If you’re like most people, then your main – or even only! – experience with turmeric is that mysterious golden powder tucked away on a back shelf in your kitchen. While it’s true that this spice does impart a nice flavor profile to a wide variety of foods, it’s actually oh-so-much more than that.
In fact, people have been using turmeric for thousands of years for not only flavor, but also a myriad of impressive health benefits. From treating gastric upset to addressing systemic inflammation, turmeric isn’t just the most common ingredient in most curries. It’s also a veritable wonderchild for wellness, too. (1)
And knowing how to use turmeric for skin health and beauty is a breeze. You can take oral supplements, mix the powder into your favorite hot tea, or even sprinkle it into a stir fry or curry. There’s seriously no wrong way to take it, and since the LD50 (the amount you’d have to take before it’s dangerous) is something like 5,000mg per kg, it’s completely safe, to boot. (2)
Curious about learning more about how to reap those turmeric benefits for skin health and beauty, but you’re not quite sure where to start? Keep reading friends, as we’re just getting started – and let’s just say that the benefits of using turmeric really do speak for themselves!
What is Turmeric?
So, what does turmeric do for your skin? Before we start analyzing those benefits of turmeric underneath the proverbial microscope, it’s important to first shed a bit of light on exactly what turmeric is and why it’s so impressive. A plant from the ginger family, many of its known benefits can be traced back to the active compound in it, called “curcumin.” (3)
As we mentioned before, people have been using turmeric to help address a variety of health problems for literally millennia, and it’s been studied pretty extensively by the medical and scientific community. And, as you can probably imagine, the general consensus on it is fairly rock solid.
But is turmeric as great as everyone seems to claim it to be? We think so, but you should always do your own research and we’re glad to see that you are. Let’s go ahead and break down the many benefits of using turmeric for skin health and beauty together!
Six Benefits of Turmeric for Skin
There’s not just one benefit of using turmeric for skin health and beauty, or just two. We’ve counted a staggering six turmeric benefits for skin that you can start enjoying today. Check them out and see if any of them resonate with your own personal skincare needs!
Benefit 1: It can help prevent aging.
Okay, so the basic elements that lend structure to your face are a combination of proteins called collagen and elastin. As we get older, though, our bodies produce less of these proteins. In turn, this can lead to skin laxity, sagging, and fine lines. (4)
However, studies have shown that curcumin can help promote collagen and elastin synthesis, returning that youthful bounce back to your face. It also blocks an enzyme called “elastase,” which has been shown to degrade elastin. Pretty awesome, right? (5 & 6)
(By the way, if you’re trying to increase your body’s collagen levels with a topical solution, a stem cell serum with hydrolyzed collagen can help completely transform your skin. Just be sure to follow it up with a stem cell moisturizer to really lock it in and get all of those great skincare benefits!)
Benefit 2: It can treat and prevent acne.
If you’re among the unlucky 50 million Americans who struggle with acne, then you’re probably quite motivated to get rid of it once and for all. The good news here? Turmeric has been shown to be pretty dang effective in treating it. (7)
The way it does this is multifold. For starters, it’s been shown to be both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. This means that if you have any active lesions on your face, it’ll reduce the swelling and irritation and kill the bacteria (C. acnes, we’re looking at you!) that caused the breakout in the first place. (8 & 9)
Then there’s the fact that it actually has fairly impressive exfoliating properties. That means that if you use turmeric on the regular, then you can actually help prevent acne from forming in the first place. When you consider how amazing it is for clear skin, then it only makes sense to include it in your skincare routine. (10)
(Psst… if you’re looking for some seriously legit exfoliation with a boost of turmeric extract, then you’ll want to reach for CLEARITY - our mandelic acid serum. This alpha hydroxy acid is super gentle yet super effective, removing dead skin and revealing a fresh and healthy layer beneath it. For a little extra oomph, an AHA mask can definitely take your skincare game to the next level.)
Benefit 3: It can lighten dark spots and treat hyperpigmentation.
If you’ve ever looked into the mirror and saw dark splotches on your face that weren’t there before, then congrats. You’re the unlucky recipient of a condition called “melasma.” Caused by a combination of factors such as UV exposure, heat, and hormonal changes, they can be tricky to treat. (11)
However, the active ingredients in turmeric have been shown to have anti-melanogenic properties. In the most basic of terms, this means that it can help fade those dark spots. If you’re prone to blemishes, it can also help get rid of the redness and pigmentation that can follow acne breakouts. (12)
Benefit 4: It can help banish under-eye circles.
On the subject of unwanted dark areas on your face, if you’re prone to dark circles under your eyes, then you’re going to love turmeric. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric has also been shown to help increase blood flow and circulation. (1)
This means that those dark and puffy crescents that form under your eyes? They’ll pack up their bags (no pun intended) and hit the road. You’ll be able to enjoy much brighter, more supple skin beneath your peepers.
Benefit 5: It can help brighten up dull skin.
When you think of some of the more common skin issues that you might be facing, a dull, tired complexion may not immediately come to mind. However, while it may not make you look older than you are or lead to congestion or breakouts, it can take a toll on your appearance.
