Lactoferrin or Colostrum? Which Skincare Trend is Worth Your Money

Lactoferrin or Colostrum? Which Skincare Trend is Worth Your Money

Lactoferrin or Colostrum? Which Skincare Trend is Worth Your Money

Dealing with adult acne is no easy feat. It can be embarrassing to struggle with something that everyone else seems to have left in their adolescence, and is especially frustrating when it seems like none of the 12-step routines make a difference.

While there are a ton of acne-fighting tools marketed to us, from LED face masks to retinol products, the latest skincare trend promises major results that are quick and long-lasting. 

First, we have colostrum, which is probably inundating your FYPs with paid ads if your algorithm dips into the supplement or skincare worlds. Colostrum is boasted to be the best thing for anti-aging, immune system health, and even clear skin. The problem? Colostrum is the material in a mother’s first mammalian milk, produced after giving birth. We’ve been wondering if there is a way to source colostrum ethically, so we asked the experts and came to a conclusion, which you’ll find at the end of this article. 

A little lesser-known, we have lactoferrin. Containing antiviral and antibacterial properties, lactoferrin gets rid of acne’s main food source through its iron-regulating abilities. It also happens to be the main ingredient in colostrum. The good news? Lactoferrin can be sourced ethically from whey proteins. 

Allow us to explain further. 


What is Lactoferrin?

A whey-derived protein that promotes magical healing for your skin, lactoferrin is currently rising in popularity as a main ingredient in acne-fighting supplements. The benefits of lactoferrin are plentiful, known to:

  • Stimulate connective tissue and epidermal cells to regenerate skin cells
  • Starve acne-causing bacteria & manage inflammation for clearer skin
  • Contain antioxidants that work to combat free radicals
  • Neutralize and eliminate harmful gut bacteria
  • Feed beneficial gut bacteria, promoting proper digestion and nutrient absorption

Products like RETRO Acne Relief enlist lactoferrin to bind to iron in the body and starve acne-causing bacteria that feed on it. It also helps normalize the body’s inflammatory response (it’s important to note here that acne is inflammation).

Lactoferrin is a type of protein found naturally in the colostrum of cow milk and human milk, but cruelty-free supplement brands like ours use vegetarian derivatives from whey or genetically modified rice, to offer the same benefits without the moral dilemma. 


What is Colostrum?

Notable for its rare combination of essential nutrients, immune factors, and oligosaccharides, colostrum benefits range from skin regeneration to infection-fighting to improved gut health.

It’s become more commonly used in serums and facial mists, marketed as “liquid gold.” Benefiting skin health as we age, marketers claim that colostrum can heal the body from the inside out, sealing mucosal barriers to protect the body’s immune and respiratory pathways from inflammation, and leaving you with a profound glow. 

There are some factors to take into account when considering integrating colostrum into your routine. It’s unknown whether or not colostrum supplements are safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women, and depending on how the cows are raised, they may contain antibiotics. Also worth taking into account is that colostrum supplements and powders are expensive, and may be harmful for anyone with a dairy or lactose intolerance.

Even though all mammals produce colostrum, supplements are usually made from the bovine colostrum (from cows). Many have raised concerns about the ethics of how colostrum is sourced, and whether or not it’s taken from a young mammal that needs it.


Is Bovine Colostrum Ethical?

Bovine colostrum refers to the first milk mother cows produce for a short period of time after their calf is born, serving as a “kick start” to their development. This nutrient-dense milk material plays a critical role in the development of young calves, providing them with a huge boost of nutritional content. If you’ve ever asked yourself “How is bovine colostrum harvested?” it’s exactly what you’d imagine. The colostrum is milked and stored from the mother cow directly following her giving birth, leaving none for the young calf who needs it.

Simply put: there’s no morally ethical way to source colostrum, especially in large quantities. It’s the very first superfood necessary for a mammal’s baby to develop healthily, and redistributing it in a skincare product means removing it from the mother and calf at their most vulnerable. Just as a human mother’s early breast milk is vital for newborn health, the same role is played for a young calf.


Conclusion: Why You Should Consider Lactoferrin Over Colostrum

Rather than investing in colostrum, integrating a vegetarian lactoferrin supplement into your skincare routine is the effective and ethical route to take when combating acne. You’ll receive the same skin-glowing benefits without being plagued with any moral qualms.