According to some experts, breast milk contains antibodies, it helps lower the risk of infection, and it's supposedly the ideal nutritional cocktail for growing babies. Obviously, opinions most likely will vary — as do the effects of this so-called natural elixir. Nevertheless, evidence of its many fine qualities has led some to wonder: can breast milk can be used to treat acne? Here's what experts say about this age-old remedy.
Does breast milk treat acne?
Breast milk possesses certain antibacterial properties that experts believe may clear up acne. According to Earth911, those properties are bolstered by the presence of lauric acid, which gives breast milk a rumored ability to fight acne. Research has also shown that breast milk has antiseptic properties that can heal minor cuts, soothe burns, and even heal diaper rash, according to Mayo Clinic.
How can I use breast milk to treat acne?
There are several ways in which you can use breast milk to treat and prevent future acne breakouts. Earth911 recommends washing your face with a mixture of breast milk and coconut oil, and letting it air dry. The added lauric acid in coconut oil helps enhance the effects of breast milk.
According to Lauren Wayne, the creator behind Hobo Mama, simply dabbing a little bit of breast milk onto her face twice a day has led to some success — but only in cases of very mild acne. The blog owner’s decision to try this method was based on a six-week study reported by The Telegraph that indicated promising results, and for the most part, it's proven to be sucessful.
Does breast milk work for baby acne?
According to Healthline, adults aren’t the only ones who suffer from acne. Baby acne is a common dermal ailment among infants, allegedly affecting 20 percent of all infants younger than 6 weeks. Babies’ pores clog easily, thanks to their very sensitive skin, but there might be more at work here than mere epidermal hygiene.
Current theories regarding this phenomenon place the blame on maternal hormones, which fluctuate wildly before birth and during breastfeeding. Ironically, breast milk might be a partial cause of the baby's acne, but it might also be the key to clearing it up.
According to Healthline, the same antimicrobial properties that can clear adult acne can be used to destroy the bacteria that cause baby acne as well. Breast milk can also act as an anti-inflammatory and reduce skin irritation. To use it, gently rub a clean finger or cotton ball dipped in breast milk onto the affected area on your baby's face several times a day, until the acne begins to heal on its own.
Of course, you may want to contact your doctor or pediatrician before using any sort of foreign substance on your skin or your infant's. In most cases, the milk you're using will likely be your own, so there shouldn't be any sort of complications, but it never hurts to get a second professional opinion, especially when it comes to your baby's well-being.