When shopping for spices, one ingredient that you must never forget is turmeric.
Bright orange-yellow in color, this popular Indian spice has a light, complementary taste and smell. When added to milk and curry, it imparts a nice golden color.
Apart from adding color and taste to your dishes, turmeric is good for your health. It can help improve cardiovascular health, boost digestive health, ease joint pain, increase blood circulation, prevent blood clots, delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes and improve your memory, to name a few.
Turmeric is also especially good for your skin. In fact, it has been used as a skin care ingredient for centuries.
You can use it to tackle a range of skin troubles, from an uneven skin tone to acne and from cracked feet to eczema scars. The skin benefits of turmeric basically come from its active compound curcumin and its antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties.
Here are the top 10 skin benefits of turmeric that you must know.
1. Cures Acne
Whether you are worried about acne breakouts or the resulting scars, turmeric is the right solution for all acne-related problems.
Its antibacterial nature inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria. A 2013 study published in the journal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin reports that curcumin in turmeric exhibits antimicrobial activity that inhibits P. acnes bacteria that cause acne (1).
Plus, it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for reducing acne symptoms.
Turmeric also has natural oil-controlling properties, which help reduce acne breakouts.
- Mix equal amounts of turmeric and honey, then apply it directly on the acne-affected area. Leave it on overnight. The next morning, rinse it off with cool water. Do it once daily.
- Alternatively, mix ½ a teaspoon of turmeric with 2 teaspoons of sandalwood powder and some milk to form a paste. Apply it all over your face and leave it to dry. Wash it off with lukewarm water. Do this 2 or 3 times a week.
2. Controls Oily Skin
Having oily skin can be a nightmare. Excess oil on the outer skin layer often leads to whiteheads, blackheads, blind pimples and other skin irritations. To solve the problem of oily skin, turmeric is very beneficial.
Turmeric has natural oil-controlling properties that can help control the excess oil (sebum) secretion. The fatty acids and phytosterols in turmeric help reduce excess skin oils.
A 2013 study published in the Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research found that the extract obtained from the rhizomes of the turmeric plant can be used in skin preparations to regulate excessive sebum secretion in people suffering from acne and related problems (2).
- Mix ½ a teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon each of yogurt and fresh lemon juice to form a paste. Apply an even layer of the paste on your face. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water. Use this mask twice a week.
- Alternatively, mix ½ a teaspoon of turmeric powder with 1 tablespoon of gram flour. Add a little rose water to form a paste. Apply it on your face and allow it to dry on its own. Then rinse it off using lukewarm water. Use this mask 2 or 3 times a week.
3. Protects Against Sun Damage
Exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) sunrays can cause serious damage to the skin. Sun damage can make your skin look dark and dull.
Due to its skin-lightening and anti-aging properties, turmeric helps keep your skin protected from sun damage.
In a 2009 study published in Phytomedicine, researchers analyzed the effects of a turmeric extract on chronic UVB irradiation-induced skin damage in melanin-possessing hairless mice. They found that turmeric extract protected the skin from UV rays, prevented the formation of wrinkles, helped retain skin elasticity and reduced the appearance of dark spots (3).
- Mix ½ a teaspoon each of turmeric powder, lemon juice, and raw milk. Apply it all over the affected area and wait until it dries. Wash it off with cold water. Do this once daily.
- Alternatively, mix equal amounts of turmeric powder and sandalwood powder. Add some rose water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for 30 minutes. Wash it off using cold water. Do this twice a week.
4. Heals Wounds
The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of turmeric work together to heal wounds. Its antiseptic nature also reduces the risk of infections.
The curcumin in turmeric improves wound healing by modulating collagen and decreasing reactive oxygen species. It also minimizes scarring.
A 2014 study published in Life Sciences reports that curcumin helps reduce the body’s natural response to cutaneous wounds, such as inflammation and oxidation (4). The wound-healing properties of curcumin also enhance granulation tissue formation, collagen deposition, tissue remodeling, and wound contraction.
Another study published in the West Indian Medical Journal in 2015 analyzed the impact of turmeric cream on healing wounds from a cesarean section and found it promoted faster healing and even helped reduce complications from the wounds (5).
- To promote wound healing, mix ½ a tablespoon of turmeric in enough coconut oil to form a paste. Apply it on the wound 2 or 3 times a day to reduce pain and prevent infection.
- You can also mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of hot milk, and drink it daily for a few days before going to bed.
5. Delays Signs of Skin Aging
Turmeric is rich in antioxidants that help protect your skin against free-radical damage. This, in turn, slows down the signs of aging like dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.
A 2010 study published in Immunity & Ageing reports that curcumin could be a useful anti-aging substance. Not only does it reduce the risk of many of age-related diseases, it also improves one’s skin condition because of its powerful anti-inflammatory properties (6).
A 2016 study published in Phytotherapy Research reports that turmeric/curcumin products and supplements, both oral and topical, may provide therapeutic benefits for skin health (7).
- Take curcumin supplements regularly to keep your body protected against free-radical damage. Take a supplement only after consulting your doctor.
- If you have wrinkles or fine lines, mix a ¼ tablespoon of organic turmeric powder and 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt and apply it on the affected area. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then rinse it off with water. Use this treatment 2 or 3 times a week.
6. Treats Eczema
Turmeric is also beneficial in the treatment of eczema, an inflammatory skin condition that causes symptoms like dry, red, and itchy skin.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory properties that help treat inflammation and itching. Its antimicrobial nature also helps kill any bacteria that might be causing eczema.
Plus, it helps in the regeneration of healthy skin.
- Mix ½ a teaspoon of turmeric powder with enough milk to make a paste. Apply this paste on the affected skin and allow it to dry on its own. Then rinse it off using cool water. Do it twice daily.
- Alternatively, mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1½ teaspoons of coconut oil to form a paste. Apply it on the affected area. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse it off with water. Do it 3 or 4 times a day.