Is Breast Milk Good for Psoriasis? | MyPsoriasisTeam

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Is Breast Milk Good for Psoriasis?

Medically reviewed by Kevin Berman, M.D., Ph.D.
Posted on February 22, 2023

As with many chronic (ongoing) conditions, people with psoriasis sometimes look to natural treatments for relief. Some have wondered about the potential benefits of using breast milk as a topical skin treatment, especially after celebrity Kim Kardashian discussed her experience using this remedy.

One member of MyPsoriasisTeam asked, “I’m sitting here fresh out of a bath with Epsom salt and lathered up with coconut oil wondering if any of you follow Kim Kardashian. Did any of you know she has this same disease? I’m curious how she deals with it, and have you ever tried (for instance) the breast milk idea?”

Research on Breast Milk and Skin Conditions

Human breast milk contains various properties with potential uses beyond infant nutrition. Researchers have pointed to breast milk’s unique characteristics, including the stem cells it contains and its antimicrobial (bacteria-destroying) effects for a range of health problems. Some studies have shown that human milk offers healing benefits for the skin, particularly skin that’s wounded during breastfeeding.

Depending on the diet of the mother, breast milk may contain vitamins that are beneficial to the skin. Breast milk also contains some anti-inflammatory acids that could potentially help restore the barrier of the skin. However, these benefits have not been proven to help psoriasis.

There’s also pediatric research on the application of breast milk for atopic dermatitis (the most common type of eczema) and diaper rash in infants, but the results are mixed. Some studies suggest a minor benefit, whereas others show no added benefits.

No conclusive studies have been documented on the topical use of breast milk for psoriasis. However, some members of MyPsoriasisTeam have shared their thoughts on this home remedy.

Hearing From MyPsoriasisTeam Members

It’s always a good idea to run a new psoriasis treatment idea by your health care provider, particularly if it’s a natural or alternative product. MyPsoriasisTeam members report trying different natural remedies, like manuka honey, for their psoriasis. Connecting with others on MyPsoriasisTeam who have the same skin disease can give you insight and new ideas to discuss with your dermatologist.

For example, one MyPsoriasisTeam member responded to the above message about applying breast milk to the skin: “I have tried the breast milk idea, but it did not work for me.”

In another thread, a different member broached the topic again: “I know this is going to be weird and even gross for some. However, my mom’s friend suggested rubbing breast milk on my affected skin. I was leery in the beginning, but now I am happy I did it. The breast milk is helping control flakiness and redness. It even takes away the itchiness. … I still have flare-ups, but it is helping.”

Trying Breast Milk on the Skin

Human breast milk contains immune cells, and it’s well established that breastfeeding helps support a developing baby’s immune system. However, it’s unclear if these same benefits apply when breast milk is used topically — especially on the skin of an adult — to treat a specific autoimmune problem like psoriasis. (An autoimmune condition is when the body’s immune system thinks its healthy tissues are foreign and attacks them.)

Raw Breast Milk

The ingredients that make breast milk beneficial for an infant are present in raw breast milk. When sourcing breast milk, know that — unlike dairy milk — human breast milk is not always pasteurized, so there’s a risk that it contains viruses and pathogens (tiny living organisms that can make you sick). If you’re lactating and want to try applying breast milk to areas of your skin affected by psoriasis, there’s less of a risk of passing diseases than if you obtained breast milk from an outside source.

Breast Milk Soaps and Lotions

Options for trying breast milk on your skin include the use of soap or lotion. Breast milk is high in fat and could work well for making a creamy soap. You might want to experiment with soap containing breast milk, which may help relieve your psoriasis symptoms. It’s marketed as a natural and nourishing skin care product.

Although more scientific studies are needed, breast milk seems to help soothe skin and relieve itching. If you want to give it a try and use your own breast milk, remember that fresh is best, as opposed to frozen.

If you’re not lactating and are curious about this treatment — or you don’t have the time or inclination to make soap — you can buy breast milk soap online. As with any new product, you’ll want to do a patch test first, especially if you have sensitive skin. This test will determine whether you will have a reaction to the product.

Breast milk lotion may also help ease psoriasis symptoms. The guidelines are the same as for breast milk soap — do a patch test to see if this new product causes a reaction. If you are lactating, you can try making breast milk lotion at home. You’ll need a thickening agent such as shea butter and an essential oil. You can look online for ideas and recipes.

Talk With Your Doctor

Anyone considering breast milk as a topical treatment for psoriasis should use caution because of the risk of infection when using unpasteurized milk from another person.

For active flare-ups, talk to your dermatologist about safe and effective treatment options, like phototherapy or corticosteroids, rather than trying unproven remedies and risking side effects.

Although breast milk has many beneficial properties, its ability to help with the treatment of psoriasis has yet to be proved by science.

Find Your Team

MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people with psoriasis and their loved ones. On MyPsoriasisTeam, more than 115,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with psoriasis.

Have you been curious about using breast milk for psoriasis? Do you have questions about other home remedies? Add to the conversation by sharing your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.

    Posted on February 22, 2023
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    Kevin Berman, M.D., Ph.D. is a dermatologist at the Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
    Anastasia Climan, RDN, CDN is a dietitian with over 10 years of experience in public health and medical writing. Learn more about her here.
    Amy Oravec is a copy editor and writer at MyHealthTeam and is based in Philadelphia. Learn more about her here.

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