When 2000 Miss World Winner Priyanka Chopra shared her inherited beauty secrets on Vogue, she said turmeric is her best and most favorite ingredient. But it isn’t just Priyanka that claims this; most women in India would agree that turmeric is their go-to ingredient for a flawless complexion. In fact, modern medicine and experts also recognizes turmeric benefits for skin, due to their potent properties that can lead to glowing skin.
In a Vogue India article, Ayurveda expert at Forest Essentials says, Dr. Nikhita Shere notes that turmeric can help “brighten, repair, and add glow to the skin, making turmeric a key ingredient in skincare to help combat the environmental damage as well as fight free radicals”.
We’re fascinated by Turmeric so we’ll be taking a deep dive about this organic ingredient, how it benefits our skin, and when to err on the side of caution.
What’s the science?
Turmeric earns most of its benefits from curcumin, the main active compound responsible for its bright orange-yellow color. Research has confirmed that curcumin possesses the following properties: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-aging. Most of these qualities translate to skin health, texture, and appearance.
Moreover, turmeric as a whole is also rich in antioxidants and minerals, which skincare products strive to capture. The best thing is that it is organic (and friendly to your budget)!
What Does Turmeric Do For Your Skin
1. Does turmeric lighten skin?
Turmeric can lighten skin thanks to curcumin and other beneficial antioxidants it naturally has. These compounds are what can help to limit melanin production and free radicals, which are the main culprits behind your discolored spots and fine lines.
Fun tip: You can begin your skin-lightening regimen with turmeric soap. No change in habit. Just swap your regular soap with one that has turmeric as an ingredient. Depending on your skin type, you will gradually see results after several weeks.
2. Turmeric for hyperpigmentation & dark spots
Naturally, as turmeric can lighten skin, it can also fade dark spots, sun spots, and other skin discoloration issues through the process.
But turmeric also benefits the skin in a different way. We know that hyperpigmentation usually happens due to sun damage, hormone imbalance, and inflammation (such as acne). Curcumin has all the properties to intervene in that process: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial.
Basically, it treats and prevents at the same time!
3. Turmeric for scars
As mentioned, turmeric has long been used to reduce the appearance of scarring. In the West Indian Med J. 2015 study, researchers found that the spice promoted collagen replacement and the recovery of skin elasticity in C-section wounds. One side note, however, is that current research has not tapped into its effectiveness in deeper scar marks.
4. Turmeric for itchy skin (eczema)
Curcumin in turmeric is a high-potential treatment for eczema due to its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. While ongoing, a 2019 research confirms that it is great for inflammation and calming skin irritation.
5. Turmeric for acne
Similar to how turmeric works on skin with eczema, the spice is also a defender of skin with acne. Once applied topically, it can fight off acne-causing bacteria and soothe inflammation.
Side effects of applying turmeric on face
- Potential allergy: If you feel itchy or have a burning sensation, it means you may have to pass this ingredient up. This burning reaction usually happens when you use food-grade turmeric for DIY skincare remedies.
- The Simpson Curse: Fresh turmeric and cooking turmeric powder will dye your clothes and everything you touch. It is messy and will make you look like a Simpson if you’re too generous with the amount. But once you see the difference turmeric does to your skin, you’ll know that it’s worth the mess.
- The scent: Many of us grew up adoring the peppery scent of turmeric. But when you’re not familiar with it, you might be taken aback by the earthy aroma, which tends to be stronger in powder form.
If you’d like to give turmeric a try, we have some pro tips that can help you make the best out of this ingredient for your skin:
- Patch Test: Whether it’s a skincare product or a D.I.Y turmeric mixture, apply a small amount on a clean patch of skin (neck or inside of your wrist). This will help you understand how your skin reacts to the ingredients without heartbreak. Click here for a simple guide on how to do a patch test.
- Kasturi turmeric powder doesn’t stain and is friendlier to sensitive skin.
