Will breast-milk lotion give you great skin? (Photo: Gallery Stock)
When it comes to taking care of your baby’s skin, new moms will do anything to help make it healthy. And now, it seems, that includes making lotion … with breast milk.
A growing number of women are creating “breast milk lotion,” i.e., homemade lotions and ointments that include their own breast milk, and posting about it on social media. Recipes vary, but many include beeswax, grapeseed, or coconut oil and a little vitamin E, along with, yup, breast milk. The mixture is then sealed and refrigerated and can last for up to three months.
Fans claim breast-milk lotion is great for sensitive skin and can help soothe eczema and baby acne. Are they onto something?
Experts aren’t so sure.
“Although milk contains fatty acids and other vitamins, the concept of using breast milk in lotion is really unproven,” Gary Goldenberg, M.D., medical director of the Dermatology Faculty Practice at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, tells Yahoo Beauty. “It’s unclear to me how or why it would work better than moisturizers we have available.”
Ted Lain, M.D., a dermatologist practicing in the Austin, Texas, area, tells Yahoo Beauty that breast-milk lotion may even be bad for babies. “Breast milk contains varying amounts of lactic acid, which can irritate sensitive baby skin,” he says. “It also contains tons of bacteria, which are good for the baby’s gut but not helpful at all when applied to the skin. In fact, it could theoretically cause an infection.”
One mom made lotion when her child wouldn’t take a bottle. (Photo: Instagram)
Cynthia Bailey, M.D., a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology and president and CEO of Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Inc., agrees. “My concern would be bacterial contamination due to shelf-life instability of the milk formulated into a cream,” she tells Yahoo Beauty.
Bailey says moms are onto something with the beeswax and grapeseed oil, since they’re hypoallergenic and therefore less likely to cause a reaction in babies, but she just isn’t sold on the breast milk part.
So, what should you put on your baby? Goldenberg recommends moisturizers with minimal ingredients like petrolatum, Vaseline ointment, and Aquaphor. “Lotions with multiple ingredients may be more likely to cause skin allergies and irritation,” he says. Bailey also recommends the VaniCare line, which has a sensitive skin bar soap and moisturizer that’s free of known skin irritants.
If your baby suffers from eczema, Lain says the best at-home steps are using bland, unscented moisturizers, room humidifiers, gentle soaps and detergents, and cotton clothes. If the rash still persists, he says it’s time to take your baby to a dermatologist.
So, while breast-milk lotion is an interesting idea in theory, it’s probably best to take a pass on this DIY trend.