If you can gain nutrients and other health benefits from drinking milk, it might make sense to think bathing in it should do you just as much good. But that's not quite the case. Milk typically contains vitamins A, D and E, which are great for your body if you consume them in your diet. Many skin care products include these vitamins as key ingredients, too, but they're often used in a different form, such as vitamin derivatives. And, unfortunately, your skin won't be able to really absorb the vitamins in a milk bath and get these same benefits. Even so, that doesn't necessarily mean bathing in milk doesn't do your body any good.
A possible advantage to milk baths is that they may help to moisturize your skin. The fats and proteins found in milk -- particularly whole milk -- may help to hydrate skin and retain moisture after you step out. Just be sure to rinse off in clean water after your soak so that you're left with a soft, milky glow instead of a sticky milk residue.
Some health experts suggest milk baths may be used to help improve symptoms of some skin problems. Because of the moisturizing fats in milk, it may help to calm redness from a sunburn or to reduce some of the dryness and itching caused by skin conditions such as xerosis or eczema [source: WebMD]. However, if you are concerned about a skin condition that isn't clearing up, you should consult your dermatologist before trying to treat yourself with a milk bath.
The benefits of a milk bath don't stop at your skin -- the natural fats in milk may be good for your hair, too. Some recipes for at-home hair rinses call for milk as an ingredient to help condition dry, damaged strands. So, letting your hair soak during your time in the tub may help add some life back into it.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of milk baths and the options available for them, read on to see the links and articles below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Allemann, I. Bogdan; and L. Baumann. "Antioxidants Used in Skin Care Formulations: Vitamin E." Medscape. (Accessed Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/582103_2
- Ayushveda. "Benefits of a Milk Bath." July 15, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 16, 2009)http://www.ayushveda.com/womens-magazine/benefits-of-a-milk-bath/
- Bouchez, Colette. "Nutrients for Healthy Skin: Inside and Out." WebMD. Aug. 1, 2006. (Accessed Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/skin-nutrition?page=2
- Cosmetics and Toiletries Magazine. "Yogurt and Probiotics Nourish Healthy Skin with New Product Developments." March 27, 2007. (Accessed Sept. 16, 2009)http://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/formulating/category/skincare/6728291.html?page=1
- Cosmetics Database. "Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Oil." (Accessed Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ingredient/717910/CITRUS_AURANTIUM_AMARA_%28BITTER_ORANGE%29_OIL/
- Cosmetics Database. "Simmondsia Chinensis (Jobjoba) Seed Oil." (Accessed Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ingredient/705966/SIMMONDSIA_CHINENSIS_%28JOJOBA%29_SEED_OIL/
- Figueroa, Jessica. "Beauty News: We're Bursting with Berry-Scented Beauty Products." Self Magazine. Nov. 12, 2008. (Accessed Sept. 16, 2009)http://www.self.com/beauty/blogs/beyondthebeautypages/2008/11/beauty-news-were-bursting-with.html
- Lake, Jane. "Oatmeal Milk Bath Sachets." All Free Crafts. (Accessed Sept. 16, 2009)http://www.allfreecrafts.com/homemade-gifts/oatmeal-milk-bath.shtml
- My Yoga Online. "Lavender Milk Bath Recipe." (Accessed Sept. 16, 2009)http://www.myyogaonline.com/healthy_living_117_Lavender_Milk_Bath_Recipe.html
- Shape Magazine. "10 Natural Beauty Boosters." (Accessed Sept. 16, 2009)http://www.shape.com/beauty_and_style/spa/at_home_treatments/10_natural_beauty_boosters/p/page/2
- WebMD. "Sunburn." Aug. 10, 2005. (Accessed Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/sunburn?page=2