It depends on who you ask - literally. The scientific community is divided, and beauty bloggers are going both sides. 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, and other potent antioxidants that aid skin’s complexion as well as 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. This depends on many factors like, whether you are drinking it, or applying it topically? Are you maybe lactose intolerant, or have sensitive, acne-prone skin? If you’re even more confused now, let’s try to clear it up a bit.
Let’s examine the effects of drinking milk. While recent studies imply that milk can have harmful consequences on the body, other research points out the health benefits of dairy.
Consuming only milk on a daily basis can satisfy 18 out of 22 essential nutrients. 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. Impressive is a small word when it comes to describing the nutritional profile of milk. It has it all, especially nutrients that are lacking in many other foods, which makes it even more valuable.
Raw organic 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.
If you are drinking milk, then you don’t need to worry about getting enough protein. In just one cup you will get as much as 8 grams of quality protein. 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 these proteins have all the essential amino acids necessary for the body to function, they’re considered “complete proteins”. With these nutritional values, milk is a great way to promote muscle repair after exercise.
Many studies have confirmed by now 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 in the diet of preteen children - on a daily basis! As mentioned above, milk has a high protein profile, which makes it perfect for building strong bones and teeth. Additionally, milk is commonly praised as a powerful weapon for preventing bone diseases like osteoporosis.
All those diverse nutrients don’t come without a downside though - you can find more than 20% of the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat in just one serving of whole milk. Yes, a big thumbs down for milk. And, be careful - read the labels well, because some milk brands can have even more sugar and fats artificially added to them, 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 American diet. Milk is second on the list.
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, although now researchers believe it may cause weight gain, especially if you are in the habit of consuming it at night. Whether this is due to the milk itself or the additional habits night-drinkers have, which can lead them to higher calorie intake, is still open to debate. It’s also worth to mention that not all kinds of milk are the same. Whole milk has the highest content of fats and calories, while skim milk 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 your risk of heart disease and stroke. This is because whole milk is filled with saturated fats, and they increase the "bad" cholesterol, which then contributes to heart disease. So, if you are worried about your cholesterol, the best option is to try a plant-based alternative to milk.
If you’ve been concerned about this, you are not the first one. Growth hormones are approved for use in dairy cows as a means to improve their milk production. This is why milk is many times linked to hormonal acne. 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 that are treated with rBGH have slightly higher concentrations of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), which can be problematic when consumed (albeit indirectly) by humans. Antibiotics, on the other hand, are not allowed and are not 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. Is this rule enforced? There are controversies, but nothing is sure.
In recent years, a number of studies have emerged linking milk consumption with prostate and ovarian cancer. Milk and dairy products carry micronutrients and various bioactive constituents that may impact cancer risk and progression. But dairy products are a varied group of foods and their production changes by region, which makes the evaluation of their association with disease risk difficult. By now the studies that find a positive link between milk and certain types of cancer mostly consist of a small number of cohort studies, and data is inconsistent or lacking.
This is the most real concern that you should be aware of. 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 (all milk not just cows - 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 also the reason why no other animal drinks milk past their weaning age. Humans are the only species that continue to drink milk in their adult life. We may like it, it might be amazingly nutritious, but 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 for example almond milk. You don’t have to miss out on anything.
Whether it’s for your skin, your overall health, or any other reason, here are the alternatives you can pick from if you decide to go off milk for a while.
Finally, we get to clarify why so many facial masks use milk, and why bloggers swear they used milk to clear and nourish their skin.
Most of the side-effects and concerns regarding milk and acne-outbreaks can be successfully avoided if you use milk topically, instead of drinking it. This way, your skin can benefit from the impressive nutritional profile of milk, and you can always satisfy your appetite with some of the tasty milk alternatives. Be careful though, don’t use milk if you think you might be lactose intolerant.
Instead of using creams with artificial milk in it to clean your face, soak a little cotton in fresh milk and wipe your face with it. You will clearly see traces of dirt on it. The milk will clean your pores and make your skin soft and supple. Clean your face with warm water when you’re done.
Lactic acid definitely helps with whitening, especially if you have sensitive skin. Mix equal amounts of raw milk and aloe vera gel, then soak a cotton ball in the mixture and place the cotton on the affected area, allow it to sit on the face for 10-15 minutes. After washing with warm water, put a moisturizing cream. Practice this procedure once a day.
If you want an easy way to make your skin soft and clean try this simple recipe using only 2 ingredients - milk, and honey. Mix two tablespoons of honey with two tablespoons with milk. Heat the mixture for a few minutes - it needs to be lukewarm, not hot. Gently apply it on your neck and face with your fingers and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Afterward, rinse with warm water. This simple combination prevents the appearance of wrinkles and tightens your face. Because of the protein, lactic acid, vitamins A and D, this facial mask is an excellent remedy for aging and dry skin.
Take half a banana (you can also use the banana peel for some facial masks) and sprinkle it with a tablespoon of milk. Mix them until you make a thick paste. Apply the mixture on your face and let it work for 15-20 minutes. After, wash your face with warm water. Your face will return its natural blush - without the use of makeup!
If you struggle with dry skin this homemade mask will be perfect for you. Mix one tablespoon of cocoa, honey, and milk. Apply it on your face and hold it for 20 minutes. Rinse it first with warm water then with cold water. With this mask, you will get back the moisture in your skin in no time.
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 while massaging the face in circular movements and then again with cold water. Wipe your face with a soft, cotton cloth. Regular use of this mask will give your face a constant shine.