In the case of yoghurt, I’m talking about, unsweetened, greek yoghurt. Any flavoured yoghurt, no matter how natural and organic it is, is a no-no. The sugar laced into the flavoured yoghurts severely outweighs any of the health benefits you think you might be getting from yoghurt, so let’s stick with the healthier version – greek yoghurt.

The good

  • Gut health supplement: Greek yoghurt contains healthy bacteria known as probiotics that stimulate good gut health. The quality of our gut health is determined by a balance of good, and bad bacteria, both of which are needed to maintain healthy ‘gut flora’. The gut’s function isn’t just to break down our foods (that is just one job) but it is so significant as a mechanical function in our body that it’s known as ‘the second brain’. Research has found that 90% of our happy hormone – seratonin, is located in our gut. In the case of skin, every single person has a bacteria called ‘P.Bacteria’ that lives in the surface of our skin. Most of the time it is under control and fights off diseases that may penetrate the skin. In the case of acne however, these P.Bacteria turn against us and start to build a wall of painful pustules and pimples. Trying to rebalance the bacteria through gut health, can be beneficial in keeping the P.Acne at bay.
  • Low in lactose: If you’re already sensitive to dairy, consuming lower-lactose yoghurts like greek yoghurt can help to alleviate any inflammation you experience with other dairy. Greek yoghurt is lower in lactose because whilst the yoghurt is fermenting (ie greek yoghurt is fermented milk) it creates a compound called lactic acid. The lactic acid works to essentially break down the lactose, which is why greek yoghurt has a lower lactose content than other yoghurts.
  • Low in sugar: Unless you’re eating flavoured yoghurt, greek yoghurt is generally lower in sugar. According to I Quit Sugar, you can look on the label to determine how packed your yoghurt is with sugar or not :

Natural or plain full-fat yoghurt is about 4.7g/100g sugar. But the sugar is lactose, which is fructose-free. Anything over 4.7g/100g is added sugar.

The bad

So greek yogurt boasts being the healthier option when it comes to dairy desserts and snacks. But why is it bad for acne?

Studies going way back to 1949 began to highlight the link and relationship between acne and diet. Although it is a weak correlation, there has been an association between dairy and acne being synonymous. In particular, the main culprit has been identified as Skim Milk due to the hormones and growth factors that can potentially exacerbate and influence the acne condition.

If you’re already sensitive to dairy products, or intolerant to lactose, steer clear of the greek yoghurt for 30 days to see if this helps to improve your condition.

The alternative

So it’s not all bad news. Giving up the things you enjoy, is an accelerated path to misery. So let’s work out how you can still have the things you love, without it impacting your skin so much and robbing you of your treat time.

  • DIY: You can always try to make your own yoghurt to see how homemade fares with your skin. You will need non-pasteurised, homogonised milk and cultures, and sterilised glass jars.
  • KEFIR: Kefir is a great alternative packed with probiotics. It’s essentially the dairy equivalent of kombucha. It’s a dairy drink, but can be substituted for yoghurt. If you want to thicken the kefir, add chia seeds to make a thicker consistency out.
  • COLD TURKEY: If you’ve tried ‘everything!!’ but still have acne problems, then eliminate the food group for 30 days, to see if the change reflects on your skin. If this is a stretch for now, that’s ok too. If you love it, don’t wipe it out altogether. Maybe try having it once a week. Here is my favourite once-a-week-treat (especially if you are trying to come off the ice-cream bandwagon):
  1. 2 scoops greek yoghurt
  2. 1 x handful cacao nibs
  3. 1 x mixed seeds (pepitas, sunflower seeds, chia seeds)
  4. 1 x handful shaved coconut
  5. 3 x strawberries chopped up
  6. For an additional boost, I will add one teaspoon of organic protein powder – it keeps you full and you won’t feel the need to go back for seconds!