DUBAI // Camel milk has been a vital food source for people living in the region for thousands of years. As well as nourishment, it was also used by Bedouins as a natural cosmetic to bathe in, wash their hair and to protect them from the Sun.
Use of the milk, which is full of vitamins and minerals in higher and more concentrated amounts than cow milk, for anything other than food has faded over the centuries. But now scientists at the Camelicious farm in Dubai are producing camel milk skincare products.
First in line for the Camellure range will be four shampoos, said Alam Gir, head of research and development at the farm’s laboratories.
“Camel milk is superior in many vitamins and minerals to cows’ milk,” he said, pointing out that the levels of potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, sodium and zinc are all higher. There is also 10 times higher levels of iron and three times the amount of vitamin C.
The skincare products will use camel milk that has been freeze dried over 24 hours as a base so they can be applied to the skin and hair.
Dr Hassan Galadari, assistant professor of dermatology at UAE University, said the benefits of camel milk “span millenia”.
“Cleopatra used to bathe in it to achieve soft supple skin, which is not surprising given that the milk contains lactic acid, a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), that helps soften and smooth the skin.
“When applied to the hair, it is able to remove excess oil. Given this richness in AHA, it is not surprising that creams and lotions to treat acne and discolouration on the face and dandruff contain elements of camel milk,” said the Emirati.
“The milk also contains a high degree of collagen, elastin and vitamins B and C, elements that are not found in cows’ milk, making it unique in that regard. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which helps in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It also aids in Sun protection and damage caused by UV rays.”
Saeed Juma bin Subaih, general manager of Camelicious, said creating products based on camel milk gave a great sense of pride to the company’s Emirati staff.
“Since we were young, we drank camel milk, we would just milk the camel and drink it. Camel milk and dates have always been the main food here.
“Locals are so linked to camels so they know the benefits. In the old days, the milk was mixed with fat as a sunscreen and in its pure form used as a shampoo. It has many applications.”
Mr bin Subaih praised the company’s scientists working to create the range of skincare products as “pioneers”. “There is no handbook for this.”