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This simple, old-age remedy for a myriad of health issues has found its way into the beauty and skincare world. So, besides being your trusted breakfast companion, yogurt can do wonders for your face as well – offering many benefits, from exfoliating to healing sunburn and skin lightening.
And while it may sound a bit messy, applying yogurt to your face, trust us – it's worth it!
So, in today's article, we'll explore the benefits of yogurt face masks for the skin and share some easy DIY recipes you can try at home.
Benefits of Yogurt for Skin
So, why is yogurt such a wonder, all-round ingredient that heals the gut as well as the skin? This is because it's produced by lactic bacteria in milk, that ferment it and make the milk proteins coagulate. As a result, yogurt contains a heaping dose of lactic acid and probiotics (living microorganisms, mostly bacteria, that are good for our health), providing a number of skin benefits:
- Exfoliating: Lactic acid, a natural alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) found in yogurt, exfoliates dead skin cells, revealing a clearer and more even-toned complexion.
- Moisturizing: Besides lactic acid, yogurt is rich in fats and proteins that nourish the skin, keeping it hydrated and elastic.
- Balancing: The probiotic cultures in yogurt can balance the skin's microbiome (skin flora or microorganisms that live on our skin), improving overall skin health.
- Lightening: And now, for the benefit you've been waiting for. Thanks to the mild exfoliating properties of lactic acid in yogurt, yogurt face masks can also reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation, making the skin brighter and more youthful.
How to Make Yogurt Face Masks
Making a face mask with yogurt can be as simple as mixing a tablespoon of yogurt with a bit of honey (our go-to recipe as it's suitable for any skin type). However, you can customize the recipe and add other ingredients to target your skin-specific concerns. So besides brightening your skin, your homemade yogurt face mask can treat other issues as well, such as acne, oily or dry skin, and the like.
Here are some ideas on how to make it:
Yogurt and Lemon Juice Face Mask
The skin-brightening properties of lemon juice and yogurt make for a perfect face mask for dull skin. In addition, lemon juice boosts the exfoliating power of the mask as it's jam-packed with citric acid, another AHA.
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
- Apply the mixture to the cleansed face, avoiding the eye area.
- Leave the mask on for about 5-7 minutes.
- Rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water, pat dry, and follow up with a moisturizer.
Note: Lemon juice can be irritating to some skin types, so be sure to patch-test the mixture on a small area of your skin before applying it to your face.
Yogurt and Turmeric Face Mask
A godsend for oily skin, the turmeric and yogurt mix. It brightens, exfoliates, and moisturizes the skin while absorbing excess oil at the same time, thanks to the clay we added. Plus, you can add a few drops of tea tree oil if you're battling acne.
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon green clay
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3-5 drops tea tree oil (*optional)
- Mix the clay with a bit of water to get a smooth paste.
- Then combine it with other ingredients and stir well until nicely combined.
- Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser, then apply the mask evenly.
- Leave it on for 10-15 minutes or until it dries.
- Rinse off with lukewarm water and moisturize.
Note: Turmeric can stain clothing and surfaces, so be sure to wear an old shirt and be cautious when applying the mask.
Yogurt and Avocado Face Mask
Yogurt and avocado are a dream combo for dry skin types. The yogurt exfoliates dead skin cells, while the avocado provides essential nutrients and hydration to the skin. To boost its moisturizing properties, add a teaspoon of your favorite facial oil, like coconut or argan oil.
- ½ ripe avocado
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Mash the avocado in a bowl until it's smooth.
- Add the yogurt, honey, and coconut oil, and mix well.
- Apply the mixture evenly to your face and leave it on for about 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse, and follow up with a rich face moisturizer while your skin is still damp.
Note: Avocado oxidizes and turns brown quickly, so it's best to use fresh avocado for this mask. And since this recipe makes for a larger amount, have a couple of friends over and do a DIY self-care day.
Yogurt and Oatmeal Face Mask
And to not leave anyone out, here's a recipe for all our sensitive-skin friends. The moisturizing and brightening yogurt combined with the soothing properties of oatmeal will relieve any redness or irritation you might feel.
