What Does Turmeric Do to Your Skin?
There are some health and wellness trends that come and go, and there are some that prove their effectiveness and stick around for the long haul. Although you may find it in trendy lattes and popping up all over your Instagram feeds, turmeric has been an integral part of flavorful Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine and traditional medicine since ancient times.
Turmeric boasts potent anti inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties that contribute to its many scientifically proven health benefits like preventing Alzheimer's and cancer and improving symptoms of arthritis, depression, and heart health. More than 10,000 published studies have been done to explore the effectiveness of turmeric, and its bioactive component, curcumin, in preventing and treating various ailments. So it's no surprise this miracle plant can glow up your complexion and improve even more serious skin disorders.
At YUNI Beauty, we fully believe in the power of natural ingredients and their life-changing impact on our well-being. Therefore, we had to take a deep dive into the miraculous turmeric plant and its effect on our skin.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is not a new discovery by any means. It originates from the ginger family and has been cultivated from the root of the flowering plant, Curcuma longa, in India, China, and other parts of Asia for thousands of years. Traditionally, the rhizome was used as a spice, which you'll still find today in dishes like Indian curries. The rich, warm hue was perfect for dying fabrics, and similar to henna, turmeric was used in old Hindu ceremonies to ornament the bride. In areas of southern India, the plant was even believed to hold power against evil spirits when worn as an amulet around the neck.
Historically, turmeric was used in Ayurveda and traditional Indian medicine, as well as in Eastern Asian medical practices, like traditional Chinese medicine. The ancients used turmeric to alleviate congestion, pastes to heal wounds and skin conditions like shingles and smallpox, and within teas to aid in digestion. Ayurvedic literature spoke very highly of the rhizome, including words like jayanti in their texts, meaning one who is victorious over diseases.
The primary active ingredient, curcumin, is responsible for both the vivid yellow coloring and the array of astounding health benefits of turmeric. Scientists and doctors tout the powerhouse plant. And anecdotal evidence is strong for easing symptoms of acne, joint pain, and psoriasis.
Turmeric is one of our favorite natural ingredients to include in our skincare products, so let's dive into why it's been dubbed "the glow vitamin."
Turmeric benefits for skin
So far, we've only barely scratched the surface of turmeric's healing properties. The natural ingredient boasts benefits ranging from aesthetic to medicinal. Eczema, psoriasis, and acne sufferers have found relief, while the natural skin lightening properties offer a natural glow and an even skin tone.
- Anti inflammatory. Chronic inflammation in the body can trigger a slew of health and skin issues, like eczema, acne, and even premature lines and wrinkles. The curcumin found in turmeric inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory genes, which can work to calm your complexion when either ingested or applied topically.
- Acne and acne scarring. Turmeric's antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties are the perfect plant-based match for acne breakouts. Generally, over-the-counter acne-fighting products have pretty harsh ingredients, which doesn't make sense because acne-prone skin is inherently sensitive skin. Turmeric treats the source of acne-causing bacteria by balancing the skin's microbiome and calming the inflamed area.Turmeric is also known to reduce acne scarring by gently removing dead skin cells and acting as a natural skin lightening agent.
- Brightening. On the same note, one of the more commonly touted benefits of turmeric is its overall brightening powers. The anti inflammatory characteristics may help reduce hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and even skin tone.
- Wound healing. Because of its antiseptic qualities and ability to reduce inflammation, turmeric has the ability to promote healing in skin wounds. As the body ages, so does its power to heal itself as rapidly. Turmeric increases cell turnover, enabling a faster healing process.
- Antioxidant properties. When the body becomes overloaded with free radicals, it causes oxidative stress, one of the primary contributors of premature aging. The active ingredient curcumin is packed with antioxidants that can help counteract free radical damage caused by UV rays and pollution.
- Eczema and psoriasis relief. Atopic dermatitis is often caused by the body's inflammation response and includes skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Research is in the preliminary stages on how to best treat these skin conditions with turmeric, but the interest and anecdotal evidence are promising. Plus, The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends using it as a supplement or by adding it to curries and tea, but check with your doctor first to determine the best dosage.
How to use turmeric for skin health at home
The turmeric plant is incredibly easy to access, allowing you to reap the many healthy skin benefits in your own home. Whether you prefer a DIY project, a warming and tasty tonic, or a perfectly formulated turmeric-infused moisturizer, there's an at-home turmeric skin care treatment for you.
