You may already eating it as part of your daily meal or adding it to your morning glass of milk, but don’t overlook the skincare benefits of turmeric. The fragrant orange powder that is ubiquitous in Indian cuisine, Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic tradition has been tapped for all its benefits. This is why we slather brides with turmeric paste before their wedding day—the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ingredient helps to reduce the appearance of scars while rendering skin radiant.
All the skincare benefits of turmeric
The benefits of turmeric come from its active ingredient, curcumin, which is able to suppress specific stimuli in the immune system, therefore making it beneficial for inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis. It also helps wounds heal faster; if you get a scratch or pick a zit, curcumin can help by decreasing oxidation and lowering the stress response. Some studies have even shown that it can decrease UV damage due to its antioxidant properties, which is why it feels cool and calming to apply on a sunburn or a heat rash. Plus, it is able to quell free radicals that cause ageing, which is why it aids in maintaining collagen levels and moisture levels (therefore reducing the risk of wrinkles and fine lines). While turmeric can also be an important ingredient to fight acne or irritation on the face, especially for sensitive skin types, curcumin is said to be able to inhibit the tyrosinase enzyme, which is responsible for creating dark spots from sun damage or hyperpigmentation.
When taken orally, research is showing that turmeric has a prominent effect on inflammatory diseases like heart disease and cancer. Since it stimulates bile flow from the gallbladder into the digestive tract, it is able to improve digestion levels—which, as most doctors now believe, is a gateway to better, glowing skin. Since a build-up of toxins can lead to sallow, dull, irritated skin, turmeric’s purifying qualities are directly related to a happier visage. New research is now showing that curcumin can also increase microcirculation, which leaves the skin bouncier and brighter.
How to include turmeric in your DIY skincare routine
If you have active breakouts, mix raw honey with turmeric powder to sooth skin and reduce redness. The honey provides a moist environment for the pimple to heal, and the turmeric goes to work to flatten the zit. For hyperpigmentation, where one area of the skin is darker than the rest, mix turmeric with yoghurt and lemon juice to brighten the area noticeably. If you’ve just travelled to a particularly pollution-filled region or live in a busy city, turmeric’s antioxidant properties are best imbibed in a face mask. Mix turmeric with almond flour and water to create a thick paste and let it sit on the skin till it dries. If you need to reduce the swelling from a popped zit, burn or scratch, pair aloe vera with turmeric for a truly soothing experience.
But mask with caution. Using too much turmeric on the face can leave it looking slightly yellow, so don’t experiment with the spice before an important date or a big presentation at work. For a foolproof way to use the spice, use it in the form of a turmeric-infused skincare product, like a moisturiser, cleanser or toner.
The best skincare products that include the goodness of turmeric
If mixing things around in the kitchen is not your forte (or you don’t want to risk yellow-tinged fingernails), the Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque truly lives up to its name. It leaves tired skin visibly brightened, sans any discolouration. In the case of the Kora Organics Turmeric 2-in-1 Brightening & Exfoliating Mask, it helps to soften skin and reduce the appearance of discolouration, so it is a great alternative for acid-based masks that can be too harsh for sensitive skin.
Upgrade your cleansing routine with the Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Pure Luxury Cleansing Butter, which employs turmeric to soothe dry skin, while honey, chamomile and pure gold coax skin into a brighter, more glowy version of itself. If you need a simple cleanser for acne-prone skin, the Kama Ayurveda Turmeric & Myrrh Skin Brightening Soap cleans the skin while lightening acne scars and dark marks. The Clarins Double Serum is reformulated to include turmeric to fight early signs of ageing like fine lines along with hydrating ingredients to leave skin looking and feeling supple.
Scroll through the gallery below for our edit of the beauty products you can add to your everyday skincare routine to insert a dose of turmeric.
Kama Ayurveda Turmeric & Myrrh Skin Brightening Soap
Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque
Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Pure Luxury Cleansing Butter
Clarins Double Serum
Kora Organics Turmeric 2-in-1 Brightening & Exfoliating Mask