Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a yellow spice that has been used as a healing herb in Ayurvedic medicine and in many Asian cuisines. Scientific studies have shown that turmeric plays a powerful role as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial agent for our skin.  Turmeric has been used as part of the treatment of several skin diseases including acne and eczema. and to therapy skin cancers like melanoma. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, an active component that is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.


Background of Turmeric and Curcumin

In Ayurvedic practices, the properties of turmeric have been topically employed for many years to treat eye infections, wounds, scars, burns, and acne. Also, turmeric is ingested in Ayurveda by mixing the powdered spice in water or milk and is typically given with ginger or black pepper to help with absorbing the turmeric.  Scientific studies have proposed that curcumin may inhibit the growth of tumor cells.


Applying Turmeric on Your Skin

While turmeric may have anti-inflammatory actions, it has not been studied specifically for acne. There are some downsides to applying turmeric to your skin. If you have ever eaten Asian or Indian food, there is a likely chance that there may have been turmeric in your food. When you look at your fingers – assuming you have eaten with your hands of course – they may be stained yellow. That is the sign of turmeric. The chemical curcumin accounts for the yellow color and it stains your skin yellow. So, be ready for yellowish skin when deciding to apply a turmeric paste to your face or skin.

Recipe for a turmeric face mask

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of yogurt, water, or milk
  • Few drops of lemon juice

This mask can be prepared just by 5 easy steps:

  1. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of honey in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Once the mixture is paste-like, you can add either 1 teaspoon of yogurt, water, or milk.
  3. Mix well. When the mixture reaches a liquid or thick consistency you can add a few drops lemon juice into the mixture.
  4. Mix again. Apply the paste to your skin with your fingertips or a facial brush. Leave the face mask on for 15-30 minutes.
  5. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with clean towel.

Applying this face mask once or twice a week may help your acne and moisturize your skin. According to this recipe, scientific studies show that these ingredients may be beneficial for acne and skin care. Researchers believe that honey and yogurt have a high antioxidant capacity, which may rejuvenate the skin. In addition, introducing splashes of lemon juice may allow for antimicrobial as well as anti-oxidative properties.


What If You Want to Avoid the Yellow Stain?

But wait there are still alternatives to applying turmeric and not getting stained yellow. Another approach would be to mix turmeric into other healthy ingredients to apply on to your skin so that you can dilute the turmeric. For example, incorporating turmeric with other skin beneficial ingredients may lessen the chances of your skin staining.


White Turmeric

Another option is to use white turmeric. It sounds odd, but scientists have studied another plant in the same category called Curcuma zedoaria. Basically, it is white turmeric with most of the properties that turmeric has and is considered beneficial if mixed in herbal tea.

In summary, most of these scientific studies have been achieved under test tubes conditions and further human clinical trials are needed to better understand turmeric’s healing role. Please discuss the use of turmeric with a healthcare provider before using it on your skin or ingesting it.

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