If you don’t feel like spending your money on something not in your kitchen, it is fine with cooking turmeric. You can either be moderate with the amount (less is more!) or reduce staining by mixing it with milk, yogurt, or coconut oil.
Avoid direct sunlight during treatment. Similar to lemon juice, turmeric can cause potential skin irritation.
How To Use Turmeric For Skin
You can enjoy turmeric benefits for skin both orally and topically. Here’s a quick tour of different ways of incorporating the golden spice into your skincare regime.
1. Turmeric Masks Benefits & How To Make Turmeric Masks From Turmeric Powder
Generations have been whipping up turmeric pastes for hyperpigmentation, dark spots, acne, and lightening skin. Each household has its own take on the recipe, but below is the most typical concoction (which does marvels):
- 2 tbsp turmeric powder
- 4 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp milk
- In a small mixing bowl, add 2 tbsp of turmeric.
- Add 1 tbsp of honey and 1 tbsp of milk (whole milk preferred).
- Mix until it becomes a smooth paste.
- Gently apply it on your face with your fingers or a brush. You can also consider using gloves to protect your fingers from getting stained.
- Let the mask sit on your skin until it dries. This should take around 15-20 minutes.
- Wash off under warm water. You may want to wet the mask and gently massage it off.
- Pat dry and follow up with your favorite face cream.
How to prevent stains:
Milk and coconut oil benefit the skin and are excellent ingredients for removing turmeric stains as well. Mix cow’s milk when making the turmeric paste to prevent yellow stains, or soak a cotton ball and rub until the stains lift out your skin and nails.
You can also use the cotton ball method using coconut milk, coconut oil, or apple cider vinegar.
2. Turmeric tea
Drinking spice? Yes, turmeric tea is the organic tincture grandmas have been passing over to moms to their daughters.
But turmeric as a beverage does not have to be a challenge to your taste buds (phew!). Here are two wonderful lattes for beauty: Turmeric Latte and Iced Ginger Turmeric Chai Latte. The best thing is that these delicious drinks come together from simple household ingredients.
3. Turmeric supplement or turmeric pills
Treat breakouts and eczema from the tummy out with turmeric supplements in your diet. Science has realized that what’s going inside your gut will manifest onto your skin. Hence, the idea is to tackle the issue right from its source. The good news is turmeric also helps with weight loss (yay!).
IMPORTANT: Turmeric consumption is not for everyone despite its numerous benefits both for health and the skin. Therefore, you should consult with a doctor carefully before introducing it to your internal system.
4. Beauty products with turmeric
Are you intrigued about turmeric benefits for skin but are worried about potential stains? No worries, turmeric-based products are here for you. By using skincare products containing turmeric, you don’t have to worry about staining your skin while you receive all the nutrients turmeric can provide.
You can view our selected collection of turmeric products here.
How long does it take for turmeric to lighten skin?
It’ll ultimately depend on your skin type and how frequently you use turmeric in your daily routine. For some people, they can start noticing a difference after a week or so, but others won’t see results until months later. Consistency is key!
Will skin lightening by turmeric be everlasting?
Unfortunately, no. The skin brightening effects will gradually fade away once you stop using your turmeric product.
Can I use turmeric on my face every day?
Since turmeric is a proven ingredient that can benefit your skin, you can use it every day as long as your skin enjoys it. If you’re unsure whether turmeric powder is good for your skin, you can opt for a skincare product formulated with turmeric instead.
Can we use cooking turmeric powder for face?
If you can’t find a skin-safe alternative, you can use cooking turmeric powder, as long as you use a pinch of it. Otherwise, you can risk turning your pillow, sink, clothes, and face yellow.
What are turmeric and lemon for face side effects?
Although they’re both excellent ingredients for brightening up the skin, turmeric, and lemon can potentially do more harm than good. They can cause your skin’s pH to go out of balance, cause irritation, and potentially lead to photosensitivity under direct sunlight. Take caution when using this combination, and be sure to apply sun protection and SPF when you’re heading outdoors following this treatment.
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