Yogurt, whether thought of as a skincare ingredient or a food item, is not something that is very glamorous or hyped-up the way berries or kombucha might be. It’s that underrated, neglected item which is always easily available and has been around, thereby taken for granted by us. Moreover, it is something many in India tend to steer clear of eating in the winter due to misconceptions about it being a “cold food”. We don’t know how much truth there is to that, but we do know one thing: it is fabulous for applying on your skin and hair, and it works wonders for your gut health, leading to clearer skin, too.
As someone with problem skin and a perennially-irritated scalp, I can say that using curd does make a difference–and the goodness has actual science behind it. Not only that, eating a cup of curd everyday is really good for keeping your skin and body healthy. Despite it being the most basic thing in our panrty, it is nevertheless a miracle-worker. Here’s why.
The probiotics it contains are the main reason it’s so helpful
Balance is key when it comes to the smooth functioning of anything. This also goes for your skin and gut health. In a world where we are constantly falling sick, popping antibiotics, using harsh anti-bacterial products, and wreaking havoc on our skin and digestive tract’s ecosystem–the importance of ensuring the presence of good bacteria, or probiotics, is very important.
These good bacteria, when eaten, help keep our system running smoothly by regulating enzyme secretion and the breakdown of certain nutrients. Their absence has many negative repercussions on our health.
As for skin, probiotics are gaining popularity in this arena as well. Now we know, we live in a world where gold and caviar are popular skincare ingredients, but something like probiotics are… kinda yucky? That said, as smelly as yogurt is, it is great when topically applied to the skin AND when eaten.
It fights infections, keep pH levels balanced, and even helps skin stay moisturised. So you see, even if Peter Kavinsky didn’t inspire you to gulp down bottles of Yakult everyday, hopefully all these benefits will!
The nutritional benefits of eating yogurt, and how it can help your skin
It is quite known that yogurt contains good bacteria, and that its probiotic action keeps our gut healthy. Other than that, it also contains a lot of minerals and vitamins, not to mention skin and hair-strengthening proteins.
To enhance its effects, I like eating yoghurt with bananas because it contains prebiotics, which help probiotics work better.
How I apply it on my skin, especially in the winter
For a dewy, even-toned glow, a yogurt mask is amazing. Yogurt proteins strengthen the skin’s barrier, making it plump and healthy. If your skin is dull, has red patches of spots, or looks uneven–this will really give your complexion a luminous radiance. This is because yoghurt contains lactic acid that rejuvenates and replenishes old, dead skin, not only removing flakes, but also ensuring that skin is left nourished.
I apply yoghurt to my skin in the form of a mask, also containing honey and rose water. Honey has humectants which moisturise skin, and has a sweet healing touch for angry and irritated skin like mine. Rose water hydrates and plumps skin from within. To make it, I combine thick yogurt (minus the watery part) with honey and a few drops of rose water. I wash my face with a face wash, and then apply this on clean skin, leaving it on to dry. Then, I wash it off with cool water and my skin looks renewed and glassy.
It’s one of the best treatments for those with dandruff-prone scalps
Dandruff is most commonly caused by a type of fat-loving fungus, which causes imbalance on the scalp, especially if it is already oily. Oily hair, scalp irritation, feeling like my hair “hurts”- these are ALL problems I have. The solution came to me thanks to my grandmother’s advice to put curd on my roots. Dismissing it as an old wives’ tale, I applied it without expecting it to actually work. Guess what? It actually did what weeks of using ketoconazole lotion couldn’t!
I later did my research and found that there’s some science to this. You see, the good bacteria that yogurt contains, kills yeast. That’s why some even recommend curd for yeast infections elsewhere (but we don’t). So, if your hair is being wrecked by harsh dandruff shampoos that show no results, a home-made curd pack for the scalp can be of great help because it’s a chemical-free way to kill this fungus.