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Milk has been used for centuries in beauty treatments. Picture designed by jcomp / Freepik.
There are many facial masks which can be made using milk. Picture designed by senivpetro / Freepik.

Get some milk out of your fridge and onto your dressing table for a nourishing touch to daily skincare, writes Meera Murugesan.

WE use milk almost every day — either in meals or as a healthy drink. But did you know that milk also plays a key role in helping you achieve beautiful skin?

Milk has the ability to promote healthy skin given its high nutritional content and, when used in skincare it helps to hydrate, exfoliate, soothe irritated skin and even out skin tone. Milk has been used in beauty treatments for ages. Cleopatra, the world’s most famous beauty, for example, regularly took milk baths.

Cleopatra was known for her radiant skin but instead of cow’s milk, she preferred donkey’s milk and used it to fill her daily bath. It helped prevent wrinkles and softened and brightened her skin and she apparently had 700 lactating donkeys on standby to meet her bathing needs!

History also notes that Poppaea Sabina, the second wife of Emperor Nero, was a fan of donkey’s milk. She was said to have washed her face seven times a day with the milk because she believed it would prevent wrinkles and maintain the fairness of her complexion.

But before you run off to round up some donkeys, here are some easier ways to incorporate milk into your daily skincare routine.

CLEANSING

If you’re not a fan of foamy facial cleansers which tend to leave skin feeling taut and dehydrated, milk is a good alternative. Milk as a cleanser is particularly good for soft, sensitive or dry skin as it is gentle way to cleanse despite its effectiveness. It can remove oil-soluble impurities from the face and, because it contains lactic acid, it also works as a natural exfoliant to remove dead skin cells. Massage or dab some milk onto your face and wipe off with a piece of cotton.

Raw milk can even help to clear skin of blackheads.

MOISTURISING

For dry flaky skin, one of the best remedies is to dab cold milk all over your face. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and then wash off with fresh water. This helps skin feel soft and look well-moisturised.

Milk is a good moisturiser because it contains water, fat and proteins and truly nourishes the skin. For even more ultimate hydration, add a mashed banana to a couple of tablespoons of milk. Apply this mixture to the face regularly to keep skin looking and feeling soft and hydrated.

FAIRNESS/ANTI-TANNING

Raw milk is said to be a natural whitening or fairness agent for the skin. When mixed with some honey and lemon juice and applied regularly, it can serve as a gentle and natural whitening solution for the face.

Milk helps skin look brighter because it is a natural exfoliant which removes dead skin cells. Raw milk mixed with sandalwood and made into a paste also acts as a natural fairness mask.

Alternatively, if you find your skin burnt after a bout in the sun, milk can be a good remedy because it is filled with antioxidants which help reduce inflammation while soothing skin. Just use a piece of facial cotton to apply some chilled milk to the area for quick relief.

ANTI-AGEING

Milk is a complete meal and it’s rich in enzymes, proteins, vitamins and minerals and all these help rejuvenate skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The lactic acid in milk stimulates collagen renewal which results in firmer, more youthful looking skin while its high protein and calcium content makes it a superfood for anti-ageing.

So whether you drink milk daily or use raw milk in your skincare routine, you will get the best anti-ageing benefits for your skin.

RADIANCE

Raw milk plays a key role in skin radiance because it has the ability to target two of the biggest beauty stumbling blocks — dark spots and acne. When used with sugar particles in facial treatments, raw milk can also add a wonderful glow to the face and reduce the signs of dryness.

Raw milk removes excess sebum from the face while, at the same time, prevent dryness so common skin problems like acne are reduced because skin is in balance.

MASK IT WITH MILK

THERE are many simple facial masks one can make at home using milk as the base. These can be used to target different beauty concerns — whether you want to hydrate, tone, firm, rejuvenate or brighten skin.

• INVIGORATING MASK

To perk up dull, tired looking skin, make a rejuvenating mask with two tablespoons milk and one tablespoon of honey — two very nourishing ingredients. Add some aloe vera and half a teaspoon of vitamin E oil to the mixture, make a paste and leave on for 30 minutes.

• ANTI-AGEING MASK

Milk and bananas are a great combination. Take two tablespoons of milk and add in a teaspoon of flaxseed oil and half a mashed banana. Apply the paste and leave on for 30 minutes. Do it regularly for youthful looking skin.

• BRIGHTENING MASK

Milk and lemon juice may seem an odd combination on your plate but not on your face. Mix equal parts of milk and lemon juice and apply on the face. This combination is believed to be effective in treating acne and pigmentation if used regularly.

• EXFOLIATING MASK

Two tablespoons each of milk and oatmeal coupled with some honey will give you not only a healthy breakfast but also a natural scrub that works just as well as store-bought ones, and be less abrasive too.

• ANTI-ACNE MASK

Simply add around two thirds of a tablespoon of Fuller’s Earth to some raw milk to form a thick paste to treat acne. But if you have dry skin, do remember to include some rose water into the mixture to hydrate skin.

• RADIANCE MASK

For glowing skin, add a pinch of turmeric and saffron to some raw milk and a little besan powder to thicken the mixture. This makes a simple radiance boosting mask for your face, using ingredients from your kitchen cupboard.

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