Colostrum at a glance

  • First milk produced by mammals shortly before or after birth
  • Considered more nutrient dense than milk produced later
  • Shown to defend skin against oxidative stress
  • Can disrupt factors that lead to dark spots and discolorations

Colostrum description

Colostrum is the first milk produced by mammary glands shortly before or after a mammal has given birth. It is considered more nutrient rich than what is produced during the rest of lactation. The colostrum used in skin care is generally sourced from cows or goats and can have a yellowish coloration (whereas milk is grayish white). In studies, colostrum has been shown to protect against the erosion of the length of telomeres (compounds at the end of chromosomes) in skin and defend against oxidative stress, enhancing skin health and decreasing the visible effects of skin aging. Some research also points to colostrum having the ability to disrupt factors that trigger dark spots and discolorations. Colostrum can be considered an upcycled ingredient since it is often a byproduct of commercial milk production. Usage levels of colostrum in cosmetics haven’t been firmly established; however, its safety isn’t in question for topical use.

Colostrum references

  • Pharmaceutics, January 2022, ePublication
  • Biotechnologia Acta, October 2021, pages 38-48
  • Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, May 2021, pages 538-545
  • The FASEB Journal, May 2020, pages 6302-6321

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.