PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The solution to clearing up acne may not be in your medicine cabinet, but rather in your refrigerator.

To fight acne, you might get a little help from yogurt.

“Right now I recommend Greek yogurt, Activa yogurt, yogurt with a lot of bacteria — a little thicker,” said Dr. Brian Horvath, with Horvath Dermatology.

Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live in the digestive tract and on the skin. They seem to quiet inflammation throughout the body, including the kind that causes pimples.

The creamy treat is full of probiotics.

In studies, eating yogurt is also associated with less oiliness of the skin.

“At least 75 percent of the people in the studies were responding with fewer acne lesions after a six-to-eight week course,” said Horvath.

You could try putting it on your face as a mask.

“Probiotics also seem to secrete some substances that kill the bad bacteria,” said Horvath.

But really it works best as a food, due to the relationship between the bacteria in your gut and the bacteria on your skin.

“Most of the studies for acne have focused on live cultures that you swallow by mouth is basically what yogurt is,” said Horvath.

The pill form contains dead bacteria, which doesn’t work as well.

And relying on yogurt alone may not be enough.

“It’s a compliment to other acne treatments,” Horvath said. “People may still need to be on topical medication, maybe even prescription pills. Probiotics can complement the other treatments for acne.”
Exactly how much yogurt to eat and how often still needs to be worked out.

“It’s very exciting, but it’s at the beginning edge of our understanding,” said Horvath.

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Dr. Maria Simbra