Do colostrum’s benefits for skin live up to the hype?
Read on as we explore the world of colostrum, a natural wonder that goes beyond nourishing newborns.
What is Colostrum?
Colostrum is a milk-like substance. It is produced by mammals, including humans, shortly after giving birth.
It is only available in the first few days after birth.
Often referred to as “liquid gold” as it is packed with antibodies that help fight infection.
In addition, colostrum also offers the newborn concentrated nutrients that support growth and development.
Colostrum Benefits for Skin
The benefits of colostrum for the skin include the following:
Colostrum helps draw water into the skin. Hydrated skin appears more plump and youthful.
The antibodies in colostrum protect the skin from free radical damage and environmental pollutants.
These antibodies may prevent premature aging, along with acne and eczema.
3. Healing & Repair
The nutrients in the colostrum can help heal and repair damaged skin.
Scars and blemishes are less visible, improving the appearance of the skin.
Colostrum contains growth factors that stimulate collagen production and skin elasticity.
This may decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Are you curious how colostrum compares to collagen? Check out this Age-Deyfing Dietitian blog post – “Colostrum vs Collagen: Which is Better?“.
Bovine colostrum comes from the initial milky secretions obtained from a cow after giving birth.
Manufacturers say there is extra colostrum in the mother’s first milk, leaving plenty for the baby calf.
They pasteurize the colostrum for safety and quality, and then they dry it into pills or powders for supplements.
Bovine colostrum is similar to human colostrum in that it is nutrient dense.
It is rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammation agents, and growth-promoting factors.
Skincare products often use colostrum because of its benefits for the skin. You can also apply colostrum powder directly to your skin.
Colostrum may improve skin elasticity, hydration, and protection.
In addition, it is a natural humectant. This means that it attracts water to the skin, keeping the skin hydrated and plump.
Another 2022 study suggested that bovine colostrum has great potential as a natural therapeutic agent to repair UV skin aging and damage.
Preliminary findings indicate that colostrum may be beneficial in wound healing, anti-aging skincare, and overall skin health. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
3 Ways to Apply Colostrum to Your Skin
- Add about 1 teaspoon of bovine colostrum powder to a small amount of coconut oil to create an exfoliant for the skin.
- Mix a small amount of colostrum powder into your face cream and apply it to your skin.
- Combine colostrum powder and water to create a facial mask. Apply to the face until dry. Remove with a wet warm cloth.
Oral colostrum supplements are typically associated with immunity.
Colostrum contains antibodies that can help to fight infection. You can add an oral colostrum supplement to any cold beverage.
There isn’t sufficient evidence to say that oral colostrum supplements improve skin health.
Arma, a popular colostrum supplement, promotes colostrum for skin health. They make the following claim on their website-
“Research shows that these ARMRA Colostrum™ bioactives go to work from the inside out to reverse skin aging, and improve elasticity and radiance, while also strengthening the skin barrier to guard against the damage caused by environmental pollutants, toxins, and UV light.”
Arma reports results typically occur in 4-6 weeks with consistent use.
Currently, research supports topical colostrum over oral colostrum for skin health.
Colostrum may also promote healthy hair. Check out the Age-Defying Dietitian blog post to learn more – “The Power of Colostrum for Hair Growth and Repair“.
How to Choose the Best Colostrum Supplement
Consider the following when choosing a colostrum supplement:
- Colostrum should be obtained from the first milking, after the baby calf.
- Cows should be grass-fed and pasture-raised.
- Look for independent third-party testing seals on the label (NSF, USP).
- Ensure your supplement has a good manufacturing practices (cGMP facilities) seal.
Consult your healthcare provider prior to adding colostrum, or any dietary supplement, to your wellness routine.
Below are colostrum supplements that meet the requirements above:
Another supplement that offers skin benefits is Chlorella. Learn more in this Age-Defying Dietitian blog post “Chlorella Benefits for Skin: A Green Superfood“.
In conclusion, there is more evidence for the role of colostrum in immune and digestive health than for skin.
Evidence is emerging, however, it mainly points to the effectiveness of topical colostrum application.
Currently, science doesn’t back up the hype of colostrum.
Most experts agree colostrum supplements are safe for those without an allergy to cow’s milk.
If you are considering taking colostrum supplements, it is important to talk to your doctor first.
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Kathryn is a Registered Dietitian and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is also certified through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Weight Management. She has 20+ years of nutrition experience working in a variety of healthcare settings. Her passion is to provide evidence-based nutrition information that supports vitality and longevity!