Turmeric can also help lead to healthier more radiant skin. Because it’s brimming with antioxidants, it can help fight that free radical damage that can lead to a duller complexion. Combined with its pro-circulation properties and anti-inflammatory abilities, you’ll start to notice that healthy glow making its return when you catch your reflection or take a selfie. (1)
Benefit 6: It can help treat psoriasis and eczema.
Finally, the active compounds in turmeric have been shown to help reduce the appearance of skin plaques and redness. In addition to those anti-inflammatory perks that we keep singing the praises of, curcumin has also been shown to suppress a protein called “phosphorylase kinase (PhK),” the bad guy responsible for these outbreaks. (13)
When PhK can’t do its dirty work in your body, the itching and erythema will fade into oblivion. The end result? Much more healthy skin, without any of those tell-tale markers of irritation and scaling associated with these relatively common skin conditions.
Are There Any Risks to Be Aware Of?
While using turmeric is largely believed to be safe, there are a few things that you need to be aware of before you start supplementing with it. That way, if you do happen to have any contraindications (that is, something that may not agree with using it), you can make a more informed decision.
- The slight, but very real, risk of an allergic reaction. While rare, studies have shown that it can cause contact dermatitis. Some people can even develop anaphylaxis, so if you have allergies to anything in the ginger family, tread cautiously. (14, 15)
- The fact that the bioavailability of curcumin is somewhat low. This doesn’t mean that you’re not getting any of those coveted benefits, though. A diet high in probiotics, for instance, can help increase absorption, as can eating it with higher-fat foods or even a hearty shake of black pepper. (16, 17, & 18)
- There could be issues if you megadose while pregnant or breastfeeding. Because it’s been shown to affect your body’s estrogen levels, it’s better to stick with the normal amount found in foods if you’re currently expecting or have a new bundle of joy in tow. (19)
- It doesn’t agree with all types of medications. For instance, because curcumin has anticoagulant and blood thinning properties, it may not play nice with medications like Warfarin. When in doubt, ask your doctor, since it’s better to be safe than sorry. (20)
Ultimately, you need to bear in mind that enjoying those multiple turmeric benefits for skin health and beauty isn’t going to be a replacement for a balanced diet. As tempting as it is to want to load up on cake and candy and supplement with turmeric, it’s a supplement – and not a replacement – for a good diet.
Before starting any supplementation, though, we really want to emphasize that you should talk to your doctor. That way, you can rule out any potential issues that might impair your ability to fully enjoy all the awesomeness that comes from using it. But other than that, it should be smooth sailing.
For many of us, taking a more holistic approach to our healthcare is something that we like to strive for. While we’re not here to knock modern medicine – it’s definitely got its time and place and has saved countless lives – if you can find a natural alternative to conventional treatments, then why not give it a go?
Of course, using turmeric isn’t going to replace your current skincare routine, nor is it going to give you superhuman powers. It will make your food taste darn delicious, though, and it’ll also possibly hit you with a handful of amazing benefits in the process, too.
If you’ve been looking to step up your skincare game, then there’s nothing wrong with adding a little bit of spice to it (literally!). Even better, a shake or two of turmeric powder onto your favorite foods, or even mixed into some hot tea for some soothing sips, can add a bit of oomph to your beauty routine. Taking an acne vitamin that contains turmeric can be very helpful as well!
With so much to gain from incorporating it, and so little to lose, why not give it a try today? If you like it, and your body agrees with it, then you can titrate up your dosage of this winning supplement. And who knows… you just might find a new favorite recipe in the process, too!
Source 1: Turmeric, the Golden Spice - Herbal Medicine https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
Source 2: Safety and toxicological evaluation of demethylatedcurcuminoids; a novel standardized curcumin product https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19778247/
Source 3: Turmeric https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric
Source 4: Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1606623/
Source 5: Curcumin improves wound healing by modulating collagen and decreasing reactive oxygen species https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16770527/
Source 6: Curcumin inhibits tumor proliferation induced by neutrophil elastase through the upregulation of α1-antitrypsin in lung cancer https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22507634/
Source 7: Skin conditions by the numbers https://www.aad.org/media/stats-numbers
Source 8: Potential of Curcumin in Skin Disorders https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770633/
Source 9: Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27213821/
Source 10: Compositions and Methods of Treatment for Skin Conditions Using Extracts of Turmeric https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/patent/US2003113388
Source 11: StatPearls: Melasma https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459271/
Source 12: Curcumin inhibits melanogenesis in human melanocytes https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21584871/
Source 13: Drug-induced suppression of phosphorylase kinase activity correlates with resolution of psoriasis as assessed by clinical, histological and immunohistochemical parameters https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11069500/
Source 14: Curcumin: A Contact Allergen https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26705440/
Source 15: Ginger allergy https://www.aaaai.org/allergist-resources/ask-the-expert/answers/old-ask-the-experts/ginger-allergy
Source 16: The Problem of Curcumin and Its Bioavailability: Could Its Gastrointestinal Influence Contribute to Its Overall Health-Enhancing Effects? https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29438458/
Source 17: Highly Bioavailable Forms of Curcumin and Promising Avenues for Curcumin-Based Research and Application: A Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7144558/
Source 18: Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin: the Golden Pigment from Golden Spice https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3918523/
Source 19: Curcumin: a phytochemical modulator of estrogens and androgens in tumors of the reproductive system https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32217147/
Source 20: Curcumin, hemostasis, thrombosis, and coagulation https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29052850/