Yogurt is a healthy addition to any diet plan. Chock-full of protein, calcium and vitamins D, B2 (riboflavin), B12 and B5, as well as probiotics (the healthy bacteria that aid digestion), yogurt provides many health benefits.
Apart from overall health benefits, the nutrients in plain and unsweetened yogurt are also good for your skin and hair.
In particular, the lactic acid, zinc and B vitamins in yogurt offer beauty benefits. However, be sure to use plain, organic yogurt without additives.
Here are 10 beauty benefits of yogurt for skin and hair.
1. Prevents and Treats Dry and Itchy Skin
Yogurt is an excellent skin-hydrating agent that can help fight dryness. The mild exfoliating action of yogurt will remove dry skin and also leave your skin moisturized.
The lactic acid in it helps get rid of any germs or bacteria that may cause itchiness. In addition, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help soothe dry and itchy skin.
- For daily use, apply fresh plain yogurt on your hands, face and legs and gently massage your skin using circular motions. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then take a shower.
- For weekly use, prepare a moisturizing mask with ½ cup of yogurt and 3 to 4 tablespoons of mashed ripe papaya. You can also add a little honey and lemon juice. Apply it on your skin and leave it on for 10 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water.
- For a facial mask, mix together 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt (drain the whey), 1 tablespoon of cocoa and 1 teaspoon of honey. Apply it on your face and neck, and leave it on for 30 minutes. Rinse it off with cool water and pat your skin dry. Use this remedy 2 or 3 times a week.
2. Lightens a Suntan
This protein-rich natural product also lightens a suntan as well as soothes a sunburn.
Its moisturizing property helps heal skin damaged by exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) sunrays. It also calms the skin after excessive sun exposure.
The zinc in yogurt has anti-inflammatory properties that also help cool the harsh bite of a sunburn.
- Apply plain, unsweetened yogurt all over the affected area, leaving it there for 15 minutes. Remove it with a warm, damp washcloth.
- Alternatively, mix the juice of 1 tomato and 1 cucumber in ½ cup of yogurt. Apply it on your sun-tanned skin for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse it off.
You can follow either of these remedies 2 or 3 times a week.
3. Fights Dandruff
One of the main causes of dandruff is a fungus that makes the scalp produce flaky skin. As yogurt is a natural antifungal agent, it helps get rid of dandruff.
It also helps relieve itching on the scalp, one of the prominent symptoms of dandruff.
- Apply yogurt on your scalp and massage it around for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also add a little lemon to the yogurt before applying it. Allow it to sit for 45 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Use this remedy a few times a week.
- Alternatively, mix together ½ cup of yogurt and 3 tablespoons of ground fenugreek seeds. Apply it on your scalp and hair. Wait 1 hour, then wash it off with a mild shampoo. Repeat this remedy once a week.
4. Conditions Hair
Yogurt works as a deep conditioner and makes your hair soft, smooth and shiny. Plus, it has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help keep your scalp clean and free from infections.
- Apply plain, unsweetened yogurt to your wet hair. Allow the mixture to sit and soak in for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse it out with lukewarm water. Use this hair treatment once a week.
- Alternatively, mix together 4 tablespoons of yogurt and 2 tablespoons each of aloe vera gel and coconut oil. Mix well and apply the hair pack throughout your hair. Leave it on your hair for 45 minutes to 1 hour, then wash thoroughly using a mild shampoo. Use this remedy once or twice a week.
5. Reduces Blemishes
Yogurt has a mild bleaching effect that can even out skin discoloration. It can also lessen the appearance of blemishes and scars on your skin.
The lactic acid in yogurt works like a natural cleanser and exfoliating agent that can help replenish your skin’s lost glow and radiance.
- Smear some plain yogurt on the darkened skin areas and massage for a few minutes. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse it off with plain water. Use this remedy once or twice daily to help clear blemishes.
- Alternatively, mix together 2 to 3 tablespoons of yogurt and the juice of 1 lemon. Apply it on your skin and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Rinse off the mixture using lukewarm water. Use this remedy once daily.
6. Tightens Skin Pores
Large, open pores can contribute to problems like acne and blackheads, which you can treat with yogurt. It can shrink and tighten large pores in your skin.
The astringent nature of yogurt also helps maintain skin elasticity.
- Simply smear 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt on your face. Allow it to sit there for about 15 minutes to get absorbed. Rinse it off with cool water. Repeat once or twice daily.
- Alternatively, mix together 2 tablespoons each of yogurt and instant oatmeal. Apply this pore tightening face mask on your face, leaving it there for 30 minutes. Then, scrub it off and rinse your face using lukewarm water. Use this home remedy 3 times a week.
7. Fights Acne
Yogurt contains natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help fight acne. It also has a mild astringent property, which helps tighten skin tissues and prevents acne breakouts.
Plus, the zinc in yogurt has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swelling and inflammation caused by acne.
- Dip a cotton ball in plain, unsweetened yogurt and apply it on the affected areas. Leave it overnight and wash your face with cool water the next morning. Use this remedy daily before going to bed.
- Alternatively, make a paste with 1 tablespoon of yogurt and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Massage this paste gently onto acne-prone areas. Allow it to sit there for 15 minutes, then rinse it off with cool water. Use it once or twice a day.
8. Reduces Wrinkles and Fine Lines
Lactic acid, one of the key ingredients in yogurt, helps prevent wrinkles and reduce the appearance of existing wrinkles.
The lactic acid also helps remove dead skin cells and tighten pores.
Yogurt even helps fight off free radicals that can otherwise strip oxygen molecules off of skin cells, thereby damaging them.
- For a daily treatment, mix together 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and 3 to 4 tablespoons of yogurt. Apply the mixture on your face for about 30 minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Another option is to mash a banana and mix in ¼ cup yogurt and 1 teaspoon honey. Apply this face pack generously on your skin and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing it off. Use this face mask 2 or 3 times a week.
9. Softens Cracked Heels
Yogurt can also soften rough and cracked heels. The lactic acid in it works as an exfoliating agent, which helps get rid of dead skin cells. This in turn softens the cracks and helps them heal faster.
Also, its moisturizing nature helps fight dryness, one of the main causes of cracked heels.
- Soak your feet in warm water for 15 minutes.
- Using a pumice stone, scrub your feet gently.
- Next, apply plain yogurt on your heels and massage gently.
- Wait 15 minutes, then rinse it off using lukewarm water.
- Pat dry and put on socks.
- Use this remedy once or twice a week.
10. Keeps Hands and Nails Beautiful
Being a natural hydrating agent, yogurt can help combat dry and rough hands. In addition, the lactic acid in it works like a natural cleanser and exfoliating agent to remove dead skin cells.
Plus, yogurt has moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, hence it can also treat painful and inflamed hangnails.
- Apply some fresh plain yogurt on your hands and fingers. Gently massage for 5 minutes using circular motions. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do this daily or every other day.
- For a weekly treatment, prepare a mask using 2 tablespoons each of plain yogurt and gram flour, and add a little turmeric powder. Mix thoroughly, apply this paste on your hands and allow it to dry on its own. Finally, rinse it off with lukewarm water.