Is Milk Good for Skin? Milk Benefits and Risks

Is Milk Good for Skin? Milk Benefits and Risks

It depends on who you ask - literally. The scientific community is divided, and beauty bloggers are going both ways. So, what's the deal? Is milk good or bad for your skin?

Milk is highly nutritious. It's rich in B-vitamins, alpha hydroxy acids, calcium, lactic acid, and other potent antioxidants that aid your skin's complexion and overall health. But it's also true that milk and dairy products contain growth hormones and inflammatory substances that clog your pores and cause acne.

But this depends on many factors, like whether you're drinking it or applying it topically. Are you maybe lactose intolerant or have sensitive, acne-prone skin? If you're confused, let's try to clarify it.

Drinking Milk

milk and coffee

Let's examine the effects of drinking milk. While recent studies imply that this drink can have harmful consequences on the body, other research points out the health benefits of milk.

Benefits of Drinking Milk

Rich Nutritional Profile

If you consume only milk daily, it can satisfy 18 out of 22 essential nutrients. Impressive is a small word when it comes to describing the benefits of milk. It's rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. It also provides iron, selenium, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, vitamin K, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin and has been linked to collagen production. It has it all, especially nutrients lacking in many other foods, making it even more valuable.  

Boosting the Immune System

milk and vitamins

Raw milk can have a huge impact on your immune system. Because it's a great source of many vitamins, zinc, and enzymes and contains beneficial bacteria, it can prime your immune system and can reduce allergies.

Getting Enough Protein

One of the best benefits of milk is that you don't need to worry about getting enough protein - in just one cup, you'll get as much as 8 grams.

There are two types of protein found in milk - casein and whey protein. Casein makes up 70–80% of the total protein content of milk, while whey accounts for around 20%. Because both of these proteins have all the essential amino acids necessary for the body to function, they're considered "complete proteins." With these nutritional values, milk helps promote muscle repair after exercise.

Keeping the Bones Strong and Healthy  

milk bath

Many studies have confirmed that milk improves weight and bone density in children. It's a well-known fact, so it comes as no surprise that experts advise adding dairy to the diet of preteen children - on a daily basis!

As mentioned above, milk has a high protein profile, which ensures those who drink it will make their teeth and bones stronger. Additionally, milk is commonly praised as a powerful weapon for preventing bone diseases like osteoporosis.

Negative Side Effects of Drinking Milk

High in Saturated Fats

milk and cookies

All those diverse nutrients don't come without a downside, though - you can find more than 20% of the recommended daily allowance of fat content in just one serving of whole milk. Yes, this is a big thumbs-down for milk.

Read the labels well because some milk brands can have even more artificial sugar and fats than other brands. Milk-derived products, like cheese, are even worse.
Harvard came out with a report that states pizza and cheese as the top source of saturated fat and cholesterol in the average American diet. Milk is second on the list.

Weight Gain


Saturated fats go hand in hand with obesity, even though this claim is still considered a little controversial. Milk is promoted as a healthy product by the dairy industry, but now researchers believe it may cause weight gain, especially if you consume it at night. Whether this is due to the milk itself or the additional habits that night drinkers have, which can lead them to higher calorie intake, is still debatable.

It's also worth mentioning that not all kinds of milk are the same. Whole milk has the highest content of fats and calories, while skim milk has the lowest.


A single serving of milk can contain as much as 24 mg of bad cholesterol. According to the AHA (American Heart Association), milk can increase the risk of heart disease and strokes. This is because whole milk is filled with saturated fats, increasing the "bad" cholesterol, which then contributes to heart disease.

So, if you are worried about your cholesterol, try a plant-based alternative to milk.

Antibiotics and Hormones


Growth hormones are approved for use in dairy cows as a means to improve their milk production. This is why milk is linked to hormonal acne, and why drinking milk can be bad for acne-prone skin. Bovine somatotropin (rBGH) is probably the most commonly used growth hormone on dairy farms.

Although the human body has no receptors for rBGH, which makes it safe for consumption, cows treated with rBGH have slightly higher concentrations of  IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), which can be problematic when consumed by humans.

Antibiotics aren't supposed to be used in milk production. However, when a cow gets sick, it's treated with antibiotics. As long as the cow is under medical care, it should not be used for milk. There's some debate over whether this rule is actually enforced.

