Yogurt (Topical): What Is It, Skin & Hair Benefits & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: June 28, 2023
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When it comes to cosmetics, deciphering the constituents within your favorite products can feel like navigating through a mass allotment of complex scientific terms. Amid these scientific names, there’s a high chance you’ve come across a familiar and rather friendly-sounding name – “Yogurt.”

Now, you might be wondering, “Wait, isn’t yogurt that wholesome, creamy food that you have for breakfast or a light snack?” Absolutely, it’s the same yogurt but it’s not just for eating anymore. Yogurt is increasingly featured in the ingredient lists of many cosmetic products, and it’s not just because of its tempting scent or appealing texture.

This article aims to dive deeply into the world of this versatile and surprisingly useful ingredient, Yogurt. We’ll shed light on the origin of yogurt in the beauty realm, discuss its official functions as per CosIng, and explore the reasons behind its increasing use within the cosmetic industry.

What is Yogurt in Skincare?

In the context of cosmetics, Yogurt refers to a dairy product that’s crafted from the biochemical transformation of milk, promoted by specific bacteria or yeast. It’s most commonly known as “Yogurt” in the skincare world, though you might occasionally find it referred to as “Probiotic Yogurt” or “Greek Yogurt” depending on its specific formulation.

Yogurt typically serves dual functions within skincare and haircare products. It acts as a hair conditioning agent, helping to enhance the feel and appearance of hair by increasing its body, suppleness, or sheen. Additionally, it is recognized for its skin-protecting qualities. Yogurt helps form a barrier on the skin, safeguarding it from environmental stressors. The presence of lactic acid in yogurt aids in the gentle exfoliation of the skin, promoting a healthy-looking complexion.

Yogurt can be incorporated into products at varying concentrations, depending upon its intended use and the specific product formulation. While it is a common component in a wider array of cosmetic formulations like moisturizers, hair masks, and face masks, you can also purchase pure yogurt masks intended for topical application.

Who Can Use Yogurt?

Yogurt is one universal skincare ingredient that is suitable for pretty much every skin type. Its versatile and gentle nature makes it a fit for oily, dry, sensitive, combination, and normal skin alike.

As for dietary preferences and restrictions, yogurt as a skincare or haircare ingredient may not be suitable for vegans, as it’s a byproduct of milk. However, vegetarians can comfortably use products containing yogurt.

When it comes to pregnancy or breastfeeding, skincare with yogurt is generally considered safe. Nonetheless, if you’re expecting or nursing, ensure to consult your doctor before introducing a new product into your skincare or haircare routine. This precaution is advised because everyone’s skin responds differently to ingredients, and it’s always best to be on the safe side.

Yogurt’s Topical Skin Benefits

Yogurt brings about several appealing benefits to your skin, owing chiefly to its recognized official functions of skin protection and hair conditioning. Allow us to dive deeper and explore these benefits in detail:

  • Skin Protection: Yogurt forms a protective barrier on the skin due to the presence of proteins. These proteins can help maintain the skin’s natural barrier and prevent water loss. That means yogurt is adept at safeguarding your skin from environmental aggressors like pollution and UV damage. The nourishing barrier aids in keeping your skin healthily hydrated, making it look supple and vibrant.
  • Exfoliation and Skin Renewal: The lactic acid in yogurt has natural exfoliating properties. It helps to gently remove dead cells at the skin’s surface, promoting skin renewal by revealing the fresh, bright skin underneath. By encouraging the skin’s shedding process, lactic acid assists in improving skin texture and reducing the visibility of small lines and wrinkles. This leads to a youthful, glowy complexion over time.
  • Soothes Skin: Yogurt contains probiotics and has anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm irritated or inflamed skin. Whether you’re dealing with sunburn, blemishes, or redness, applying yogurt-infused products can provide a soothing effect. This is because the healthy bacteria in yogurt can help reduce inflammation and redness, providing relief for irritated skin.

Remember, just like with any other skincare ingredient, the beneficial effects of yogurt are not permanent. It’s important to sustain regular usage as part of your routine to keep reaping these benefits.

