With so many soap options available, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your skin.
What’s more, many commercially made soaps aren’t real soap. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), only a few soaps on the market are true soaps, while the majority of cleansers are synthetic detergent products.
Given the increased demand for natural soaps, goat milk soap has soared in popularity for its soothing properties and short ingredient list.
This article reviews everything you need to know about goat milk soap, including its benefits, uses, and whether it can help treat skin conditions.
What is goat milk soap?
Goat milk soap is exactly what it sounds like — soap made from goat’s milk. It has recently gained popularity, but using goat milk and other fats for cosmetics and soaps stems back thousands of years.
Goat milk soap is made via the traditional soap-making process known as saponification, which involves combining an acid — fats and oils — with a base called lye.
In most soaps, lye is made by combining water and sodium hydroxide. However, when making goat milk soap, goat milk is used instead of water, allowing for a creamier consistency due to naturally occurring fats.
Goat milk is rich in both saturated and unsaturated fats, making it ideal for soap production. Saturated fats increase a soap’s lather — or production of bubbles — while unsaturated fats provide moisturizing and nourishing properties.
Additionally, other plant-based oils like olive or coconut oil can be used in goat milk soap to further increase the content of healthy, nourishing fats.
Benefits of goat milk soap
Goat milk soap has several beneficial characteristics that can help keep your skin looking and feeling great.
1. Gentle cleanser
Most commercially made soaps contain harsh surfactants that can strip your skin of natural moisture and oils, leaving it feeling dry and tight.
To maintain your skin’s natural moisture, it’s best to use products that don’t remove the natural fats in the skin barrier.
Goat milk soap boasts high amounts of fats, particularly caprylic acid, allowing for gentle removal of dirt and debris without removing the skin’s natural fatty acids.
2. Rich in nutrients
Goat milk is rich in fatty acids and cholesterol, which make up a large portion of the skin membrane. A lack of these components in your skin can lead to dryness and irritation.
Furthermore, the milk is a good source of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin shown to have anti-aging properties.
Finally, it’s a good source of selenium, a mineral shown to support a healthy skin membrane. It may even improve psoriasis symptoms like dry skin.
However, nutrient levels in goat milk soap largely depend on the amount of milk added during production, which is usually proprietary information. Moreover, it’s difficult to know how effective these nutrients are due to a lack of research.
3. Improve dry skin
Dry skin — known as xerosis — is a condition caused by low water levels in the skin.
Normally, your skin’s lipid barrier slows moisture loss. That’s why low lipid levels can lead to excess moisture loss and dry, irritated, and tight skin.
People with certain dry skin conditions, namely psoriasis and eczema, often have lower levels of lipids, such as cholesterol, ceramides, and fatty acids, in the skin.
To improve dry skin, the lipid barrier must be restored and rehydrated. Goat milk soap’s high cholesterol and fatty acid levels may replace missing fats while providing moisture to allow for better water retention.
Additionally, the use of harsh soaps can strip the skin of its natural moisture, which can worsen dry skin. Using a gentle, fat-rich soap like goat milk soap can support and replenish the skin’s moisture (10Trusted Source).
4. Natural exfoliant
Goat milk soap contains compounds that may exfoliate your skin.
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are used to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as scars, age spots, and hyperpigmentation, due to their natural ability to exfoliate.
Lactic acid, a naturally occurring AHA found in goat milk soap, has been shown to gently remove the top layer of dead skin cells, allowing for a more youthful complexion.
What’s more, lactic acid is known as one of the gentlest AHAs, making it a suitable option for those with sensitive skin.
However, the amount of AHAs in goat milk soap remains unknown, making it difficult to know how effective it is at exfoliating the skin. Therefore, more research is needed.
5. Supports a healthy skin microbiome
Goat milk soap may support a healthy skin microbiome — the collection of healthy bacteria on your skin’s surface.
Due to its gentle dirt-removing properties, it doesn’t strip your skin’s natural lipids or healthy bacteria. Maintaining your skin’s microbiome improves its barrier against pathogens, potentially preventing various skin disorders like acne and eczema.
Moreover, goat milk contains probiotics like Lactobacillus, which is responsible for producing lactic acid. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, including the skin.
However, no research is available on goat milk soap and the skin microbiome, so studies are needed. Nonetheless, using this soap will likely be a better alternative than soap made with strong and harsh surfactants that strip the skin’s natural barrier.
6. May prevent acne
Due to its lactic acid content, goat milk soap may help control or prevent acne.
Lactic acid is a natural exfoliant that gently removes dead skin cells, which helps prevent acne by keeping pores clear of dirt, oil, and excess sebum.
Moreover, goat milk soap is gentle and may help maintain the skin’s moisture. This is unlike many face cleansers containing harsh ingredients that can dry out the skin, potentially leading to excess oil production and clogged pores.
Although promising, treatment for acne varies from person to person. Therefore, consult your dermatologist or other healthcare professional to ensure you’re using the best product for your skin.