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How Effective Is Kefir for Acne?

By Sarah Sullins
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Many individuals consider kefir to be a very effective solution for acne. It is thought to work by controlling cholesterol, adding vitamins in the body, and ridding the body of harmful bacteria. Studies have been conducted to test the effectiveness of kefir for acne, and many have shown that the product works well for facial acne in young adults and teenagers.

Although kefir appears as a milky drink on many supermarket shelves, the substance is actually derived from what are known as kefir grains. The grains come in various sizes, with some resembling cauliflower. These grains are mixed into and are allowed to sit until the milk ferments. Once fermentation occurs, the grains are removed from the milk, which is consumed as a beverage for its health benefits, including as an acne treatment.

Kefir grains contain a vitamin called biotin, as well as vitamins B1, B12, and K. Biotin helps the body correctly absorb B vitamins and works to heal certain organs that control the health of an individual's skin. By treating organs like the kidneys and liver, biotin may play a key role in the success of kefir for acne.

The bacteria and yeast found in kefir grains make this substance a natural antibiotic. The good bacteria is generally able to kill off toxic bacteria in the body. These grains may also be able to reduce individuals' cholesterol levels, which can also help to prevent and control acne.

Many individuals strive to make their lives better by using kefir for acne. Although it can be found at many supermarkets in a ready-made form, some users believe that using home grown kefir drinks is a more nutritious and effective way to kill acne. Some grow their own kefir and use the grains to make their own drinks.

The kefir grains that users place in milk can be strained, rinsed, and placed in another jar of milk without losing any of the qualities that make them so helpful against acne. Kefir for acne may be taken every day, and it is thought to work best when taken at the same time each day. Those who take fiber supplements may want to wait at least half an hour after taking the supplement before drinking kefir, as fiber can absorb the helpful bacteria, yeast, and vitamins present in kefir if the two are taken too close together.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon989880 — On Mar 26, 2015

Yes, it's good for bacterial infections. The good bacteria push out the bad and take over. I cured my acne by applying kefir topically as a mask/wash daily. Acne is caused by P. acnes. There are beneficial P. bacteria strains in kefir that colonize your pores and push out the acne.

Taken internally, kefir is wonderfully beneficial, but I got complete clarity only by applying topically as well. It's wonderfully moisturizing and healing. This is the first time in my adult life that I have had even skin tone. I scrub my whole body down with it once a week, and do the facial thing daily.

By anon951742 — On May 17, 2014

Ps. @bluedolphin: I forgot to mention that you might have experienced what is sometimes referred to as a "die-off" reaction, or, more precisely, the "Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction". You can look it up, and will find out that if you take a lot of probiotics -and kefir is one of the most potent sources thereof- right off the bat instead of introducing them gradually in your diet, when a lot of "bad" bacteria are killed off at the same time a lot of toxins are released.

Your body will try all it can to "cleanse" itself of these toxins, and as your liver and kidneys might be overloaded considering the unusual amount they need to process, your body might show some symptoms of this higher than normal toxicity.

The symptoms documented in relation to the die-off reaction are too numerous to get into here, but as the skin is one of the main organs through which toxins are excreted from the body, this could contribute to explain why you have experienced a bout of cystic acne upon introducing (maybe in too great a quantity right at first) kefir in your body.

Adding just a teaspoon -or even less- of kefir daily will already provide a lot of good bacteria to your guts and whole body, and progressing gradually from there should prevent the occurrence of the die-off reaction as your body will be able to rid itself of the smaller amounts of toxins resulting from the cleansing action of these comparatively small amounts of "good" bacteria. Good luck!

By anon951740 — On May 17, 2014

@ bluedolphin: Actually, the bacteria which form the kefir grains feed on lactose, which is the main substance that people who are sensitive to dairy react to. Contrary to what one would think, kefir has little to do with "real" dairy when the bacteria have snacked enough on the lactose contained in the milk.

The lactose content will be even more reduced if you let your kefir out at room temperature for a "second fermentation" after you have removed the grains from it. This will also considerably boost the content of some vitamins otherwise present in smaller quantities in the kefir resulting from the first fermentation.

Kefir has helped many people who are lactose intolerant, in that by populating their guts with its innumerable "good" bacteria, it makes them able to break down and digest dairy much more efficiently. Hence, far from being something to shy away from, kefir might be worth investigating for people whose guts cannot easily tolerate dairy.

A quick Internet search brings up a lot of information about this, and there are also scientific studies providing promising conclusions in that sense.

By bluedolphin — On Feb 22, 2014

Kefir might work for some people but it does not work for those who are sensitive to dairy. Kefir is a dairy product and in some people, dairy causes more acne. I'm one of those people. I tried kefir for the probiotics but had to stop because my acne got worse. I don't have this reaction when I take dairy-free probiotic supplements, so I'm sure that it's a reaction to the milk.

I'm not denying the benefits of kefir. Those who are not sensitive to dairy can try kefir for their acne but others should avoid it in my opinion. I think everyone should do their share of research on this before deciding.

By ddljohn — On Feb 22, 2014

@ZipLine-- It is well known hat probiotics help with cystic acne and other type of acne. And kefir is rich in probiotics. It can be used to fight both fungal and bacterial infections. Not only does it re-balance the body by replacing good bacteria, it also improves the immune system. So it fights bacteria both directly and indirectly.

I'm not saying that kefir will make acne disappear right away. It has to be taken regularly and it might take some time to see its results. But it will definitely help reduce breakouts and help skin recover faster. I drink kefir regularly and I have experienced its benefits. I get fewer pimples and they are not as severe as before.

By ZipLine — On Feb 21, 2014

I've heard of kefir being used as a remedy for yeast infections, but I hadn't heard of it being used for acne. Acne is a bacterial infection, would kefir really benefit those with acne?

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