Yogurt’s Topical Hair Benefits

Just like it does wonders for your skin, Yogurt also brings a handful of significant benefits to your hair. As per its official function, yogurt serves as a fantastic hair-conditioning agent. Let’s delve into this a little deeper:

  • Enhanced Moisture: Yogurt provides great conditioning to hair due to its nourishing protein content, combined with its natural fats. These help to lock moisture into the hair strands, leaving them hydrated and reducing issues like dryness and frizz. This leaves you with softer, smoother hair that is easier to detangle and style.
  • Boosts Shine: The lactic acid in yogurt works to smooth out the hair cuticles, which serves to enhance the shine in your strands. This means that regular use of hair products with yogurt can result in glossier, healthier-looking hair.
  • Supports Scalp Health: Yogurt is rich in probiotics and antibacterial properties which can help support a healthy scalp. A healthy scalp is crucial for healthy hair growth. Therefore, the regular application of yogurt-based hair products can contribute to better hair health in the long term.
  • Reduces Hair Breakage: The proteins present in yogurt help to strengthen the hair strands, reducing breakage and split ends over time. With regular use, expect your hair to become less prone to damage and breakage.

In order to maintain the beneficial effects of yogurt on your hair, frequent and regular use is necessary. The results from using yogurt-infused hair care products are not permanent, and your hair may revert back to its original state if usage discontinues. Maintain a consistent hair care routine with these products to continue experiencing these benefits.

Yogurt Potential Side Effects

Just as the benefits of ingredients like yogurt can vary, so can their side effects. The reason for this difference comes down to individuality – our skin types and bodies are unique, after all. Personal sensitivities, allergies, and predispositions can play substantial roles in how our skin responds to a specific ingredient. Here is where understanding our own skin type becomes crucial. You can learn more about how to accurately find your skin type here.

Potential side effects and interactions with yogurt include:

  • Sensitivity or Allergic Reaction: If you’re allergic or sensitive to dairy products, you may experience an adverse reaction to products containing yogurt. This could include redness, itching, inflammation, or rashes.
  • Dryness or Peeling: The lactic acid in yogurt can act as an exfoliant, which may lead to dryness or peeling in some cases. If you have very sensitive or dry skin, it’s recommended to use products containing yogurt sparingly.

If you experience any of these side effects while using the ingredient, discontinue use immediately and consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional. Remember, while these side effects are possible, they are also rare. Most people find that products that contain yogurt are both safe and effective.

That being said, it’s always essential to conduct a patch test before using any new cosmetic product. This entails applying a small amount of the product to a patch of skin, ideally in a discreet area like behind your ear or on your inner forearm, to check for any reactions before using the product fully. For a complete and comprehensive patch testing guide, visit here.

Being mindful of the potential side effects while understanding the necessity of patch testing is part of ensuring you have a fruitful and pleasant experience with your cosmetic products.

Comedogenic Rating

When it comes to the comedogenic rating of yogurt, it’s generally considered to have a low rating, falling at around 1-2. The reason for this low rating is due to yogurt’s non-oily nature and its capability to be readily absorbed by the skin without clogging pores.

For those prone to acne or breakouts, products containing yogurt can be a feasible part of their skincare regimen. Due to its mild exfoliating properties, it can help remove excess sebum and dead skin cells that often contribute to clogged pores and breakouts. However, everyone’s skin responds differently, so individual experiences may vary.


Successful skincare and hair care is often a result of a journey filled with trials, errors, and experiments. It’s about discovering what works for your unique skin and hair type, and sometimes, this journey involves venturing beyond familiar territories.

If you have reservations about integrating products containing yogurt into your beauty routine, remember that yogurt’s nutrient-rich profile and dual function as a skin protector and hair conditioner aim to deliver a nourishing experience. The use of yogurt in cosmetics signifies an exciting blend of nature and science, offering a holistic approach to beauty care.

For those seeking alternatives to chemical-laden products, yogurt-infused cosmetics can be an appealing choice, harnessing yogurt’s natural benefits in achievable, user-friendly applications.

While not a new kid on the block, yogurt as a cosmetic ingredient isn’t as widely recognized as some other ingredients like hyaluronic acid or retinol. However, its presence in the beauty market is slowly gaining traction, thanks to its versatile and beneficial properties.

As with any ingredient, it’s important to remember that patience is key when it comes to seeing results from yogurt-infused products. Everyone’s skin and hair respond differently, so while some may notice benefits within a few weeks, others might require a bit longer.

Summing up, the use of yogurt in cosmetics opens up a world of possibilities for skin and hair care. Grounding its roots in nature, it serves as a testament to the amazing potential of food-based substances in supporting and enhancing our beauty routines, delivering effective, nourishing benefits one application at a time.

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