While having an afternoon facial is always a rewarding treat, finding time to do so can be challenging when modern technology keeps us on the go 24/7. When you can't break away to see your favorite facialist, look instead to your refrigerator for a different kind of skincare treat -- yogurt. When applied as a face mask, this creamy snack packs enough benefits to make you forget your missed spa appointment.
Probiotics -- A Skincare Discovery
Yogurt has long been hailed as the best source of probiotics to help with internal health. Elizabeth Siegel, writing in "W Magazine," discovered that many skincare companies are now exploring the benefits of topical application of probiotics on the skin -- a practice supported by Dr. Whitney Bowe, a New York-based dermatologist and researcher. Acne is caused by a mixture of "bad" bacteria and excessive oils on the skin, so cosmetic companies have started including probiotics in their bestselling formulas, in hopes that the "good" bacteria of probiotics can fight the bad ones causing acne. Dr. Bowe supports these new cosmetic developments -- she views probiotics "interfering with the colonization of acne-and-inflammation causing bacteria." Rather than investing in these creams, get the same probiotic topical treatment with a yogurt face mask.
Exfoliation and Brightening with Lactic Acid
Another great skincare benefit of yogurt is its abundance of lactic acid, a natural alpha-hydroxy acid used for skin exfoliation. While glycolic acid, another exfoliating alpha-hydroxy, penetrates more deeply, lactic acid is less irritating and stimulates cellular renewal at a greater frequency. Such high concentrations of lactic acid also make yogurt face masks hydrating, because lactic acid increases water content in the epidermis. And with regular use, yogurt face masks may brighten skin because lactic acid also inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which initiates melanin production. According to Dr. Diana Howard, Vice President of Technical Development at the International Dermal Institute, this process of melanin synthesis is unique to lactic acid, yet another benefit over glycolic acid.
Balancing Oil and Treating Sunburn
Yogurt is one of the best dairy sources for zinc, a mineral reputed for its skin repairing, healing and protecting ability. Zinc reduces skin inflammation, quickly healing acne breakouts while also reducing excessive oil production and rebalancing natural oil levels on the skin -- which helps to prevent future breakouts. Zinc also helps soothe sunburned skin. Whenever you've spent too long a time in the sun, a yogurt face mask can help take the sting out of your sunburn.
Adding Honey to the Pot
Mixing a little honey into your yogurt face mask can give the added benefit of making your skin more supple. The National Honey Board claims that honey is a natural humectant, and when applied to skin, it helps attract and retain moisture. Honey is also antibacterial and can support the probiotic properties of yogurt to help fight acne-causing bacteria. Honey helps clear and open pores, allowing the exfoliating properties of the lactic acid found in yogurt to penetrate more deeply.