Probiotics from breast milk may help treat children with eczema and support several other health conditions.

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Eczema is a skin condition that can cause skin dryness and itchiness in people of all ages. It can also lead to rashes developing in certain areas of the body.

Doctors prescribe several pharmaceutical treatments for eczema to relieve itching and dry patches.

In addition, there are alternative eczema treatments using natural ingredients. People could also use breast milk as a natural remedy for the condition.

This article will review breast milk for eczema, discussing the latest research and its uses in children and adults. We also look at other treatments for eczema and alternate benefits of breast milk for health conditions.

Human breast milk has beneficial properties for babies and lactating parents as it contains more than 700 types of bacteria.

A 2019 review investigated the nonnutritional use of breast milk for treating skin conditions such as atopic eczema. Overall, the research studies in this review suggested that it is an effective treatment for eczema.

In a 2015 study of infants with eczema, people applied human breast milk to the skin. Researchers found that breast milk was equally effective as hydrocortisone cream. In addition to its effectiveness, breast milk did not cause any negative side effects in this study.

Another small 2015 study examined the use of breast milk for eczema in slightly older infants. It found no effect on eczema spots with topical application of breast milk.

Some studies have indicated that breast milk can treat eczema. However, this research was still limited, so more research is necessary.

Individuals who wish to treat eczema in themselves or children should first speak with a medical professional.


Research from 2020 considers breast milk an important source of biologically valuable ingredients, including the probiotic microbiota.

Although experts consider atopic dermatitis a skin disorder, they believe the gut microbiome may also play a role in the disease. However, there is ongoing research in this area.

Read more about eczema, gut health, and the microbiome.

In a 2021 study of children and adolescents with eczema, participants experienced significant improvements in their eczema symptoms after 6 months of probiotic treatment.

Some of the common symptoms of eczema include:

  • areas of skin becoming thickened or hardened
  • oozing rashes
  • rashes bleeding after scratching
  • dry patches that appear red on light skin or dark brown or gray on darker skin

Many foods also naturally contain probiotics, such as:

  • spinach
  • asparagus
  • berries
  • soy

Learn more about probiotics and eczema.

The use of breast milk for eczema is still a new concept in healthcare.

The information below describes previous research on using breast milk in individuals. However, a person should consult a doctor before applying breast milk to adults or children with eczema.

For infants

One study from the 2019 review noted that breast milk reduced eczema symptoms in infants.

In this study, lactating parents rubbed breast milk into affected areas twice daily. Therefore, this amount and frequency of breast milk application may be helpful for infant eczema.

Parents or caregivers should speak with a pediatrician to discuss suitable treatments for infants with eczema.

For adults

There is little research surrounding the application of breast milk for adults with eczema. However, studies have investigated the use of breast milk for sore nipples in lactating parents.

Rubbing breast milk into the nipples after breastfeeding may reduce discomfort or skin chafing for nursing parents. When applying breast milk to eczema patches, adults with eczema may follow a similar method.

However, adults seeking eczema relief should speak with their doctor before applying breast milk to their skin. Only a doctor can prescribe the appropriate frequency and amount of breast milk for eczema.

People with eczema should consult a doctor if their eczema symptoms worsen or cause additional health concerns.

Individuals with eczema may experience worsening symptoms after eating particular foods due to an allergy.

To diagnose a food allergy, a doctor can conduct a test to determine whether they are allergic to a particular food group. Identifying allergies can reduce the chance of severe allergic reactions or eczema flare-ups.

Read on for information on eczema flares.

Without treatment, eczema can also lead to potentially dangerous skin infections. The condition can damage the top layer of the skin, making it easier for bacteria or fungi to enter the skin and cause infection.

If skin affected by eczema suddenly changes appearance, it may indicate an infection. An infection may also cause a high temperature or blisters on the skin’s surface.

Prompt medical intervention can help treat infections and prevent them from worsening.

Breastfeeding an infant can help lower their risk of diseases such as:

A 2017 study showed that breast milk could promote the healing of diaper rash. The probiotic properties of breast milk may also help reduce the risk of developing asthma.

Breastfeeding can decrease a baby’s risk of certain diseases, but it can also reduce the likelihood of a lactating parent developing conditions such as:

Further research on the bacterial components of human breast milk may shed more light on its benefits.

Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding for parents and babies.

In many cases, doctors prescribe topical steroids to treat itching and inflammation. These steroids may be helpful for both adults and children. They come in different types, from ointments and creams to sprays.

Several oral medications can also help treat eczema. The immune system of people with the condition can overreact and worsen inflammation. Immunosuppressants work by slowing down the body’s natural immune response.

Oral steroids, such as prednisolone, can also relieve eczema symptoms. Prednisolone can reduce inflammation from within the body, which is especially useful during an eczema flare-up.

People should discuss the benefits and potential side effects of any medical treatment.

Home remedies

There are many different at-home treatments for eczema, including:

  • moisturizing regularly
  • keeping fingernails short
  • avoiding uncomfortable or itchy fabrics
  • using unscented soaps and detergents
  • taking over-the-counter antihistamines to help prevent itching

Regular bathing and moisturizing are crucial for treating dry skin due to eczema. Soaking in a bath with natural ingredients may also relieve symptoms. These ingredients can include

Read more about natural remedies for eczema.

Eczema is a common skin condition that can affect individuals of all ages. Limited recent studies have shown that breast milk may help treat eczema symptoms.

The probiotic properties of breast milk may have a positive effect on gut health for people with eczema. Breast milk is also helpful for preventing conditions such as ear infections or asthma.

Applying a parent’s breast milk to a baby’s skin may help. There is also a possibility that lactating parents can benefit from applying it to their skin. However, there is little to no evidence of the effectiveness of using breast milk beyond this, such as an adult applying someone else’s breast milk to their eczema.

Individuals with eczema should consult a doctor before beginning any new treatment. Under the guidance of a medical professional, breast milk may be a helpful addition to a treatment plan.