Can I Use Yogurt as a Brightening Mask?

Plain yogurt has gained popularity in recent years for its essential nutrients, especially digestive health. At the same time, yogurt has also made its way into skincare routines.

While blogs may tout plain yogurt with certain skincare benefits, only certain ones are backed by science. These include moisturising effects on the skin.

If you’re looking to try out a yogurt face mask at home, it’s essential to understand all the properties and risks involved, as well as other ingredients you may want to try.

Most of us are pretty familiar with the slew of benefits yogurt contains for your body (if it’s not already a staple in your diet, you should consider adding it!). 

It contains a heaping amount of probiotics, tiny microorganisms (living cultures of bacteria and yeast) that are good for your gut, as well as double the amount of protein found in regular yogurt and half the sugar to boot.

Well, it turns out that the magic that yogurt works on the inside of your body extends to nourish your skin, too.

Purported Benefits

All types of face masks have a few purposes in common: They’re designed to improve your skin texture, tone, and moisture balance. The same benefits vary by ingredient, however.

Below are some of the purported benefits of using a yogurt face mask.

Brightens Skin Tone

The lactic acid in yogurt inhibits the synthesis of tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is an enzyme responsible for melanin production, a substance that makes your skin tone dark. This way, yogurt may help enhance your skin tone.

Exfoliates Skin

Another perk of lactic acid is a gentle exfoliator, meaning it helps slough off dead skin cells to reveal a smoother, brighter, and more youthful-appearing complexion underneath. 

The lactic acid in yogurt may also help in exfoliating your skin and improving skin cell turnover rate. Additionally, the lactic acid does not irritate the skin while removing the dead skin cells.

One reason your skin is drier and dulls with age is that those dead skin cells are sticking around too long.

Their presence even prevents moisturisers from penetrating. So, by gently and naturally exfoliating these dead skin cells, you can easily reclaim a more vibrant and dewy skin.

May Help Reduce Acne

Yogurt contains zinc. Some research shows that zinc may help treat inflammatory acne.

It has impressive acne-fighting abilities. That’s because it contains lactic acid, which is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that you can find in many of your store-bought cleansers, spot treatments, and acne products. 

It’s also loaded with probiotics, which may help restore your skin’s bacterial balance and keep acne-causing germs from getting out of hand.

Helps Treat Under-Eye Dark Circles

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the zinc in yogurt may help lighten blemishes and scars. Using yogurt under your eyes may help reduce the appearance of dark circles.

May Delay the Signs of Aging

Yogurt contains bioactive peptide fractions that possess antioxidant properties. These properties help fight free radicals that may otherwise accelerate aging.

Combats Skin Infections

The lactic acid in yogurt possesses antifungal properties. These could help combat fungal infections on your skin.

There is a reason yogurt face masks can keep your skin glowing and youthful. They contain powerful nutrients that are skin-friendly and soothing. 

Boosts Moisture

Research has shown that yogurt may help replenish moisture in the skin, thus improving skin quality and elasticity [source]. 

Soothes Irritation

While the science on this one is limited, anecdotal evidence suggests that you can use Greek yogurt the same way you would aloe—it helps nourish sunburned skin, thanks to its cooling effects. 

Uv Ray Protection

While research supports the potential of yogurt to help reverse age spots caused by sun damage, the 2015 research suggests that yogurt may help minimise the effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays in the first place.

It’s thought that yogurt may help create a free radical neutralisation barrier against the skin, reducing the risk of sun damage-induced age spots and wrinkles.

Increased Elasticity

The 2011 research has also indicated that yogurt may support increased elasticity in the skin.

As you age, your skin naturally loses collagen, a type of protein that promotes elasticity. Face masks may help restore elasticity while improving overall skin appearance.

Reduced Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Increased elasticity is also one way to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Another method is to tweak the arrival of the epidermis, where fine lines are most prominent.

yogurt face mask

The 2015 research suggests that probiotics in yogurt may help protect against such signs of aging.

Tightens and Firms Skin

And lastly, using Greek yogurt can also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, thanks to the fact that it naturally tightens and firms your skin (chalk it up to those AHA’s again [source]). Can I buy an all-natural chemical-free solution for a couple of bucks at my local grocery store instead of hauling it to Sephora? Certainly worth a try if you ask me.

Fights Acne

Probiotics are also thought to help fight P. acne bacteria, a leading cause of inflammatory acne lesions. According to that same research from 2015, probiotics reduce overall inflammation, which may, in turn, soothe acne and help to prevent future breakouts.

