Open your fridge and look around. It's there, hiding on the smaller shelves. Or maybe tucked away in one of the drawers. Eventually, you'll find it—a trusty container of yogurt. Whether it's Greek or whatever came before that (does anyone even remember?), that tiny little carton is something you can feel good about eating. But before you start shoveling copious amounts of it into your mouth, note that yogurt may be healing to the outside of your body, too. Here are a few ways slathering it on may help benefit your skin, scalp and your overall sexy.
It may help clear up acne.
If your face sometimes breaks out the way it did when you were a greasy, hormonal 13-year-old, then it's likely you have an arsenal of products in your medicine cabinet—all of them loaded with acne-clearing ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or alpha hydroxy acids. But if your skin needs a break—or you're just looking to try something more natural—Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, says yogurt can be key. "The probiotics in yogurt have a protective and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, so it may help treat acne," he explains. Smear the plain variety (that key lime pie-flavored mess has no business on your mug) directly on the blemish, go about your business for ten to 15 minutes, then give your face a good rinse.
It lightens stubborn dark spots.
If you picked the living hell out of that pimple, chances are you have some scarring left behind. Zeichner says a dab of yogurt could help lighten things up. "There's enough lactic acid in yogurt to provide a mild bleaching effect that could help even skin discoloration," he says. Your odds of actually seeing results are better if you mix two to three tablespoons with a squirt of lemon juice though, since that also has skin-lightening abilities (not to mention the acid works to remove dead skin cells). Slap it on once a week and leave it for 20 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water. That said, if you experience any irritation, Zeichner says to rinse off ASAP as some skin is more sensitive than others and may not be able to tolerate the acidity.
It fights flakes.
You're wearing a black coat when you notice some white flakes on your shoulders. And it's not snowing. Zeichner says dandruff happens way more often in the winter because the dry air helps produce flaky skin, but that's not the only culprit: One of the main causes of dandruff is actually a fungus that encourages the scalp to flake like it belongs in a blizzard. Fun right?
Yogurt has natural anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, so it can help moisturize your hair follicles, and help stop you from wanting to scratch (and produce more flakes). Zeichner suggests coating your scalp in yogurt (again, genius: plain) while you're in the shower, and letting it sit while you sing the alphabet before rinsing.
It treats dry, itchy skin.
There's a reason skincare brands are launching yogurt-based products: It's moisturizing and can help get rid of dead skin cells, Zeichner says. It's fine to slather on a weekly mask with yogurt as a base to net the rewards—just make sure you give your face a good rinse afterward (nobody likes running their fingers across a sticky face mid-meeting).
The information in this report is the opinion of the author(s) and in no way reflects the policies or positions of Tropicana. This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or nutrition advice.