You've probably heard breast milk referred to as a “liquid gold” that can be used for baby ailments such as skin irritations, blocked tear ducts and diaper rash. You may have even, like me, squirted some on minor scratches or your little one’s acne. Hey, Kim Kardashian even used some of her sister Kourtney’s milk for her psoriasis. Well, a new spa in Chicago is taking it one step (squirt?) further by offering breast milk facials.
You read that right.
Shama Patel, owner of MUD Facial Bar, said that after hearing about the benefits of breast milk—namely, that the lauric acid it contains can help acne—she thought it would be a great treatment to offer clients. Patel gets her stash from screened donors to a breast milk bank in the Chicago area. The donors are aware their milk is going to a spa. The facial, which costs $50 and is advertised for sensitive skin, features a mixture of breast milk and mud that is massaged onto the face with glass balls. "I really wanted to come up with something that is quick, effective, that appealed to the urban city girl," Patel said in an interview with Fox 32 News.
Perhaps the "urban city girls" in Chicago are so keen on dealing with their skin issues that they don’t mind rubbing someone else's boob juice on their face. But I, for one, wouldn’t be able to get over the fact that there are babies in intensive care units all across North America who desperately need breast milk to survive—not to mention all those milk banks begging for donations. Breast milk also carries transmittable diseases such as herpes, HIV and can contain other harmful bacteria. The British Medical Journal is calling for health watchdogs to regulate the selling of breast milk online after recent studies highlighted some of the risks of infection. Even for this breast milk fan, the yuck factor of smearing someone else’s milk on my sensitive skin is too high to ignore.
The buzzy facial isn't the first bizarre use of mother's milk. Others include:
Breastmilk for muscle growth: There's been chatter on bodybuilding forums that men are buying breast milk via Craigslist to take as a supplement. Since breast milk is considered an almost-perfect food packed with nutrients that encourage growth, muscle heads are chugging it in hopes that it's their fast track to a hard body. One BC woman charges gym rats about $2 an ounce for her extra milk.
Breast milk jewellery: MommyMilk Creations turns small amounts of breast milk into beads and small pendants. I suppose wearing breast milk jewellery could be seen as an upgrade from the barf stains and leakage spots that I once sported.
Breast milk ice cream: In London, you can visit Icecreamists in Covent Garden and order a "Baby Gaga" ice cream that's served to you in a martini glass by a Lady Gaga lookalike.
Breast milk lollypops: Lollyphile sells breast milk suckers to soothe your young one. While it doesn’t contain actual breast milk, their flavour specialists did try 40 breast milk samples to get the taste just right.
Breast milk as art: Performance artists are using breast milk as a statement in radical feminist acts—and perhaps as a bit of a marketing ploy. Artistic takes include a public milk van, public tastings and breast milk cheese.
I won't be running out to try breast milk as a frozen dessert, nor do I think the trend of breast milk facials will really catch on. But if you're searching for a way to use its magical properties on your skin, here's a recipe for a homemade breast milk lotion. In the meantime, if you do have extra breast milk, consider donating it to a bank for babies in need.
Emma Waverman is a writer, blogger and mom to three kids. She has many opinions, some of them are fit to print. Read more of her articles here and follow her on Twitter @emmawaverman.