Your Favorite Childhood Drink May Soon Be Your Favorite Skincare Ingredient

If you had a DIY skincare phase as a teenager — for example, using toothpaste on a pimple — there's a chance you used kitchen ingredients on your face as well. In your favorite DIY masks were ingredients and foods like baking soda, honey, apple cider vinegar, and fruits, such as lemons. They were not only delicious but also made you feel like you were making your skin look better, even though they have little to no benefit on the skin. 

While many of the DIYs we used as teenagers for our stubborn acne or hyperpigmentation were not the best for skin (via Healthline), there is one drink from your childhood that not only brightens your skin but also has anti-aging properties. The drink has had a long history of being in our lives, from birth to the dining table, and in international trade (via Britannica And other than filling you up and giving you strong bones and teeth, it may now become a staple in your skincare routine, too, as it has remained so over the course of civilization (via Naturane Cosmetics). From Cleopatra's bath in 51 B.C. to 21st century beauty products based on it, here's the skincare ingredient you never knew you needed.

Milk is great for moisturizing and exfoliating

You guessed it: the answer is milk. We never really outgrow milk, whether it's breast milk, milk out of the carton, or, now, milk in our skincare products. But why is milk so popular in skincare? The answer lies in its nutrients. The nutrients present in milk make it capable of deeply hydrating and moisturizing your skin. Rich in oils, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), and biotin (vitamin B7), milk also leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth. The real powerhouse in milk is its AHA, lactic acid, which is both hydrating and exfoliating (via WedMD). This is why the acid is the main ingredient in many hydrating toners. Lactic acid gently exfoliates the skin to reveal a smoother, more even complexion.

Along with lactic acid present in the drink, some forms of dairy milk also contain small amounts of vitamin C (via Milk Facts). As dermatologist Patricia Wexler, M.D., explains, vitamin C is an antioxidant by nature and improves the appearance of skin by tackling free radicals and aiding your skin's healing process (via Allure).

Milk is great for sensitive skin and skin conditions

While people with normal or combination skin may find it relatively easy to shop for skincare products, those with dry and sensitive skin usually have a harder time figuring out what products work best for them. Thankfully, milk is a great skincare ingredient for all skin types, sensitive skin included. The lactic acid in milk is one alpha hydroxy acid that is most recommended by skincare experts to people with sensitive skin or certain skin conditions. Texas-based dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Vickers also confirms that milk does not only exfoliate gently but also contains fats that seal in moisture, keeping the skin deeply hydrated all day long (via Business Insider). 

Unlike other exfoliating and anti-aging ingredients like salicylic acid, lactic acid and vitamin D in milk are great for people with skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis who still want proper hydration without any further irritation or inflammation (via Kate Somerville). 

Milk is brightening and anti-aging

When it comes to brightening the skin, milk might not be the first ingredient anyone would think of. However, milk is not just great for moisturizing and improving skin texture but also for your complexion. Plus, it is an anti-aging ingredient, so who's to say it isn't a powerhouse?

By lifting off dead skin cells, milk reveals a brighter, more even layer of skin. Milk also contains small amounts of retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, and vitamin D. Retinol is well-known in skincare for reducing signs of aging which include wrinkles, fine lines, and brown spots. As for vitamin D, New York-based dermatologist, Dr. Rachel Nazarian, M.D., describes its action as an antioxidant that improves cell turnover and slows down the aging process, similar to the action of retinol (via Shape). The amount of retinol in milk might not be enough for any quick results but applying a milk mask regularly is sure to keep your skin glowing and smooth.