Bathing is a luxurious way to nourish your skin. Not only that, but time spent in a hot tub can really give you some quality “me” time. You can use that time to unwind from all of the pressures and demands of your busy day.
But, if you want to get more out of your bathtime, you may want to take a tip from one of history’s most legendary beauty queens, and try a milk bath.
This bathing tip, used by Cleopatra, can deliver luminous looking skin. The number of nutrients in milk can seriously benefit your skin. They include amino acids (protein), vitamins, minerals, as well as a specific type of sugar called lactic acid that works as an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) exfoliator. When you bathe your body in milk, the gentle exfoliant properties go to work, loosening hardened sebum and dissolving lingering dead skin cells to reveal dewy, radiant skin.
How Can I Make a Milk Bath?
At first, a milk bath sounds luxurious and enticing, but suddenly you wonder – “How do I get enough milk to fill an entire bathtub?!”
Not to worry! Though Cleopatra herself may have had the resources, and finances, to fill her entire tub with fresh milk, today there’s an easier way. And, it doesn’t skimp on all those wonderful benefits.
The secret here is milk powder. Milk powder is made by evaporating liquid milk. It’s an ideal product for situations where refrigeration is not available, as milk powder doesn’t require cooling. It also has a far longer shelf life than normal milk. Most importantly it doesn’t lose its nutritional value.
You can buy powdered whole milk or buttermilk very easily at most supermarkets. If you prefer a different kind of milk – like goat or coconut – you may have to shop online, but they’re easily found.
A Simple Milk Bath Recipe
Take 2 cups of powdered milk (cow, goat, buttermilk, coconut, yogurt) and pour it under hot running water. Lie back and … relax.
You can also add 1/2 ounce of your favorite essential oil or 1 cup of Epsom/Dead Sea salts (both high in minerals that soften the skin)
So Much Milk To Choose From!
There are many ways to create a thick, and creamy milk bath for your skin. Here are five of the most commonly used milks you can add to your bath, to transform it into a spa-style soak:
1. Whole Milk
This classic milk powder offers some of the largest amounts of skin-nourishing vitamins and minerals of any milk. They include Vitamin A, C, D, K, as well as B Complex Vitamins, folate, pantothenic acid, cobalamin, and choline, calcium, potassium, and essential fatty acids of omega-3, and omega-6.
This type of milk powder contains a higher portion of lactic acid than other varieties. As a skin exfoliator, buttermilk also has a slightly more sour fragrance that may offend some people, so you may want to combine this milk powder with fresh herbs or essential oils.
3. Goat’s Milk
This milk powder resembles the natural pH of human skin closer than any other milk. Because goat’s milk is higher in pH, it is considered to be an alkaline substance. With a natural pH level of mother’s milk at 7.4, goat’s milk is far less acidic than cow’s milk powder, a milk with a pH between 6.7 to 6.5. Also, a pungent smelling milk, the natural aroma of goat’s milk pairs well with other strong fragrances like lavender. High in Vitamins A, B, and E, goat’s milk also contains approximately three times more beta-carotene than whole milk.
4. Coconut Milk
This milk powder quickly transforms your regular bath into a trip to the tropics. With a delicious fragrance, and a thick consistency, coconut milk is an ingredient that everyone should use in their milk baths. Keep in mind that this is an ideal vegan alternative for those who prefer a plant-based milk option. This milk is also the only milk bath option that includes a specific type of fatty acid known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) to deeply hydrate skin cells.
5. Yogurt-style Milk
Also known as kefir, this milk has a tart taste but it works wonders on your skin when used to make a milk bath. Containing beneficial bacteria known as probiotics, yogurt milk may help to improve the condition of acne affected skin. Studies have shown that topical application of probiotics helps to kill off harmful bacteria that can worsen acne, as well as reduce inflammatory activity for healthier looking skin.1,2
You can purchase these kinds of milk as milk powders, or simply add them directly into your bath in liquid form. It’s up to you, but remember that milk isn’t the only luxurious additive you can toss into the tub.
