Should milk baths be part of your skincare routine?


If you spend time on Instagram or Pinterest, chances are you will have seen photos of milk baths. Pretty baths filled with opaque water, and floating flowers, just waiting to be sat in for a long relaxing soak. But why are milk baths a thing? And are they really a good idea? If you’re thinking about how you can create a milk bath at home, we’ve got you covered.

We’re looking into the benefits of milk baths, what they can do for your skin, and which milks are best to use. And we’ll also be digging deeper to figure out whether there’s a link between milk baths and yeast infections.

Are milk baths good for you?

Although milk baths are a pretty recent trend, people have been bathing in milk for centuries. Despite this, research from the scientific community on the topic is limited. That being said, the ingredients you use in your milk bath will each have their own host of benefits, which could help your skin when you soak in them. It is thought that milk baths could help relieve a range of skin complaints. According to Healthline, milk baths could help with:

  • Dry skin
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Sunburn

Whilst milk baths are generally safe – as long as you avoid any ingredients you might be allergic to – there is only anecdotal evidence that suggests your skin could benefit more from a milk bath than a regular bath.

Should I rinse after a milk bath?

You should absolutely rinse after your milk bath. Leaving milky residue on your skin could lead to irritation and bad odours, so take a few minutes after you’ve finished soaking to rinse off with a hydrating shower gel or soap. Here’s what your milk bath routine should look like:

  1. Draw a warm bath, and add in two-to-three cups of the milk of your choice. Add in some pretty flowers or petals if you want to be extra.
  2. Have a relaxing soak in your bath until the water starts to cool.
  3. Pull the plug on your bath, and shower off any milk residue. Use some hydrating body wash to maintain hydration levels.
  4. Get out of the bath, and lightly pat your skin dry with a towel to remove the bulk of the excess water.
  5. Apply body oil or lotion to seal in moisture.

You’ll also want to make sure you give your tub a good rinse after your milk bath to prevent it from getting sticky or smelling bad after a couple of days, especially if you’re using fresh milk.

What kind of milk do you use in a milk bath?

You can use all sorts of milks in your milk bath, but if you have sensitive skin, you may want to avoid ingredients that are high in lactic acid. Traditionally, milk baths would have used animal milks such as cow or goat’s milk, but we know that more and more people will be looking for dairy-free milk bath ideas instead. According to Very Well Health, these are the milk and milk alternatives you can use for your bath:

  • Whole milk: most milk baths you see online are made with cow’s milk because it’s affordable and easy to buy. If you drink cow’s milk and are not allergic to it, then using cow’s milk could be your best bet. You’ll want to look for a high-fat content to get the nicest feeling bath.
  • Goat’s milk: if you’re after a creamy bath, then goat milk’s high-fat content will be what you’re looking for.
  • Coconut milk: if you’re looking for a vegan option that will smell as good as it feels, then coconut milk is a fantastic option. 
  • Powdered milk: if you don’t have any fresh milk options to hand, you can use powdered milk instead. Just gradually add the powder as you draw the bath until you get the consistency you want.
  • Rice or soy milk: these dairy-free alternatives can also make great milk baths. You won’t get quite the same benefits as you would from cow or goat milk, but your skin will thank you all the same.

Can milk baths cause yeast infections?

As long as you take time to rinse well after your milk bath, you should be ok. However, if you have experienced yeast infections in the past, and it’s something you struggle with frequently, then using a milk bath may not be the best way for you to hydrate your skin. 

Bathing-specific products could be a good alternative. Several milk bath soaks, including Herbivore’s Coconut Bath Soak, are specifically formulated to be used in the bath and could be more gentle if you suffer from yeast infections. 

If you’re pregnant or have severe allergies, be sure to check with a healthcare provider before deciding to have a milk bath. 

The bottom line

Milk baths have been used for centuries and are believed to help hydrate your skin thanks to the nutrients and vitamins naturally found in milk and milk substitutes. You can easily tailor your milk bath to your preferences and create a relaxing bath time routine for yourself. Using oils and moisturizers after your bath will help you lock in moisture and keep your skin feeling hydrated for longer after your bath, too.