Many people are still washing their skin with soap made with water. Switching to soap made with goat milk can truly benefit your skin’s health. Goat milk soap is wonderful for people with dry or sensitive skin, or conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It is also perfect for healthy skin that wants to stay that way. Unprocessed goat milk fresh from the farm contains the following benefits.
1. Alpha Hydroxy Acids. Goat milk contains alpha-hydroxy acids such as lactic acid which help remove dead skin cells from your skin’s surface. This leaves new cells on the surface of your skin that are smoother and younger looking. The alpha-hydroxy acids are so effective because they break down the bonds that hold the dead skin cells together. Removing dead skin cells will help many skin conditions by removing irritation. Water-based soaps may use harsh chemical acids to accomplish this, frequently with skin-damaging results.
2. Vitamins. Goat milk contains many vitamins, but is particularly high in Vitamin A, which is necessary to repair damaged skin tissue, and maintain healthy skin. There have been several medical studies showing that creams made with Vitamin A reduce lines and wrinkles, control acne, and provide some psoriasis relief. Water-based soaps can be artificially fortified with vitamins, but most aren’t.
3. Cream. Fat molecules are an important part of making good soap. The cream that is present in goat milk helps boost the moisturizing quality of goat milk soaps. Since many people suffer from dry skin, particularly in the winter months, this is an important quality for soap. Goat milk soap will not dry your skin out like many other soaps. This is important because keeping skin naturally moisturized helps keep skin healthy.
4. Minerals. Goat milk contains important minerals for the skin such as selenium. Selenium is believed by scientists to have an important role in preventing skin cancer. Selenium can also help prevent damage to the skin from excessive time in the sun. Although the water used in other soaps may contain minerals such as calcium, sodium, or iron (commonly found in tap water), that’s not much help when it comes to your skin. (Note: Many areas in the United States have pastures low in selenium. At Goat Milk Stuff, our dairy goats get a selenium booster, to insure their mineral needs are met.)
Goats Milk Soap Recipe
(Makes about 3 cups or 4, 4-oz bars)
You could use any soap making recipe and substitute the milk for the water, but some milks are higher in fat, necessitating the use of more lye to make it work. I’ve used the following recipe and it works great. Depending on what kind of milk you use though, you may need to use a bit of additional lye. I used goat’s milk, and that has about the same amount of fat as whole cow’s milk. Others, such as buffalo, sheep, or yak have more fat. Increase your lye to 6.5 ounces for these milks.
Ingredients: (Try to use organic)
12 ounces coconut oil
15 ounces olive oil
13 ounces other oil – such as lard, sustainably-sourced palm oil, tallow, vegetable shortening, or another comparable oil (see “Additional Notes” section)
13 ounces milk
6 ounces lye – also called 100% sodium hydroxide
1 ounce essential oils, optional
additives such as oatmeal or lavender flowers, optional
On the day before you make your soap, you need to freeze your milk.Getting it very cold isn’t good enough, it needs to be frozen. I put mine in zip top bags in the freezer and keep it there until I need it. Each bag is pre-measured at 13 ounces so it’s ready to use.
Then, you need a large glass or stainless steel bowl. (Avoid using plastic, as it may absorb odors.) Put this in a larger bowl or the sink and fill the outside bowl about half full with cold water and ice so it’s very cold. In the inside bowl, place your frozen chunks of milk.
Very slowly, add your lye and carefully squish it into the milk. A stainless steel potato masher works quite well for this step. Keep adding the lye until it is all incorporated. It will probably not get hot or even warm. Don’t worry about that, it doesn’t need to. If the ice in the outside bowl melts, keep replacing it. It needs to stay very cold. The milk may turn orange or even tan to light brown. This is normal. If it turns dark brown, you’ll need to start over. The milk is scorched at this point. The sugars in the milk are very sensitive and need to be kept very cold to keep them from scorching. And if you smell an ammonia-like smell, that is normal too – just keep going. This smell will fade while it is curing.
When your lye/milk is ready, keep it on ice while you get the oils ready. Measure your oils using a kitchen scale. Combine oils and heat them slightly until they are about 110° – 125°F.
When the oils are ready, slowly pour the lye/milk mixture into the oils. Mix by hand for the first 5 minutes and then use a stick (immersion) blender to bring it to trace. If you’ve never made soap before, this is where it gets quite thick, much like pudding. When it comes to a trace, add your essential oils and any additives and pour it into molds.
Wait 24 hours or more, remove from molds, and cut if desired. Wait 3-4 weeks, turning it every so often so all sides have been exposed to air. You can test the pH with test strips to make sure it’s cured (desired pH is between 8-10), or use the old “touch your tongue to it” method. If you get any kind of tingle on your tongue, it’s not ready yet and will be too harsh on skin if used at this point. (I’ve been doing this since 1995 and that tiny bit of lye on an uncured bar will not hurt you.) Wrap when completely cured.