Could Breastmilk be the Cure for Acne?

Human Milk Photographed © 2008, Danelle Day

Those who have long used breastmilk for its unmatched medicinal qualities already know that human milk works wonders on acne. Breastmilk contains natural, living components, making it one of the best face moisturizers. Today, medical research venues have started to take steps toward capitalizing on such components -- only not using human milk, but just one component of that milk, lauric acid, which is also found in coconuts.

We have to wonder if we have it all figured out when it comes to acne treatments, human milk, and this new coconut oil substitute? Or if maybe there remain other components of the liquid gold that is human milk -- the glyconutrients, white blood cells, omega-3 fatty acids, etc. -- that work in conjunction with lauric acid to heal acne prone skin (and other maladies).

By Andrew Houghfor the Telegraph

American scientists found that a component of breastmilk, called lauric acid, which also is found in coconut oil, has acne-fighting qualities.

They found the new treatment has no side effects because it comes from natural products unlike current available treatments which can cause redness and burning.

Researchers behind the project hope to begin human trials on a new face cream soon that could tackle the problem that hits millions of teenagers every year.

They have been able to avoid some of the more arduous restrictions to get approval for testing because the product will be created from natural or already approved ingredients.

Dissaya Pornpattananangkul, a bioengineering postgraduate student from the University of California made the discovery that lauric acid could save face for millions of teenagers around the world.

She described the findings as exciting which could give hope to millions of teenagers.

"It's a good feeling to know that I have a chance to develop a drug that could help people with acne," she said. "Common acne afflicts more than 85% of teenagers and over 40 million people in the United States; and current treatments have undesirable side effects including redness and burning. Lauric-acid-based treatments could avoid these side effects."

Pornpattananangkul also developed a sophisticated "smart delivery system" for the lauric acid to be effective.

She was able to bind the acid with "gold nanoparticles" which stops the lauric acid from joining together while in cream form, and then allows it to separate quickly when applied to the skin.

"The new smart delivery system includes gold nanoparticles attached to surfaces of lauric-acid-filled nano-bombs," she said. "The gold nanoparticles keep the nano-bombs or liposomes from fusing together. The gold nanoparticles also help the liposomes locate acne-causing bacteria based on the skin microenvironment, including pH."

Professor Liangfang Zhang, from the university's Jacobs School of Engineering, who also helped with the research, said the new methods target acne, reducing the risk of side effects. "Precisely controlled nanoscale delivery of drugs that are applied topically to the skin could significantly improve the treatment of skin bacterial infections," he said. "By delivering drugs directly to the bacteria of interest, we hope to boost antimicrobial efficacy and minimise off-target adverse effects. All building blocks of the nano-bombs are either natural products or have been approved for clinical use, which means these nano-bombs are likely to be tested on humans in the near future."

Pornpattananangkul, originally from Thailand, said that it's just a coincidence that her research involves a natural product produced by coconuts - a staple of Thai cuisine.

She presented her work on this experimental acne-drug-delivery system at Research Expo, the annual research conference of the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering on April 15.

Related Reading:

The Medicinal Uses of Breastmilk

More Ways to Use Breastmilk

[Note: Human milk should always first and foremost be given to the human babies it is intended for - via nursing and/or donation to those in need. However, mothers who find themselves with excess frozen milk that can no longer be donated, an over abundant supply, or the ability to express/pump as much as desired, may benefit from the wide variety of ways that human milk heals, protects, and can be used.]

Breastfeeding mothers are welcome to join the Breastfeeding Group:

More ways to use human milk in the diet:

Breastmilk Popsicles

Mother's Milk Cheese


  1. wow, why didnt I think of using my milk on my face? thanks for the idea :)

  2. I've tried it, my face has never looked better...and its free :)

  3. I wonder how many people will be all "Ewww breastmilk" yet be happy to use facecream with foreskin in it ;)

  4. foreskin face cream?!?!!!!


  6. I didn't like the language used to describe this new 'drug'. Seemed a long way from the natural miracle that is breastmilk to the [single component of interest] being made into "nano bombs" selectively targeting "bacteria of interest".... and anyway, where are they getting their milk from?? (if indeed the product contains breastmilk - wouldn't that suggest some baby somewhere is missing out?)

  7. Molly -

    The Foreskins in Oprah's Facecream

    Stealing Foreskins: The Science of Skin Grafting

  8. Wow this is awesome! Who knew breastmilk could have benefits beyond infant nutrition... I am going to try this one for sure.

  9. This reminds me of a mom in my La Leche League group. Her husband has psoraisis. She decided to do an experiment, prescription cream on one arm, breastmilk on the other. Guess which turned out better-the breastmilk one!!

  10. this is very interesting, I wonder what effects if any breastmilk would have on roseacea (sp?)

  11. This was the only thing that worked for me. Thank you so much!



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