How Goat Milk Benefits Skin
In addition to being a great way to use up milk, there are many goat milk soap benefits.
Reading Time: 4 minutes
With the holidays upon us and the end of the milking season approaching for many dairy goat owners, now is the perfect time to think about using that precious milk in skincare products. There are so many ways goat milk benefits skin and you can easily put it into many fun-to-make skincare products. I like to freeze my late season goat milk as it becomes more difficult to make cheese with. As the days get shorter and the does’ hormonal changes make the milk less reliable for cheesemaking, that frozen milk is perfect for making make soaps, lotions, and other goat milk skin products for the holidays. What a great handmade gift for your family and friends and there are plenty of opportunities for making money with goat milk soap and skincare products, too!
How does goat milk benefit skin?
While all milks have moisturizing properties, goat milk is particularly good because it:
- contains a high content of alpha-hydroxy acids which helps cleanse and soften skin;
- has a pH level that is closest to our own skin, making it gentle and skin-loving;
- has a fat molecule content that reduces skin inflammation;
- has a high level of vitamins D, C, B1, B6, B12, and E, that feed the skin and are absorbed into the body;
- is effective for treating acne because of its anti-bacterial properties.
And in general, handcrafted soaps are just better than commercial soaps because:
- they don’t contain harsh chemicals and petroleum products that can irritate the skin;
- they don’t contain alcohol which can dry the skin;
- the glycerin that is produced during saponification, which has deep moisturizing benefits, is left in the handmade soap but usually removed from commercial soap for use in other products.
Making handcrafted soap goes back at least 4,500 years with the earliest recorded soap makers being Sumerian textile mill workers who were working with wool which contains lanolin fats. These fats combined with ash to create the chemical reaction saponification which is the basis of soapmaking. Later, there were ruins of an extensive soap factory found in Pompeii, Italy. But it wasn’t until the 13th century that the soap industry was introduced in France and not until the 1500s that it came to England.
In Colonial America, soapmaking was a household task and it was made by saturating hardwood ash in rainwater to create lye and then combining that with rendered lard. Although Cleopatra was famous for her milk bath therapeutic treatments, it’s only been in the last 30 years that milk has been an increasingly popular ingredient in soap for its soothing and moisturizing qualities. And because goat milk benefits skin more than other milks, goat milk soaps have become a favorite of crafters and consumers.
There are three different ways you can make goat milk soap.
- Cold Process: This process actually generates quite a bit of heat but that heat is caused by the chemical reaction between the sodium hydroxide (lye) and the fats. The only external heat that is used is at the very beginning when you warm the oils. The chemical reaction, saponification, takes at least a month to complete with this method, so cold-processed soaps must cure before they are safe to use.
- Hot Process: This process involves cooking the lye and fats mixture to speed up the chemical reaction. Many people like this process because the soap can be used right away. It does make a softer bar of soap, though, which might dissolve more quickly in your shower.
- Melt-and-Pour: This is by far the quickest, easiest, and safest way to make “soap” but it’s not truly handcrafted real soap. Glycerin soap cubes, which can be purchased at a crafting store, are simply melted and poured into molds to make nice shapes. Since goat milk benefits skin, I often add a little goat milk to the melted cubes, along with some color and fragrance. This is a fun and easy process and particularly nice to do with kids because there is less risk involved than working with lye, a very harsh chemical.
It’s easy to learn how to make goat milk soap for the holidays. But there are more skincare products that can be made with goat milk than just soap. Making goat milk lotion is also quite popular. And there are many other simple recipes to get the nourishing qualities of goat milk into your own personal skincare regime or to make products to give or sell. Here are a few of my favorites:
- ½ cup baking soda
- ¼ cup sea salt
- 1 cup fresh goat milk (or 1/8 cup powdered goat milk if you want to make it for a gift)
Add the above ingredients to a warm bath.
(This is especially nice for sensitive or itchy skin)
- ½ cup finely ground oatmeal
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 cup fresh goat milk (or 1/8 cup powdered)
Add the above ingredients to a warm bath.
Simple Goat Milk Bubble Bath:
- 3 cups crafter’s bath gel or Castile soap base
- ½ cup pasteurized goat milk
- Several drops of fragrance or essential oil
Not only are homemade soaps and other goat milk skin products thoughtful and useful gifts, but the many goat milk skin benefits might turn your gift recipients into future customers!
Originally published in the November/December 2020 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.