Foot of woman in spa bath with flowers

When you really want to treat the skin on your body, enhancing your bath water can be an ideal way to start. Milk baths are a common spa treatment that can also be created at home to help your skin in a variety of ways, particularly during the cold, dry winter when it needs a little extra TLC.

Slough Off Dead Skin

A milk bath can help soften and smooth rough, flaky skin. Milk contains lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that can help loosen the bonds that hold old, dead cells to the surface of the skin. Once these scaly dead cells are removed, your skin feels softer and looks brighter. A milk bath helps exfoliate your skin without any scrubbing, so you don’t have to worry about irritating your skin.

Boost Moisture

Exfoliating with a milk bath can help treatment products penetrate the skin more effectively, so your moisturizer does a better job of keeping your skin hydrated. Milk also contains fats and proteins that can help boost your skin’s moisture content and keep it hydrated even after you’re done soaking. For the best results, rinse your skin after a bath and apply a hydrating body lotion or cream to lock in the moisture.

Calm and Soothe

When you have irritated skin, a milk bath can help soothe and calm it. The proteins whey and casein found in milk, as well as the amino acids, lactic acid and vitamins A, D and E, all work together to help reduce redness and itchiness. A soak in a milk bath helps when you have a chronic condition like eczema; a temporary issue such as sunburn or poison oak irritation; or even just itchy skin from dryness. Purchase premade milk bath products that contain other calming ingredients -- like oatmeal -- to boost the soothing quality of your bath.

Soaking in Milk

Drugstores, bath and body stores, and department stores sell milk-based bath products, but creating your own milk bath is fairly simple. Just add about 2 cups of whole milk to your tub water and use your hands to mix it thoroughly. Or keep a few pouches of powdered milk in your pantry to mix into your bath water. "Health" magazine recommends adding honey to a milk bath for extra soothing and moisturizing benefits. While the water is running, pour a ½ cup of honey into the tub, then add the milk once the tub is full.