Last updated 04/16/2021
I have been consuming turmeric for a couple years now in my Detox Digest Ayurveda tea and my summer spice blend includes it (which I need to make more of). However, I wasn’t familiar with it in skin care. I am all for its healing qualities.
In Ayurveda turmeric is an essential ingredient. As the golden spice it has been used as medicine, for beauty and in foods. It has been consumed in healing tonic or supplements and was also added to ancient skin elixirs in beautifying rituals.
Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis. More details.
Now in our modern times it is showing up in our skin care products, finally it is given praise for its place in our wellbeing as well as its many benefits for our skin.
So what is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a super orange/yellow anti-inflammatory herb used in Ayurveda. It is derived from the root of curcuma longa (cousin to ginger) used as a treatment for many illnesses through the centuries. Actually, it is native to Southeast Asia.
Rhizomes, the root of plant, are tuberous having a rough and segmented skin (like ginger). It is time to harvest in fall when leaves and stalk dry. The rhizomes are cooked and ground into a powder.
The stalks are rich in curciminoids, a plant compound that is the source of turmeric’s recognizable color. The herbs most active ingredient is curcumin.
Traditionally and currently it has been added in cooking (it gives curry powder and mustards their color) included in many Indian dishes. An ancient Indian spice, today most of the world’s turmeric is grown and consumed in India. Turmeric has a warm, bitter taste.
How does Turmeric benefit your Skin?
Concerning our skin turmeric contains many impressive qualities. However, be aware when applying directly to skin it may stain.
This is a big one for me being a rosacean. Inflammation is connected to many skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, acne, lines and wrinkles due to premature aging.
These conditions that leave your skin red and puffy are linked to oxidative stress. This happens because of too many free radicals and not enough antioxidants in your body.
Too much inflammation is bad for your skin causing havoc with breaking down collagen, causing breakouts and leading to chronic conditions. So for healthy skin it’s essential to decrease inflammation, which brings us to turmeric as a topical.
Turmeric has the ability to decrease the making of inflammation. So it stops the inflammatory response giving this protective benefit.
Free radicals naturally occur in your body but they can sometimes cause problems fast. These unstable molecules will go after healthy ones in the body and when these guys go crazy this leads to oxidative stress (what your skin doesn’t want or need).
Turmeric helps by increasing the body’s natural antioxidant level, expanding your defense against any free radical damage.
Qualities include the ingredient having an important ability in balancing good bacteria as well as bad bacteria on your skin. This is especially beneficial in treating acne because a connection to acne breakouts has to do with an excess of bad bacteria on your skin.
It helps with oily skin by regulating your sebum production. Turmeric also helps with acne scarring. As a face mask it may reduce any occurring acne scars. Its qualities as anti-inflammatory can aim at your pores and calm down skin.
Soothing for Skin Conditions
Turmeric has been shown in studies to treat certain skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
More studies are needed to determine the actual application, its efficacy and whether to include other treatments. But it looks promising.
Help with your Psoriasis
Turmeric may help with controlling flares in addition to other symptoms because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities.
The National Psoriasis Foundation suggests using it as a supplement or adding it to your food. Before starting this, discuss with your dermatologist first.
There is a Connection to Scabies Treatment
India has done an early study, combining turmeric and neem, a plant that grows in India. This was effective in treating scabies. Scabies is a condition where microscopic mites burrow under your skin.
Helps with Wound Healing
As with the case of many herbs (aloe vera) having healing benefits are underrated, including turmeric. For your body to have the ability to heal itself your skin needs to be healthy and this declines due to the aging process.
Curcumin (in turmeric) has been shown to help this process by reducing inflammation and neutralizing oxidation giving your skin what it needs to repair itself quickly without as much residual damage.
As a Brightener
We have to give thanks to turmeric, with its sunshiny color, for those antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities it’s normally promoted to help brighten tone and decrease dark spots. It creates a natural glow to brighten skin even minimizing dark under eye circles.
An essential combination because usually some types of hyperpigmentation can happen due to past inflammation. Using turmeric can help reduce this cycle.
Facial Hair Reducer
Many cultures have used kasturi turmeric to reduce facial hair but there haven’t been studies to verify its success with the reduction of facial hair.
This has been done with a paste or mask applied to the facial area containing hair. Remember the staining issue. It contains a natural chemical to help stop or slow the hairs growth. A mask or scrub is used underarms and this weakens the hair roots (sorta like Nair) so that you can pull hair from your skin.
Can be used for Scalp Health
Turmeric can treat the itching with dandruff and bacterial infections as a natural scalp cleanser containing antibacterial and antiviral qualities. In a hair mask it helps soothe and calm an irritated scalp.
Ladyalopecia has written about turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial benefits concerning hair loss. (Alopecia support).
At Home Skin Remedies Using Turmeric
There are many recipes online for using turmeric as skin care. Please be careful with these. You shouldn’t apply regular food grade turmeric directly to your skin because of staining issues.
This is the type you ingest when you add to dishes you prepare or cook. (If you have ever spilled mustard on your clothes, you know). You have purchased this in little spice jars from your grocery store.
If you are using as a topical ingredient you want to look for kasturi turmeric that won’t have any coloring issues. This type is not for eating or ingesting and is however difficult to find. You might have some luck finding it at an Indian market.
So be careful with the type you purchase and how you intend to use it. You should always do a patch test before slathering any new product on. Working with herbs (I’ve said this before) there can always be an intolerance.
Just because you cook with turmeric don’t assume your skin will love it. Especially those with sensitive skin can have unexpected reactions.
Good to know staining is only temporary. Because curcumin, the main part of turmeric is oil soluable, use a gentle oil cleanser (Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleaning Water). It may take a couple cleanings before totally clear. Also if you just leave the stain alone, the sebum on your own skin will lift off the stain sooner or later (just saying).
Be careful with too much use of turmeric in your cooking, it is possible to cause bleeding and bruising. Usually about 500 milligrams max daily, no more.
Turmeric is a miracle ingredient that has sustained time. Not only is it beneficial to other health concerns it is now benefiting skin care products with its soothing anti-inflammatory qualities, fighting free radicals and balancing bacteria.
Have you used any products containing turmeric for skin care? What was your skin care concern?
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