Can applying yogurt to your face reduce hyperpigmentation? We asked a cosmetic chemist

In a recent TikTok video, model Lori Harvey left viewers divided after sharing a product she says can remove “dark marks” from your face.

Since posting this video, it has gone viral, with over three million views.

So what is his secret? Greek yogurt.

If you’re like me and prone to hyperpigmentation, this may have piqued your interest.

But before you put food on your face, I asked cosmetic chemist and science educator Michelle Wong if yogurt can reduce hyperpigmentation — and what other options are available to you if it’s an issue for you. you.

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Yogurt is not strong enough to remove dark spots

The main reason people like Lori put yogurt on their face is because it contains lactic acid, which is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA).

Simply put, when you apply an AHA to your face, it gently exfoliates dead skin cells and can help target “dark marks,” also known as hyperpigmentation.

“Lactic acid helps skin cells loosen, which can help fade hyperpigmentation,” says Dr. Wong.

“By loosening dead skin cells, it can also make your skin look brighter, smoother and potentially help reduce pimples.”

It sounds like the holy grail product that could fix potential skin issues, but Dr. Wong adds that you would need multiple jars for it to work.

“Yoghurt contains only about 1% [of lactic acid] which is too low,” says Dr. Wong.

“Hyperpigmentation is deep in the skin, so you need a higher concentration [like] the quantities in the care products, [which] is usually five percent or more.”

If you like applying a yogurt mask as part of a routine, Dr. Wong says it may provide some short-term benefits, but if you’re looking for long-lasting results, there are better alternatives on the market.

“Lactic acid can hydrate your skin, [possibly] making fine lines smoother and giving you a temporary glow, but that also happens with a real moisturizer that’s designed to work with a lot less product,” she says.

Ways to reduce hyperpigmentation

So now we know Greek yogurt doesn’t really work, here are some affordable options suggested by Dr. Wong.

“There are budget skincare brands that have formulated lactic acid products [in a serum or toner form] and are effective,” she says.

Depending on how your skin reacts, it may feel sensitive after using AHAs, so introduce it gradually into your skincare routine and be sure to double the protection.

“Chemical exfoliants gradually remove this top layer of skin, so it’s a good idea to start slowly and if you feel irritated, stop using it,” says Dr. Wong.

AHAs aren’t the only ingredients that can help with pigmentation; the active ingredients are also known to help.

“Some products [with] vitamin C can help with lightening, as can niacinamide which is vitamin B3 [and is good for sensitive skin]“, says Dr. Wong.

If you need more information, it’s a good idea to talk to your dermatologist or skin care specialist about what percentage of AHAs or active ingredients to look for in a product and how to get them. include in your current skin care routine.

Always err on the side of caution when it comes to homemade skincare hacks

Putting food on your face seems harmless, right?

While it may seem safe because it’s a natural alternative, according to Dr. Wong, they’re not always safe, so it’s best to do some research first.

“Yogurt is generally safe, but there are do-it-yourself skincare tricks that are less safe,” she says.

“Some recommend [putting] lemon juice [on your skin]which can lead to phytophotodermatitis and cause massive blisters if exposed to the sun, as well as permanent white marks on your skin.”

This article contains general information only. You should consider obtaining independent professional advice based on your particular circumstances.

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