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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The world's cheapest and best facial is right under your nose

Raise your hand if you would put breast milk on your face.

A few hands shot up. Many made well-I -never faces. A few of you looked around to see if anyone was watching, and pushed your hand up slowing toward the sky.

There are women out there who swear by the benefits of breast milk…for their faces.

A little over 70-percent of Pennsylvania babies in 2013 were breastfed at some point, which means over 70-percent of 2013 Pennsylvania moms had or have Clearasil and Eucerin on tap--that's the thought, at least.

The bacterium Propionibacterium acnes is regarded as a primary cause of acne, thus the use of antibiotics in its treatment. People exposed to antibiotics long-term can become resistant to their effects--a big problem--which is where breast milk could come in.

Breastfed babies have fewer ear infections, lower respiratory illnesses, stomach bugs and meningitis because of the antibodies passed on from mom. Though not exactly their intended target, these same tiny biological soldiers are responsible for fighting bacteria that contributes to acne when applied topically, to to the skin.

That discovery alone seems sufficient to explain breast milk's effect on acne, but breast milk carries even more porcelain skin punch.

Lactoferrin, which is the form in which iron is transferred from mother to baby, is thought to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects unto itself.

Last is the heavy-hitter lauric acid.

Lauric acid is a naturally-occurring fatty acid found in coconut and palm oils, with coconut oil being the most concentrated source. It's anti-microbial properties are known, which is why this substance is used by pharmaceutical companies to prepare antimicrobial drugs.

Specific to skin, lauric acid was found to decrease the amount of P. acnes on mouse models.

That explains why breast milk is akin to Clearasil, but what about the Eucerin component?

Eucerin is one of the lotions recommended for those suffering from eczema due to its skin-drenching qualities and the gentleness of its ingredients. It's rather pricey, which is worth it to those in need, but what if you could avoid the cost?

About 50-percent of infants (up to one year old) are affected by eczema.

Studies have shown the topical use of breast milk to be effective in the prevention and treatment of some sores associated with eczema.

What is even more interesting are the fine people at the National Institutes of Health who compared the use of breast milk to hydrocortisone 1-percent ointment. At zero, seven, 14 and 21 days, the two treatments had the same effects on the group of infants studied.

Plain english: The store-bought stuff (that carries some risks, especially for children) was no better than the use of breast milk, at least in this study.

It's as cheap. It's clean, natural and moisturizing. It's free of all the chemicals that are so hotly contested, some of which are actually damaging to skin.

The only hang-up is one of cultural norms.

Get over it.

Very important disclaimers: Infectious diseases can be transferred through breast milk. As always, talk to your doctor before discontinuing a treatment prescribed by their brilliant minds and many years of schooling.