This is no different than cow’s milk. A woman’s breasts and a cow’s udders are essentially the same things. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
I’m lying in a spa chair at Mud Facial Bar in Chicago, my face is covered in breast milk, and the smell of dairy—dairy that has been sitting out for about an hour too long—fills my nostrils.
Spas across the country are adding (non-human) milk to the list of ingredients contained their skin treatments. (Learn why milk is awesome for your skin.) Mud Facial Bar is on trend with its Breathe facial. But, now, it’s taking the milk-does-your-skin-good trend to an almost absurd level. It’s allowing clients to request human milk in place of cow’s milk (for just $10 more!). Mud is calling it the world’s first breast-milk facial.
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“Everything we do at Mud is organic, so I am always researching all-natural ways that can be implemented in our regular facial process in efforts to achieve a softer and clearer complexion,” says Mud owner Shama Patel. “During my search, I came upon mommy blogs who raved about the use of breast milk on their skin to cure skin ailments, so I looked further.” Run a quick Google search and you’ll find new moms extolling breast milk as a treatment for everything from eczema and acne to sunburns and chapped lips.
While breast milk contains plenty of vitamins and minerals that are good for babies and adults alike, its secret to smoother skin is its fatty acids. “Breast milk contains lauric acid, a component of the oil made by our oil glands, which has strong anti-microbial properties that fight natural bacteria in our skin,” says Lance Brown, M.D., board-certified dermatologist with offices in New York City and the Hamptons. “Because lauric acid may have a beneficial role in addressing an increased amount of natural bacteria and reducing acne inflammation, products that include it may help treat that condition.” Breast milk facials included.
So Patel found a Chicago-area mom who is producing a ton of milk, is willing to sell the extra milk that’s hanging out in her freezer, and, yes, eats an organic diet. She’s certified with a local milk bank, so her goods have been medically screened for safety. She sent her first batch of milk to Mud in a cooler, according to Patel. Eventually, and depending on how many people end up requesting the boob-juice facial, Mud will need to start getting milk from other women as well. (After all, what woman wants to keep pumping when her kid has moved on to solid food?)
Once the milk arrives to the facial bar, it’s mixed with white clay so that the milk can harden and tighten on the skin, like a mask, Patel says. Then it’s slathered on your skin and your aesthetician rubs it into your pores with (get this) two cold, blue glass balls. Because, what’s better than a breast-milk facial? A breast-milk facial with blue balls. Each is about the size of a tennis ball, and they actually feel pretty great, kind of like a massage. Still, during my rub-down, I was paranoid that one of the balls would spread the breast milk onto my lips. I’m still not confident whether or not my lips made it through the facial unscathed.
If you have a sensitive gag reflex, you’ll be glad to know that breast milk doesn’t have a monopoly on lauric acid. Both coconut oil and coconut milk contain the saturated fatty acid—but in concentrations that are about five times higher than those in breast milk, according to Brown. “There is not any scientific evidence that breast milk is more helpful (or harmful) in the treatment of acne or other skin conditions, such as eczema, than other available products.”
All heebie jeebies aside, I’d sign up for that study. Hey, that breast-milk facial made my skin look damn good. Unfortunately, my boyfriend won’t kiss me.
By K. Aleisha Fetters
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