Treats Other Inflammatory Skin Conditions

The same anti-inflammatory effects found in probiotics are thought to help treat other inflammatory skin conditions. These include rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema.

Treats Skin Infections

It’s also purported that yogurt may have microbial properties that may treat skin infections. Still, yogurt masks shouldn’t be applied to infected or broken skin without a doctor’s approval first.

What Are the Nutrients in Yogurt?

Zinc

One hundred grams of yogurt contain 1 mg of zinc. This mineral is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Calcium

Yogurt is a good source of calcium. Calcium is known to protect the skin from the outside environment.

B Vitamins

Yogurt is rich in vitamin B2 or riboflavin. Some believe riboflavin may help keep skin hydrated and protect skin from damage caused by free radicals. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is the critical ingredient of yogurt and a good exfoliant.

Are you excited to use yogurt on your face? Let us take a look at how you can use it as a face mask.

How to Use Yogurt on Your Face

To make your yogurt face mask:

  1. Combine two tablespoons of plain (unflavored) Greek yogurt and one teaspoon of raw honey (use more for extra moisturising benefits). 
  2. Add your optional ingredients, like banana, lemon juice, or blueberries, to the yogurt mixture, and stir well. 
  3. Apply a thin layer of mask evenly over your entire face. 
  4. Let it sit for 20 minutes before rinsing your face with cool water and applying moisturiser. 

Ingredients to Use

When trying a yogurt face mask, you may consider trying different types of yogurt and ingredients based on the results you’re looking to achieve.

Consider the following options:

Different types of yogurt

It’s best to use plain, unflavored yogurt for a face mask, but not all types are created equal.

Regular cow’s milk yogurt contains more calcium than other varieties. On the other hand, Greek yogurt has a thicker texture due to the absence of the amount of whey that different types have, making it easier to apply to the skin.

If you have a cow’s milk allergy, there are other options to consider. These include plant-based yogurts made from almond and coconut milk, as well as goat’s milk yogurt.

Honey

Research shows that honey is a natural source of certain nutrients and proteins that can help treat dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis. It may also help prevent and treat wrinkles while restoring the upper layer of the skin, also called the epidermis.

Honey may also act as a potential wound healer, especially in the case of burns.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that’s gaining traction for its anti-inflammatory effects. While noted for such effects as a food or supplement, others turn to turmeric as a topical treatment.

It’s perhaps best known for treating inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne and psoriasis.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is perhaps best known as a sunburn remedy. However, its skin benefits extend beyond burn relief, including acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It may also help moisturise dry skin. Its ability to absorb quickly into the skin makes aloe vera a good option for oily skin.

DIY Yogurt Face Mask Recipes

Yogurt can be used on its own as a face mask, but you can also combine it with other ingredients to address specific skin issues. Always wash your face first before applying a face mask, and leave it on for up to 15 minutes.

Honey and Yogurt

Honey contains antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that may help your skin achieve a natural glow.

What You Will Need

  • ½ a cup of yogurt
  • Two tablespoons of honey 

What You Have To Do

  • Mix half a cup of yogurt with two tablespoons of honey in a bowl.
  • Apply the mask evenly all over your neck and face.
  • Leave the show on for 20 minutes and rinse with warm water.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a week.

Strawberry and Yogurt

What You Will Need

  • Two fresh strawberries
  • ½ a cup of yogurt

What You Have To Do

  • Blend 2 fresh strawberries and yogurt.
  • Apply the paste all over your face with a brush.
  • Please leave it to dry and wash with cold water.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once or twice a week. 

Turmeric and Yogurt

Turmeric is rich in antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It may help treat acne breakouts when combined with yogurt.

What You Will Need

  • ½ a cup of yogurt
  • One tablespoon of turmeric powder

What You Have To Do

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder and half a cup of yogurt.
  • Apply the paste evenly all over your face and neck.
  • Leave the mask on for 20 to 30 minutes and wash with warm water.

How Often You Should Do This

Do it once a week.

Oatmeal and Yogurt

Oatmeal helps exfoliate your skin without causing any irritation. Using it with yogurt can keep your skin clear.

What You Will Need

  • One tablespoon of yogurt
  • One tablespoon of blended oatmeal
  • ½ a tablespoon of honey

What You Have To Do

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Apply the paste all over your face and neck.
  • Leave the mask on for 10 to 20 minutes and wash with warm water.

How Often You Should Do This

Do it once a week.