Prostate and Ovarian Cancer

In recent years, a number of studies have emerged linking milk consumption with prostate and ovarian cancer. This is because milk and dairy products carry micronutrients and various bioactive constituents that may impact cancer risk and progression.

However, dairy products are a varied group of foods, and their production changes by region, making evaluating their association with disease risk difficult. Studies that find a positive link between milk and certain types of cancer have inconsistent or lacking data.

Lactose Sensitivity

upset stomach

A number of surveys have established that around 60-70% of the American population is lactose intolerant or lactose sensitive. It's not surprising when you think about it.

The lactose found in milk (even human milk) is digested in our bodies by the enzyme called lactase. This enzyme is produced by animals and humans while they are still babies and children. Our DNA is programmed to shut down the process of making lactase when we reach a certain age since we don't need it anymore.

This is why no other animal drinks milk past their weaning age. Humans are the only species that continue to drink milk in their adult life. For many of us, our body has given up on milk a long time ago.

But don't worry! Today there are many tasty alternatives, like
almond milk.

Milk Alternatives

almond milk

Whether it's for your skin, your overall health, or any other reason, there are many milk alternatives you can try.

  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Oat milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Rice milk
  • Quinoa milk

Using Milk Topically

milk on face

Here's why so many facial masks use milk and why bloggers swear milk clear their skin, reduces blemishes, reduces signs of aging and damaged skin, and more.

Some people even swear by a milk bath, which can help to ease skin irritation.

Most of the side effects and concerns regarding milk and acne outbreaks can be successfully avoided if milk is applied topically. Using milk on your face will help eliminate acne-causing bacteria and give you glowing skin. It's also great for removing dead skin cells and gentle enough for sensitive skin.

Be careful, though - don't use milk if you think you might be lactose intolerant.

Homemade Facial Masks With Milk

Using Milk for Acne


Instead of using creams with artificial milk, soak a cotton ball in fresh milk and wipe your face with it. The milk will remove dead skin cells, help with uneven skin tone and dark spots, and make your skin soft and supple. Clean your face with warm water when you're done.

Raw Milk for Skin Whitening

The lactic acid in milk helps improve uneven skin tone and dark spots, especially if you have sensitive skin.

To lighten skin, mix equal amounts of milk and aloe vera gel, then soak a cotton ball in the mixture to place on the affected area. Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes. After washing with warm water, try a moisturizing cream. Practice this once a day to keep your facial skin healthy and lighten dark patches.

Milk and Honey


If you want soft, clean, and smooth skin, try this simple face mask using only two natural ingredients - milk and honey. Mix two tablespoons of honey with two tablespoons of milk. Heat the mixture for a few minutes - it needs to be lukewarm, not hot. Then, gently apply it to your neck and face and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Afterward, rinse with warm water.

This simple combination promotes skin elasticity, prevents the appearance of wrinkles, and tightens your face. Because of the protein, lactic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin D, this facial mask is an excellent remedy for aging and dry skin.

Facial Mask out of Bananas and Milk

Take half a banana (you can also use the banana peel for some facial masks) and some facial masks) and sprinkle it with a tablespoon of milk. Mix them until you make a thick paste. Apply the mixture to your face and let it work for 15-20 minutes. After, wash your face with lukewarm water. Your face will return to its natural blush - without the use of makeup!

Honey, Cocoa, and Milk

cocoa and milk

If you struggle with dry skin, this homemade mask is perfect for you. Mix one tablespoon of cocoa and honey - and then add milk. Apply it and leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse it first with warm water and then with cold water. Get back your skin's moisture in no time.

Yeast and Milk

Mix half a fresh yeast with a little milk until you blend well and get a paste. First, wash your face with warm water and then apply the mixture - keep it on until it dries. Second, remove the mask with warm water and gently rub the face in circular movements. Do it again with cold water. Wipe your face with a soft, cotton cloth.

Regular use of this mask will give you glowing skin.

If you'd rather stick to trusted skincare options, skip the milk bath and try Misumi's Blemish Clear Body Wash. Misumi's Clear Skin Duo Kit, with its anti-inflammatory properties, also does wonders for acne-prone and damaged skin.


Can the right diet get rid of acne?

Lactose intolerance

The Nutrition Source

Dairy Intake and Acne Vulgaris

Back to blog

Items You May Like