Goat’s Milk Soap? Not Baaaaaaaaaaaad!

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Can winter be over now? After last week’s unpleasantness, I’m certainly ready for it to be! It was pretty, though. Snow was sticking to every bare branch available — and we have a lot of bare branches. Back in the day, what is now my neighborhood was a racehorse-breeding farm. The trees were well fertilized and are now plentiful and huge.

While knee-deep snow on the deck and an icy ramp prevented me from going out, what I could see from the house looked like a Currier & Ives painting.

Then the temperature rose and it rained and now the place looks bare and dreary again. Maybe I’ll leave the blinds closed and pretend that Currier & Ives are still out there.

I don’t know about you, but my skin tends to be dry in cold weather. Sweat helps to keep your skin moist, and you don’t perspire a lot when the high for the day is minus 2 degrees, so that may be why I have more trouble with dry skin in the winter.

So what do they say? Use lotion. Use lotion. Use lotion. I’m a hand washer. Lotion doesn’t last long on me. I wash and dry my hands, slather on some lotion from the handy bottle on the bathroom vanity, then go into the kitchen…and wash dishes or start to cook and wash my hands again.

Why is it important not to have dry skin — aside from the itching, icky feeling? Dry skin and diabetes really don’t go well together. Dry skin can crack and germs can get in and cause infection that can lead to all kinds of havoc that, in turn, can lead to consequences as severe as amputation.

It happens that we’re more prone to dry skin than the general population. Why? High blood glucose can cause your body to lose fluid (like, when nobody calls you “iron bladder” any more), which leads to dry skin. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can cause your sweat glands to work less effectively. Sweat is a moisturizer. Poor circulation makes healing difficult.

Ironically, I found the answer to my dry skin in — soap.

Recently, a friend sent me some goat milk soap made by a goat-owning neighbor of hers. A week or so ago, when the hand soap in the bathroom got down to a sliver, I put a bar of goat milk soap in the soap dish.

Today, with no lotion whatsoever, the dryness is gone and my hands are nice and dewy. From soap!

Just in case Nellie’s milk had special properties that no other goat’s milk has, I called another friend who I knew to have used that type of soap from here and there. She confirmed that it didn’t matter where the soap came from, the goat’s milk worked.

I’m thinking about shoving my shower gel to the back of the shelf for the winter and switching to goat milk soap in the shower, too.

What is it about goat milk? I did a search and couldn’t find a Goat Milk Institute or anything that looked fair, balanced and legit, but the mishmash of what I did find agreed on several things. Goat milk has:

• Alpha hydroxy acids, which help remove dead cells from your skin’s surface by breaking down the “glue” that holds the dead skin cells together.

• Lots of essential nutrients and vitamins. It is especially high in Vitamin A, which repairs damaged skin tissue and maintains healthy skin. It also, they say, controls acne and relieves the symptoms of psoriasis. My granddaughter disagrees with the acne part and nobody here has psoriasis, although I’ve seen some testimonials praising goat milk soap’s positive effect on that.

• It contains cream, with good ol’ fat molecules to boost its moisturizing properties. The ingredients on my soap list — in addition to goat milk — are four different kinds of oil, lye, scent, and mountain water. Most goat milk soap contains at least three kinds of oil, usually olive, palm, and coconut. I will tell you that the first thing I noticed was it felt totally different from regular soap. Just kind of creamy.

Now that I have my hands under control, I’ve started working on my face, where I need to get rid of some red splotches. (See a dermatologist? Right. We have three in town. It’s impossible to get an appointment in your lifetime.)

Next, I need to pay attention to my foot. I can do my face in the morning and evening and my foot in the afternoon.

I can’t say if goat milk soap will work for you, but it’s done wonders for my dry skin. At about $5 a bar, from what I’ve seen online, it could be worth a try.

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