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A Beginner’s Guide to Using Turmeric for Skin

Here's why turmeric is used to treat everything from Alzheimer’s and arthritis, to dermatitis and pimples.

Turmeric for SkinTurmeric is familiar to most of us, thanks to its use in making delicious curries. Conveniently, it’s also beneficial for our health, as demonstrated by its use in Aryurvedic medicine for the past thousands of years. It’s used to treat everything from daily ailments like indigestion and inflammation, to diseases like arthritis and multiple sclerosis. But when talk about turmeric as a natural remedy, we don’t just mean our internal health. It contains properties that make it a powerful beauty ingredient as well. Here are the top benefits of turmeric for skin, and ways to easily starting using it in your daily skin care routine.

Traditionally, Indian women applied turmeric to their faces during the night before their wedding day, leaving them with smooth radiant skin in the morning. But turmeric’s benefits for skin go beyond just appearances. In addition, turmeric paste is commonly used to treat a range of skin conditions like eczema and infections. Thanks to its richness of active compounds, turmeric is a highly potent ingredient that helps to treat skin care woes at the root of their problem.

Benefits of turmeric for skin

Most of turmeric’s powerful health benefits are due to its main active compound curcumin. Curcumin is the bright yellow pigment that gives turmeric its signature color, and has many powerful properties that can aid in skin health with regular use.Anti-Inflammatory

  1. Anti-inflammatory

Curcumin provides a potent anti-inflammatory boost. This is significant because inflammation plays a huge role in many chronic diseases that afflict all parts of our body. That includes everything from Alzheimer’s and arthritis, to dermatitis and pimples. When applied to skin, turmeric works to calm down redness and itchiness caused by excess inflammation.

  1. Heals skin

Curcumin from turmeric has also been found to speed up wound-healing in skin. That makes turmeric’s healing properties useful for treating blisters, burns, acne, and dermatitis that can lead to open skin wounds and a higher risk for infection. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric also help to prevent acne scarring.

  1. Balances oily skin

A cream containing turmeric extract was found to help regulate excess sebum production in skin when applied over four weeks. As a result, turmeric is the perfect natural remedy for people with oily or acne-prone skin, without the skin-drying effects of harsh synthetic chemicals.

  1. Protects against skin cancer

The curcumin compounds in turmeric are all antioxidants that eliminate free radicals that damage skin cell DNA, lead to tumor formation, and can ultimately cause cancer. They’ve been shown to be active against melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

  1. Fights wrinkles and fine lines

As we age, the collagen and elastin production that keeps our skin plump and smooth begins to slow down. That’s why we develop more and more wrinkles. Curcumin helps preserve this skin regeneration process by quenching free radicals that can damage skin and cause signs of aging.

  1. Brightens skin

And that’s not all of curcumin’s feats. Curcumin has been shown to halt melanin production in skin that causes hyperpigmentation and the formation of dark spots. It’s a safer version of synthetic ingredients like hydroquinone that can leave you with damaged skin with long term use.

How to use turmeric for skin

As with any new ingredient or product, make sure to consult a doctor first before using turmeric for your skin. Be sure to first patch test a small amount of turmeric on your arm before applying it directly to your face, especially if you have sensitive skin. You might notice some redness afterwards from the turmeric increasing your circulation, so stick to small amounts first!

  1. Turmeric face mask

Applying a face mask is a great way to let your skin absorb ingredient benefits for longer. A turmeric face mask is perfect as an after-sun treatment when you need to calm down reddened skin, or if you’re fighting eczema on your face. We’ve put together a turmeric face mask recipe for you here.

Simply combine 1 tablespoon of raw honey, 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, and ½ teaspoon of lemon juice to make the mask. Apply the mask onto clean skin for 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water and massage with jojoba oil to help remove the yellowish tint.

Prefer a ready-to-use turmeric face mask instead?

Turmeric Brightening & Exfoliating Mask from Kora Organics
Ecocert certified organic, cruelty-free, vegan
This multi-tasking treatment mask deeply nourishes skin for a renewed, radiant complexion. Turmeric and papaya enzymes work to resurface skin and brighten skin, while antioxidant-rich rosehip oil promotes recovery from sun damage.

  1. Turmeric scrub to exfoliate skin

Skin looking more dull than usual? You might need to scrub away those dead skin cells that are putting a damper on your natural glow. Using turmeric to exfoliate your skin is especially beneficial if you’re suffering from a breakout, as it helps to balance sebum production and purify your pores.

Mix together 1 tablespoon of raw honey, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Gently massage the mixture onto your face in upward, circular motions for 1-2 minutes. Rinse with warm water and follow with the rest of your skin care routine.

Prefer a ready-to-use turmeric scrub instead?

Turmeric Face Scrub from YLLO Beauty
Cruelty-free, vegan
Thanks to its natural ingredients, this face scrub is ideal to use for all skin types. Turmeric helps to lessen inflammation from breakouts, and is also able to calm down redness from rosacea. Apply 2-3 times a week to restore your glow.

Besan + Turmeric Polishing Grains from Cocovit
In this exfoliating treatment, chickpea powder and turmeric work together to even out skin tone and balance oil production to prevent against breakouts. It also doubles as a face mask, thanks to the moisturizing coconut oil.

  1. Fade dark spots and treat hyperpigmentation

Looking to tackle specific blemishes? You can also apply the face mask and scrub mixtures above on areas affected by hyperpigmentation, or dark spots and acne. With regular use, turmeric may help brighten up problem spots and your overall complexion. Leave the treatment on targeted areas for up to 20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water and an oil cleanser.

Prefer a ready-to-use turmeric spot treatment instead?

Turmeric Spot Treatment from Cocokind
USDA organic, cruelty-free
This spot treatment comes in a convenient stick form so you can easily apply onto blemishes with one stroke. It also contains organic tea tree oil to fight acne-causing bacteria.

  1. For anti-aging

While wrinkles and fine lines are unavoidable parts of aging, it’s still important to support your skin with natural ingredients that fight against excess damage that can accumulate over the years. The antioxidants in turmeric work to fight free radical damage that cause signs of aging, and can ultimately lead to cancer.

The best way to enjoy the anti-aging benefits of turmeric besides regular use is a face serum that sinks into your skin and nourishes it throughout the day or night.

Turmeric Face Elixir from YLLO Beauty
Cruelty-free, vegan
This serum is oil-based, but not to worry, as the jojoba oil is non-comedogenic and actually helps to balance oily skin! Simply press into clean skin for on-the-go protection and a hydrated, glowing complexion.

Turmeric + C Enlighten Serum from Andalou Naturals
Cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free
For a more intensive night treatment, try this vitamin C serum that’s balanced for the highest stability possible for healthy skin. It conditions an additional dose of turmeric to help promote a radiant, toned complexion.

With regular use and in combination with a natural skin care routine, turmeric is the perfect ingredient to boost your complexion, both for the short and long term. It’s ideal for all skin types and can be used to treated a variety of skin conditions. No wonder it’s bloomed in popularity as a beauty ingredient around the world.

Looking for more ways to jumpstart your skin care routine? Here are our top easy picks to help renew your skin:

How to Make a Salt Scrub to Reset Your Dry Skin: A fun, customizable salt scrub with just 3 ingredients to exfoliate and moisturize your skin.
Why Argan Oil for Acne Actually Works: Or does it clog your pores? Here’s our verdict on this well-loved beauty oil.
7 Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil for Skin: Here’s how tea tree oil can help you battle your acne and other skin care woes.

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