Donkey Milk Skincare

Donkeys' milk has been used for as long as the donkey has been domesticated, 6000 years ago. Firstly used for consumption but, it was not too long before the dermatological benefits were discovered.

Image by Virginia Long
Image by Sincerely Media

The Beauty Burro

At Kinedale Donkeys we are always striving to promote and prove the ways in which the donkey was and is still a remarkable and useful animal. A trend that is beginning in Europe is the production of donkey milk for skincare, dairy farms are popping up all over Italy and France.

While hosting Lucie from France, who works on one of the donkey farms in the South of the country she introduced us to the wonders of the products they are making. They use Pyrenees donkeys, an endangered breed for milk production.

What is so special about donkeys' milk?

Cleopatra is famed for bathing in asses' milk, to help soothe her skin and keep her looking youthful. That was over 2000 years ago and we still know of her beauty today, so it must be good stuff! 

Donkeys' milk is the closest to cow's milk but, a jenny (female) will only produce a few litres a day due to her small udder size. The composition of proteins and sugars is similar to breast milk and was used (and sometimes still is) to feed infants during the late 19th century.

It contains a lot of vitamin D and is a natural substitute to cow's milk for anyone coping with Cows' Milk Allergies.

Why is it good for skin?

Donkeys' milk is rich in protein, minerals, essential fats, bioactive enzymes and various growth factors like riboflavin and vitamin D. Helping to provide natural nourishment to the skin and tone it. The milk naturally contains antibacterial compounds such as lysozyme and lactoferrin that inhibits the growth of bacteria on skin and reduce the rate of skin infection and subsequent blemishes and redness. Due to these properties the donkey milk formulated for soap and cleansers may be used to treat acne, psoriasis and eczema. 

How is produced?

The donkeys at Lait Coeur D'or in Saint Ybars are lovingly cared for and milked by Cyril and Marie. The endangered Pyrenees donkey breed is used as they are a large but, gentle breed. Their use in farming helps promote and encourage the growth of the population, without a purpose the donkeys would continue to decline. 

Unlike the cattle dairy industry, the mothers and foals remain together as if they were to be separated the mares would purposefully stop lactating. Therefore the foals are left to suckle their mothers for 5-6 months until they can sustain themselves on solid feed. From then the youngsters are brought together inside overnight, the mares are given a break outside (the weather is glorious, and still warm at night). Once morning comes, Cyril and Marie use a small milking machine and only take between 1 and 1.4 litres from the mares. Finishing that, the mares and foals are reintroduced and spend the day outside together, the foal still has the remainder of her milk she will produce, around 4 more litres.

The fillies (girl foals) are kept for milk production and the colts (boy foals) are sold onto other farms and breeding programmes to continue the breedlines. 

Once the milk has been collected, the soap bars are made onsite on the farm by hand and the other products are formed in a nearby cosmetic company before returning to the farm to be sold in their shop or sent on to our lucky selves in Northern Ireland!

Everybody wins, the donkeys have a chance to better their breed, have a quality life in the French countryside and we get the glorious and beneficial milk products.

If you would like more information on donkey milk, download the PDF below.