- 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon ground oatmeal
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon jojoba oil
- In a bowl, mix together the plain yogurt and ground oatmeal until well combined.
- Add other ingredients and give it a good stir.
- Apply the mixture to the clean skin.
- If you need some extra exfoliation, you can gently massage the mask into your skin for a few minutes using circular motions.
- Then let it sit for another 15 minutes before rinsing.
- Continue with your skincare routine.
Note: If you don't have ground oatmeal on hand, you can use a blender or food processor to grind oats into a fine powder. For added benefits, you can also add a few drops of essential oils to the mixture, like lavender oil.
How Often Should You Use a Yogurt Face Mask?
Even though yogurt is gentle, natural ingredient, it does exfoliate the skin and should, therefore, be used in moderation to avoid over-exfoliation and irritation. Over-exfoliating your skin can damage its natural moisture barrier, making it more sensitive and prone to inflammations, like acne.
So, the frequency of use will depend on your skin type, skin sensitivity, and the current condition of your skin.
If you have oily or combination skin, you can use a yogurt face mask for skin lightening once or twice a week. The lactic acid in the yogurt will unclog pores and slaugh away dead skin cells, leading to a clearer complexion.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, on the other hand, you may want to use the mask less frequently, such as once every two weeks.
Tips for Using a Yogurt Face Mask
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using a yogurt face mask for skin lightening:
- Always patch test the mask before using it on your face. Apply a small amount to your inner elbow and wait 24 hours to see if there's any reaction.
- Be sure to use plain yogurt without any added flavors or sugars. Our recommendation would be to use Greek yogurt as it's free of additives and a bit thicker, making it easier to apply as a mask.
- If you don't have Greek yogurt at hand, you can use buttermilk or plain kefir as these also contain probiotics and acids, sharing similar skin care benefits as plain yogurt.
- Always apply to cleansed skin using a brush or your fingers.
- Don't let it sit on your face for too long, longer than 20 minutes, to avoid irritation. If you choose one of our recipes, follow the instructions on how long to leave the mask on, as this is enough for all the goodies from yogurt to sink into your skin without irritating it.
- If your skin is sensitive, avoid using lemon juice, turmeric powder, apple cider vinegar, and other potentially irritating ingredients in your mask.
- Follow up with a nourishing moisturizer as well as sunscreen if you plan on going outside, as AHAs can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
As you can see, DIYing a yogurt face mask is pretty quick and easy, and the skin benefits are plenty. Plus, the ingredients combinations are countless, and you can mix and match different ones to get the perfect formula for your skin type and needs.
So, whatever combination you choose, you'll notice the effects of smooth and soft skin almost immediately, but with persistence, you'll get the long-term results of a healthy, radiant, and bright complexion.
Does a yogurt mask lighten skin?
Yes, yogurt face masks have skin-lightening properties thanks to the lactic acid in yogurt. Lactic acid gently exfoliates the skin, making your complexion brighter and even-toned, and it can even help with mild hyperpigmentation.
How long does it take for yogurt to lighten skin?
It will depend on your skin's condition, so there are no hard and fast rules as to how long it will take to lighten your skin. But we would suggest applying yogurt face masks once or twice a week. And don't let it sit on your skin for longer than 20 minutes.
Does yogurt brighten your face?
Yes, yogurt has skin-brightening properties thanks to its exfoliating acid content. It contains lactic acid, which is alpha hydroxy acid or AHA, that brightens and exfoliates the skin and offers some anti-aging benefits as well.
Which mask is best for lightening skin?
You can DIY a variety of skin-lightening face masks, by mixing yogurt with honey, turmeric, oatmeal powder, avocado, or lemon juice. However, if you have sensitive skin, avoid using irritating ingredients in your mask, like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.
Is it OK to apply yogurt on the face every day?
We wouldn't suggest applying yogurt face masks to your face every day because yogurt exfoliates the skin. Applying it daily may lead to over-exfoliation, which can cause a myriad of skin issues, such as increased sensitivity, inflammation, and acne.