But before diving into any homemade topical creations, be sure you are mindful of what type of turmeric you are working with. Culinary turmeric is what you'll find in the spice section of grocery stores. This type of turmeric is ideal for food and drink recipes and will also work for topical solutions if you make sure to choose organic and start minimally to avoid staining. If you want to be totally safe from any potential stains, you can opt for kasturi turmeric. It's a bit harder to find but is known to work wonders at clearing breakouts and brightening the complexion.
Here are our favorite ways to use turmeric in the comfort of your home.
- DIY face mask. You'll likely have everything you already need to make a DIY turmeric face mask. As a base, start with probiotic and lactic acid rich yogurt. Then mix in 1/8-1/2 teaspoon of turmeric. You actually don't need much to see the benefits. Next, you can add bonus nutrients like aloe or honey to amplify hydration. Let the mask sit for 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Last but not least, don't forget to lock in moisture with a cream or oil.
- Golden milk latte. The golden spice makes for a beautiful and tasty herbal medicine that benefits your skin tone from the inside out. Bonus: you'll also be able to enjoy the plant's many other health advantages by consuming turmeric tea. Our favorite recipe for a golden milk tea latte starts with a cup of your favorite milk simmered with 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, a dash of cinnamon, and a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup. Whisk everything together and heat until warmed through.
- Spot treatment. You can calm breakouts and fade scarring by mixing turmeric with yogurt, aloe, or apple cider vinegar to create a paste. Apply a thin layer to aggravated pimples and acne scars for 15 minutes, rinse and follow with your usual regimen.
- Turmeric infused products. Skincare brands in "the know" are adding turmeric to their products. YUNI's very ownActive Calm Firming Facial Moisturizer contains turmeric extract, giving your skin a fresh glow.
Will turmeric turn my skin yellow?
Turmeric was traditionally used to dye fabrics. And if you've ever cooked with the spice at home, you can attest to the yellow stains it leaves on cookware and countertops. So naturally, this sounds an alarm — should we really be applying turmeric to our skin?
Before you dump half your bottle of turmeric into your DIY concoction, take a pause. To avoid any unwanted yellow stains on your skin, only use a small amount in your at-home mixture. Or, as we mentioned earlier, you can opt for kasturi turmeric to avoid any risks of stains altogether.
If you happen to go a bit overboard with your DIY turmeric formula, don't worry, there's a simple remedy. Curcumin is actually oil-soluble, so all you'll need to remove any residue is a gentle oil-based cleansing balm. Otherwise, wait until the next morning, and your skin's natural oils should lift any yellowing.
Is turmeric right for me?
The benefits of turmeric go beyond just healthy skin. Not only can you examine ancient Ayurvedic practices, but the thousands of published studies and clinical evidence exploring the effectiveness of turmeric as a healing tool for a myriad of health ailments, especially those of the chronic inflammatory variety. Some examples of chronic inflammatory disorders are rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and pancreatitis. According tothis anticancer study, there's even been research in mice showing curcumin slowing the growth of cancer cells.
We know about the importance antioxidants play in skincare by combatting the effects of UV rays that cause decreased collagen production and premature signs of aging. But environmental pollutants, cigarette smoke, and industrial chemicals can also cause free radical damage, affecting the fats, proteins, and DNA of our bodies, says this study. And when your body becomes overloaded, the effects can lead to much more serious issues than premature aging, like cancer, arthritis, heart disease, and Alzheimer's. Turmeric, and the active component curcumin, work to protect your body from these harmful free radicals. So with the turmeric benefits for skin and the whole body, this plant can improve the lives of just about everyone.
Turmeric presents virtually no side effects, especially when comparing supplement use with other anti inflammatory drugs. However, with any new product you introduce into your skincare routine, you'll want to do a patch test to ensure your skin tolerates it. When ingesting curcumin, Yufang Lin, M.D., an integrative medicine specialist at Cleveland Clinic, recommends sticking to the typical dosing of around 500 milligrams max per day to avoid rare side effects such as bleeding and bruising.
But if you are questioning whether you should include turmeric in your skincare routine or health regimen, you should contact your doctor.
Shop YUNI'sturmeric infused skincare products