 cups of milk of your choice
- 1 cup Epsom salts
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon moisturizing oil (coconut, jojoba, etc.)
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
Once the water has filled up about halfway, add ingredients and stir with your hands. The moisturizing oil helps to further soothe skin, while the Epsom salts work to relieve tension further.
If you don’t want to make a DIY recipe, you can buy a store-bought one. Milk baths are increasing in popularity all over the world, so much so that brands are starting to sell jars and bottles of pre-formulated milk bath products. However, going DIY is a lot cheaper and more fun than spending extra cash at an all-natural or skincare store for no reason.
Potential risk of a milk bath
If you have a milk allergy, don’t take a milk bath. However, if you are just lactose intolerant, you’re not actually ingesting the dairy product, so it should be fine. If you don’t have a nut allergy, consider switching to a plant-based milk and avoid the allergic symptoms that come with dairy.
If you plan on prepping a milk bath for an infant, only use breast milk combined with warm water, and never add essential oils. You can also topically apply this to your baby with a wet sponge or towel rather than immersing them in the water.
The bottom line
If you need some soothing of itchy, dry skin, consider a milk bath. Now that winter has arrived for many of us, our skin isn’t as happy as it is during the warmer months, and a milk bath can help ease those symptoms. If you’re regularly on skin medication, you shouldn’t replace it with milk baths and should consult a doctor before you take one.