The first time I heard of a breast milk facial, I almost choked on my pretzel. The idea of smearing a stranger’s breast milk over my face was an uncomfortable thought. But the more research I did on this subject, the more swayed I was towards accepting this as a credible beauty therapy.
There have been anecdotal reports of people who washed their faces with breast milk (how much breast milk did they actually have?) and found improvements in their complexion tone and brightness.
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Even Cleopatra has been known to bathe in milk as a beauty ritual. We spoke to beauty experts on their take on this beauty trend.
Breast milk contains some amounts of lactic acid, the levels of which may increase the more the mother exercises. This is what contributes to the slightly sour taste of breast milk in lactating mothers who are physically active. “Lactic acid is a natural alpha hydroxyl acid, this may explain why when breast milk is used on the skin, it gives a skin brightening effect” explains Dr Low Chai Ling, founder of SW1 Clinic. While the concentrations of lactic acid may vary from mother to mother, their levels are generally low enough not to irritate most skin types. However if you are hooked on using breast milk to wash your skin for a considerable period of time, you may find cumulative benefits that can seriously benefit your skin.
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Cysteamine is another ingredient that is found in breast milk. Interesting, cysteamine is a potent skin whitening ingredient and is found in skin lightening formulations such as Super White sold exclusively at the doctor’s office. In fact, cysteamine is known to be such a potent skin lightener that when it is used as a topical formulation like Super White, users are advised to only leave it on their skin for no longer than 10-15 minutes before washing off. This short duration contact therapy was enough for most users to see pigment lightening and overall complexion brightening results after 4 weeks of consistent use.
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So the next time you come across extra bags of breast milk, don’t discard them. Instead use them on your own skin to reap its benefits. For the rest of us who don’t have a lactating collgeaue to sponge off, consider going for a lactic acid peel (also known as the milk peel) or embark on a home treatment regime using cysteamine containing products.