Commercial bath products and DIY concoctions may include powdered milk. The milk works in tandem with other ingredients, such as essential oils and Epsom salts, to create a bath that sufficiently nourishes and cleanses the skin. The powder used in this bath milk does not spoil as quickly as liquid milk, and may be derived from cows, goats, or coconuts. Benefits of using this kind of milk in the bath include emollients and additional vitamins, which may improve the way skin looks and feels.
Mass-produced bath milk is often available in drugstores, salons, and boutiques. In these products, powdered milk is usually combined with ingredients like water, fragrance, and extracts, such as honey or vanilla, that nourish the skin. Sulfates may also be used to create foam or bubbles, and preservatives may be added to prolong shelf life. These products may be marketed with emphasis on the proteins and vitamins present in the milk. Some store-bought products may be called bath milk even when milk is not an ingredient. Some manufacturers may use artificial moisturizers to create an appearance similar to milk.
Homemade bath milk is typically made when when sulfates and preservatives are not desired, or if commercial products are too costly. Powdered milk can be purchased from beauty supply wholesalers, or at some health food stores. The milk can be combined with various essential oils, depending on the desired fragrance. Baking soda or Epsom salts can also be used to create a bath that foams slightly and cleanses the skin.
Sometimes fresh, liquid milk may be used in the bath. This should only be for one-time use, since fresh milk will not keep when combined with oils. Whole milk is usually recommended, since it is the most moisturizing, and organic milk should be used since the antibiotics present in regular milk may irritate the skin.
The lactic acid and fat in the milk moisturizes the skin when liquid milk is used, so it protects skin from dryness and irritation due to weather or allergies. The acid also serves as a natural exfoliant, buffing away old skin cells to reveal more vibrant skin. Animal proteins present in cow's or goat's milk also hydrate the skin, as do vitamins A and B12. Additionally, the soft texture and creamy appearance of bath milk may help the bather feel calm and relaxed. Thick, smooth milk is an ideal carrier for other beneficial ingredients, such as essential oils or extracts, that may be added to the mixture and used in the bath.