More Ways to Transform Your Bath
You can also create a nourishing bath with other types of nutrient powders, including these five best bathtime add-ins:
Oat baths have been used to soothe inflammation of the skin for centuries. Add whole oats or refined oat flour to your bath to make a very relaxing soak that works to reduce rashes and dryness, even for those with severely sensitive skin.
There are few substances on the planet as nutritious as honey. As a natural antibacterial agent, it is ideal for acne, and it also offers a wide range of antioxidants to slow the aging process. Not only that, but honey also has an extremely dense nutritional profile that includes B complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin, and also minerals including copper, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc. Adding just ½ cup of warm honey to your bath instantly turns a simple soak into a restorative spa session. Plus, your skin will be touched with the taste of sweet honey.
3. Epsom Salt
If you are suffering from common aches and pains of the muscles or joints, Epsom salts may do the trick. These salts contain naturally-occurring magnesium and sulfate used for thousand years as a natural remedy for skin problems, and for relaxing the muscles to ease tension.
There are many different types of clay that deliver skin benefits. You may have already heard about the ability of absorbent clays from nature to eliminate toxins, heavy metals, or excess sebum from the skin. And it’s all true. Here are five of the most popular clays for use in your bath: bentonite, Fuller’s Earth, kaolin, French green, and rhassoul clay.
5. Dried Herbs and Flowers
There are so many different plants that you can find out in nature to bring your bath water to life. Some of the most popular herbs to add for luminous skin include rosemary, rose petals, and lavender blooms. If you do not want to add whole herbs to your bath water, you can place them inside a tea bag, or herb infuser to get all of the aromatic benefits, without the floating plant matter.
Other Skin Care Tips for a Radiant Complexion
Your healthy skin is the first thing that people see when they look at you. And you want to take good care of it, at any age. So, in addition to soaking in these fabulous baths, follow these tips for proper skin care.
Get Great Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation knows the value of quality sleep. But do you? During sleep, your body does so much more than just rest. In fact, it is working hard as you get your ZZZ’s to repair vital stores of hormones, including HGH (human growth factor), to support the elasticity of your youthful skin.3 So, never skimp on sleep. Follow the recommendation of the National Sleep Foundation, and always get between 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep, every single night.4
Remove Makeup Properly
At night, your skin needs to breathe. So, don’t hold it back by allowing grime, dirt, and leftover make up around to clog your pores. Always remove your makeup with a gentle makeup remover, or just add some extra-virgin olive oil to a cotton swab, and gently pull the swab across your face to get rid of anything sticking inside of your pores.
Drink Plenty of Water
Every skin cell in your body contains water. And in order to keep your skin looking youthful, you’ll need to drink at least 8, 8-ounce glasses of filtered water every day. You may even want to drink more if you are exercising that day, or if you find yourself in a hot climate.
Always Apply an SPF
Today, the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has recommended only broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF (sunburn protection factor) of at least 15 to prevent damage to your skin.5 So, always apply a sunscreen with this protective level when you are outside to prevent skin damage.
Sweating is your skin’s way of removing toxins. So, go ahead, enjoy your next sweat session at the gym, on the track, on the yoga mat, or any other place that gets your heart pumping.
Turning Your Bath into a Spa Soak
You can take any bath time, and transform it into a spa experience. All you need are these 10 DIY bath add-ins.
Known for centuries to nourish skin, the gentle exfoliant properties of a milk bath also helps to shed dead skin cells and reveal luminous, more radiant skin. So, unleash your inner Cleopatra! And don’t forget to always take great care of your healthy skin, at every age.
Article updated: March 29, 2018
1. Brook I. Bacterial interference. Crit Rev Microbiol. 1999;25:155–72.
2. Gueniche A, Benyacoub J, Philippe D, Bastien P, Kusy N, Breton L. et al. Lactobacillus paracasei CNCM I-2116 (ST11) inhibits substance P-induced skin inflammation and accelerates skin barrier function recovery in vitro. Eur J Dermatol. 2010;20:731–7.
3. Y. Takahashi, D. M. Kipnis. Growth hormone secretion during sleep. J Clin Invest. 1968 Sep; 47(9): 2079–2090.
4. Sleep Health: The Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. February 2017.
5. “Sunscreen And Sun Protection”. Fda.gov. N.p., 2017. Web. 1 May 2017.