What Is Yoghurt?
Yoghurt is probably an ingredient that doesn’t need an introduction. It may however need an introduction as to why it is being used so frequently in skincare. In recent years yoghurt-based face masks have increased in popularity, whether it be DIY or in formulated products. This popularity is in part due to the interest in probiotics and the potential benefits of yoghurt to moisturization. Not all of the benefits that are often claimed by skincare bloggers about yoghurt face masks are true.
Some of the claimed benefits of yoghurt face masks are moisturization, brightening, toning, sun protection, elasticity, wound healing and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. A few of these benefits such as wound healing, sun protection and moisturization have been studied, more on this a little later.
As you would expect the type of yoghurt makes a difference in terms of the potential benefits. If you are thinking about trying a yoghurt mask at home it is best to use plain, unflavoured yoghurt. Obviously if you have an allergy to cow’s milk you may want to consider goats yoghurt or plant-based yoghurt. The same goes for vegans, if you want to try out a yoghurt face mask, look for plant-based yoghurt alternatives.
the good: May help improve the moisturization of the skin as well as the general appearance and texture of the skin.
the not so good: There is little evidence to support some of the claims around the benefits of yoghurt to the skin.
Who is it for? All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.
Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients but especially with honey, turmeric and aloe vera.
Keep an eye on: Keep and eye out for more research on this ingredient.
What Are The Benefits of Yoghurt?
The moisturizing properties of yoghurt is actually one of the few benefits of yoghurt that has been studied. In a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, a link was shown between yoghurt used topically and a reduction in transepidermal water loss or TEWL. TEWL occurs when the skin’s natural barrier doesn’t prevent the water in your skin from evaporating. This often happens as we age, hence the dryness that is often associated with aging as well as if you have a disrupted skin barrier. Yoghurt may help to prevent TEWL when used as a face mask. However, there are other skincare ingredients and products that are able to prevent TEWL more effectively such as vaseline or other occlusive ingredients.
Yoghurt may also help to brighten the skin. The way in which it may do this is not clear, it could be through adding moisture to the skin or through the probiotics that are found in the yoghurt. This same thought process is also applied to the toning benefits of yoghurt to the skin. In a study published by the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, a link was found between the use of probiotics, found in yoghurt, and a reduction in the appearance of acne and sun damage.
There have also been a few studies that suggest that yoghurt may help improve the appearance of aging skin. In the same study published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, they found that yoghurt may also help improve the elasticity of the skin and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
There is some research that suggests that yoghurt may have a slight protective ability against the sun. While it certainly isn’t strong enough to consider swapping yoghurt out for your sunscreen it is a nice added potential benefit.
Is Yoghurt Safe?
While yoghurt in skincare has not yet been fully evaluated for safety and efficacy it is generally considered to be non-irritating. As yoghurt has not been fully evaluated, the claims to its benefits are not as strong as other ingredients. For this reason you may still be better off with other ingredients and formulations to address your needs.
Yeom G, Yun DM, Kang YW, Kwon JS, Kang IO, Kim SY. Clinical efficacy of facial masks containing yoghurt and Opuntia humifusa Raf. (F-YOP). J Cosmet Sci. 2011 Sep-Oct;62(5):505-14
El-Abbadi NH, Dao MC, Meydani SN. Yogurt: role in healthy and active aging. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;99(5 Suppl):1263S-70S.