Avocado and Yogurt

Avocado is considered a natural moisturiser.

What You Need

  • ½ a cup of yogurt
  • ½ an avocado
  • Two tablespoons of aloe vera

What You Have To Do

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Apply the mask evenly all over your face and neck.
  • Wash it after 20 to 25 minutes.

How Often You Should Do This

Do it once a week.

While a yogurt face mask can work well on your skin, you must take certain precautions.

Things to Remember

Those with sensitive skin may experience a slight tingling sensation when they apply the face mask. 

Some may even experience a stinging and burning sensation. In such cases, wash the face mask immediately with water and get an allergy test done. 

You could be allergic to the lactic acid or probiotics present in natural yogurt.

If you are allergic to dairy products or alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, avoid yogurt face masks.

Purchase yogurt that is plain, organically produced, and replete with fat. Full-fat yogurt ensures your skin gets all the moisturisation and nourishment it deserves.

Yogurt Face Mask Tips and Tricks

Here’s how to make the most out of your Greek yogurt face mask regimen:

volcanic ash face mask

How Long Can I Leave Yogurt on My Face?

We recommend wearing your yogurt mask for anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. It gives you enough time to let the moisture, AHA, and probiotics sink in, but not so long that it irritates.

Can I Apply it to My Face Daily?

When used too often, yogurt may disrupt your skin’s microbiome and irritate. More isn’t always better.

So it’s best to use a yogurt face mask only 1–2 times a week and always keep a close eye on how your skin feels after using it. If you notice any redness or irritation, lay off the mask for a bit, and give your skin a break. 

Can Yogurt Whiten Skin or Lighten Dark Spots?

Thanks to the lactic acid in yogurt, applying yogurt directly to the skin may help fade dark spots and encourage cell turnover, leaving you with fresh-looking skin.

Which Yogurt Is Best for Face Masks?

Any plain, sugar-free yogurt will work for face masks—make sure there is no flavouring in the one you use.

Organic is best. We prefer Greek yogurt because it’s thicker than regular yogurt, meaning it won’t melt off quite as quickly. It’s also lower in sugar than other types of yogurt.

What Else Can I Use in Place of Yogurt? 

You can also use plain kefir or buttermilk since they contain probiotics and share some of the same benefits as yogurt. We haven’t tested either of these myself, so you might need to play around with the recipe to find one that works for you.

And always test it on a small skin area first to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction.

Will Yogurt Cause Me to Break Out?

Everyone’s skin is different, so it might. If you have a dairy allergy, it’s best to opt for plant-based yogurt instead of traditional cow or goat milk yogurt (the bacteria can also ferment fructose to form lactic acid).

And yogurt may sometimes clog pores, making things like acne and irritation worse. If you have acne-prone skin, spot test your yogurt face mask on an inconspicuous patch of skin to ensure you don’t have a reaction or breakout.

Drawbacks

If you have a milk allergy, you should steer clear of traditional yogurt and opt for either goat’s milk or plant-based milk formulas instead.

You might also consider testing a small amount of your face mask on the inside of your elbow beforehand. This process is called a patch test, and it’s done at least 24 hours in advance to help ensure that you won’t develop any adverse reactions to the mask.

Another possible drawback is clogged pores from using yogurt. However, such effects haven’t been studied in clinical settings.

Alternatives

A yogurt face mask isn’t the only DIY option. Consider the following alternatives for specific skincare concerns:

  • turmeric face mask for inflammatory conditions, such as acne and psoriasis
  • avocado mask for dry skin
  • oatmeal face mask to soothe irritated skin
  • lemon juice and olive oil for oily skin
  • aloe vera for acne-prone, dry, or burnt skin
  • green tea mask for dry or aging skin

The Bottom Line

Yogurt is one of many ingredients used in DIY face masks. It has the potential to balance out your skin’s moisture while offering other more targeted benefits. Some clinical research backs up a number of the purported benefits of a yogurt face mask.

Still, more research is needed to determine whether topical yogurt has widespread skin benefits.

Your dermatologist is another source of help, especially when trying to treat chronic skin conditions. Talk to your doctor if yogurt fails to produce the results you’re looking for in a face mask.

We suggest: For a mask that clears your pores and gets you glowing, try OVI Deep Cleansing Face Mask—this mineral-rich, age-defying Volcanic Ash facial mask gently absorbs oil, helping to reduce large-sized pores and eliminate built-up impurities leaving tired and stressed skin feeling energetic, vibrant and whole again.