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A History of Goat Milk and Its Skincare Benefits

Science and the skincare industry are finally recognizing what we—and cleopatra—have known for ages.

Now that the microbiome—the network of beneficial microbes that keep skin healthy—has the beauty biz abuzz, goat milk has become a hot ingredient. Instead of stripping skin of this living protective layer, goat milk nourishes it. As we’ve been preaching for well over a decade, goat milk has the same pH as human skin, exfoliates gently with lactic acid, and is rich in vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics. While anecdotal evidence of the stuff’s healing powers has been accumulating since the BC years, only now do we have the science to prove it. The team at Beekman 1802 recently submitted its goat milk, as a standalone ingredient, for rigorous clinical testing by the microbiologists at Microbiome, who certified it Microbiome Friendly. Below, some key moments in time that led up to this triumph.

51-30 BC
It’s said that renowned beauty Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt from 51 to 30 BC, regularly bathed in goat milk to keep her skin soft, supple, and glowing. How influential was Cleopatra’s look? When she joined Julius Caesar in Rome for two years before his 44 BC assassination, local women copied her hairstyle in droves, essentially making it “The Rachel” of ancient times. 

1500s
At some point during this century, Spanish missionaries introduced domesticated dairy goats to what is now the southwest United States. In the 1600s, English settlers brought the milkers to settlements in Jamestown, Virginia, and Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts.

Late 1500s
Elizabeth I, the Queen of England from 1558 to 1603, was also that era’s queen of fashion—famed for her daring sartorial extravagance.  Even today, the Elizabethan collar she popularized continues to exert influence on runways. Less well known. The fact that Elizabeth I enjoyed soaking in goat milk, as did her predecessor, Henry VIII’s sixth and last wife, Queen Catherine Parr, who reigned from 1543 until his death in 1547.

1600s
According to historians, goat milk is the reason European milkmaids of yore gained a rep for complexion perfection. “It gave them that milk maiden glow,” it has been said, “because goat milk offers gentle exfoliation in the form of natural lactic acid.”  

1697

Hazel Pearl brings goat milk soap/ointment recipe to America from Germany. She used it to help those in the village when skin issues. This continued through the 1700s and 1800s.Passed on from generation to generation.

1718

Hill Shade Farm, is given to Thomas Earl Rosamond, by Lord Thomas Fairfax as a gesture of favor, Due too the good work and service provided.

2011

We started again when our granddaughter was diagnosed with Eczema. My daughter informed us that the prescribed medications were only making it worse after weeks of use. Our family had a Lotion Recipe that had been brought over by a great aunt (in 1697) that was used by the village to treat skin conditions. So, I made a batch to see if it would help. I told my daughter to apply twice a day. Two weeks went by, and I got a call saying her eczema was clearing up. Our daughter had taken her off the meds and was only using the goat’s milk lotion and soap I had given her. At 6 weeks her eczema was gone.

2016
“Goat Yoga” officially became a thing after Lainey Morse hosted a yoga class on her farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The goats began walking amongst the mats, looking for attention, and the human participants were immediately charmed and relaxed. Anyone with access to the internet knows what happened next. 

2019
The Washington Post declared that “dairy goats are having a moment” in America, citing the USDA’s Census of Agriculture, which recorded a 61 percent increase in the number of US dairy goats between 2007 and 2017—the highest rate of growth for any livestock group during that time period.

2021
Goat milk becomes the first standalone ingredient to be certified Microbiome Friendly by MyMicrobiomeAG. The independent organization also certified three of The Goats Field star products, making them the first at ULTA Beauty (of more than 25,000 products by 500-plus brands) to receive this designation. In other words, rigorous scientific testing finally confirms what Cleopatra knew thousands of years ago!