Be it coconut oil, aloe vera gel or banana mask, women have one or two favourite home remedies. Some are even big believers of natural ingredients. Taking it one level up is singer Halsey, who became a mother two years ago, and has breast milk as a part of her skin care routine. The Grammy nominee even called it the “best skincare ingredient” in a recent interview. It made us wonder if breast milk is really good for your skin. Here’s what an expert has to say about Halsey’s beauty secret.
In an interview with Nylon magazine, she said that breast milk is “so full of antioxidants and good fats and stuff that speed up the healing process.”
Health Shots connected with Dr Madhu Juneja, Senior Consultant – Obstetrician-gynecologist, Cloudnine Group Of Hospitals, Kalyani Nagar, Pune, to find out if breast milk can be a skin care ingredient.
Benefits of breast milk
New mothers are encouraged to give their babies breast milk as it contains carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. It is an ideal food that is easy to digest and protects against infections.
• Vitamin D promotes bone growth, and protects the baby against rickets.
• Leukocytes and lactoperoxidase prevent growth of infective agents.
• Lysozyme, lactoferrin and interferon protect against infection.
• Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are good for neurological development.
• Immunoglobulins protect against infection.
The expert says it’s a complex unique fluid with nutrients, enzymes and antibodies for baby’s growth and development.
Breast milk and skin care
Many women see breast milk as just baby food as it is very nutritional. Well, some adults have also dared to try drinking breast milk. It has immunological benefits, and this good property makes some believe that it can be applied topically on skin. Dr Juneja says that the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of breast milk make it even assuring to apply for certain skin conditions. According to National Library of Medicine, breast milk is a therapeutic remedy. Sometimes, it is used as a treatment for chapped nipples or infections of the skin.
Dr Juneja says the use of breast milk in skin care is not supported by strong scientific evidence. But yes, it can give moisturising effect on skin. Some even use it for eczema, acne or diaper rash. However, it is important to note that milk is bodily fluid with bacteria in it, so it should not be used on open cut wounds.
Also, breast milk is a source of nutrition for babies and using it for skin care will reduce the amount of milk available for the little one.
But if you still want to try it, make sure you don’t leave breast milk on your face overnight. The expert says it is not recommended to leave breast milk overnight or for long. It’s a bodily fluid with microorganisms and bacteria which may cause adverse effects on skin. It is better to meet your dermatologist for any skin-related issues rather than treating conditions like eczema or acne on your own.
Disadvantages of breast milk on skin
While breast milk is a natural and nutrient-rich food for babies, there are quite few disadvantages if you apply it on skin. Here are some of the problems you can face:
• There is a risk of potential bacterial infections, especially if you apply breast milk on face without proper hygiene methods.
• There can be allergic reactions, so when breast milk is applied topically it can lead to redness, swelling, hives and itchiness.
• Your baby will get less milk if you use it in your skin care routine. It may lead to poor availability to the child and later the little one might have poor immunity or an illness.
So, even though breast milk has potential benefits for skin, it’s important to check with your doctor first.