Turmeric is a popular ancient spice that is used as a flavoring and coloring agent in food items and as a medicinal herb for treating several disorders
Turmeric has been used in Asian cuisine and medicine for centuries to treat various conditions.
Recent studies have focused on the benefits turmeric offers to fight infections, reduce inflammation, and treat some cancers, digestive, liver problems and such.
Since it possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, turmeric has also been used for thousands of years to treat various skin diseases and heal wounds.
Turmeric is available as an ingredient in ointments, capsules, tincture and fluid extracts.
There are many ways that turmeric can be used as home remedies to treat various skin conditions.
The purpose of this post is to provide information on how turmeric can be used for skin.
Turmeric Benefits for the Skin
Skin is the largest organ of the body and is the first line of defense for our internal systems.
It protects the internal body from water loss or dehydration, heat, allergens, microbes and all the other environmental and chemical compounds that can harm us.
It harbors beneficial microorganisms and helps our body stay healthy. It also makes vitamin D when exposed to sun.
It is the major player in the regulation of the body temperature and helps us feel things like heat, pain, cold etc.
Skin is one of the most important parts of our body and one of the most plagued ones too. It encounters all sorts of stressors to protect the inside of our body. Its health not just ensures the protection of the body but also the status of our appearance.
Many things such as dust, sun, harmful microbes, fungi, genetic and immune problems etc. can cause disorders of the skin. The irritants can cause clogging in the skin pores or activate immune system that may lead to swelling, inflammation and many other problems as well.
Disorders such as hives, acne, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, corn, dandruff, cellulites, dermatitis and many more are commonly found around the world and their prevalence is based usually on the external environmental conditions and genetics of a particular area.
As mentioned, turmeric has powerful antioxidant and healing properties and is very efficient is treating a number of skin disorders; as trivial as redness to as grave as skin cancer.
1. Helps in healing of cuts / wounds etc.
Topical turmeric ointments, lotions, creams and masks can help reduce localized inflammation
caused by acne, psoriasis, eczema and burns.
It has anti-bacterial properties that help treat wounds and hasten healing, therefore preventing spread of infection.
Turmeric and aloe vera combine to make a soothing paste for sunburned skin. It can also help bruising of the skin.
Turmeric and manuka honey paste is known to do wonders on cuts and wounds. It is also known to reduce the scaring of the wound.
Read more a detailed article on turmeric for wounds here>
2. Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancers.
Several factors such as UV rays, chemicals and genetics affect the occurrence of this disorder that starts in the top epidermal layer of the skin and spreads in the underlying layer.
Cancer of the skin not just affects the inner skin makeup but also deteriorates the appearance. The skin is affected by lesions and inflammation . Turmeric has been shown to provide relief not just on the outside of the skin in the affected area but also helps reduce the tumor on the inside.
Turmeric has powerful antioxidant activities which helps reduce the growth of tumor cells of the skin.
When applied outside on the skin, turmeric reduces inflammation and pain in the affected cancerous area.
All these properties of turmeric combined and used together in the form of ointments, masks, and edible food agents help in relieving skin cancer effectively.
What it means: turmeric, through its antioxidant, anti inflammatory and pain relieving properties, helps in reducing tumor growth and lesions, swelling and other symptoms induced by this disorder , .
3. Helps in Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disorder in which the immune system dysfunctions and causes skin lesions with white colored patches. It occurs majorly on the elbows, knees, scalp, back of the ears and neck but can occur in any area of the body.
In this disease, the immune system causes the inner skin cells to rise up to the surface of the skin very fast. A chronic version of this disorder is called arthritic psoriasis in which not just the skin but the joints are also affected .
Controlling these cells helps reduce their attack on the skin.
Those with psoriasis can ensure they add turmeric in their daily cooking.
This can be in tea, milk, curries, stews, roast vegetables, eggs or as a general seasoning.
As a nighttime soothing treatment for psoriasis, mix turmeric powder with purified water and apply to inflamed areas. Leave this for a few minutes and wash off. It is important that turmeric should be of best quality for this to work.
What it means: curcumin in turmeric, when consumed orally, is very effective in managing the immune system and reducing the symptoms of psoriasis.
Applying turmeric on the lesions of psoriasis helps alleviate the pain, inflammation and other problems in the affected area.
4. Helps in Treating Eczema
Eczema is a term, collectively used for a number of conditions that cause swelling, bruises, itching, redness and inflammation in the skin.
Also, called dermatitis, eczema is usually caused by irritants, stress, allergens, genetic makeup or other diseases. It is not contagious and is common in children .
The most common type of eczema is atopic eczema that causes dry and itchy skin leading to cuts and breaks .
Though turmeric has been shown to alleviate many types of eczema, most research and scientific evidence is available for atopic dermatitis and other common variants of this disease.
Turmeric has been shown to reduce the skin irritation, rashes, itching, swelling, inflammation and redness associated with most types of eczema.
It has the power to restore the hydration in the skin affected with atopic eczema and prevent the drying and scaling of the same.
Read detailed article in turmeric benefits for eczema here>
What it means: turmeric, through its soothing and healing effects, reduces the inflammation, itching and other symptoms of eczema and helps restore the original skin texture , .
5. Helps in Acne
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions that affect millions of people worldwide.
Inflammatory acne can ruin one’s appearance and can affect work and social life. Home remedies using turmeric can benefit acne.
There are pastes and masks using turmeric, which when applied to acne affected areas can provide relief.
Turmeric has the potential to kill the P.acnes bacteria that cause acne and reduce the amount of oil produced by the sebaceous glands.
Specifically, turmeric mixed with glycerin or vitamin E and applied overnight on the acne has shown to dramatically reduce the size of the same .
When combined with eggs, yogurt, honey and several other proven agents that are healthy for skin, and applied regularly, it prevents appearance of acne and also improves the texture of the skin.
The scientific reason shown behind acne reducing action of turmeric is its antioxidant property. It reduces the amount of sebum secretion , controls the microbial growth on the skin , cleans up the pores and combats the reactive oxygen species that harm the skin.
Read detailed article on turmeric for acne here>
What it means: turmeric has been scientifically proven to control oil and microbial growth on the skin. It also shows antioxidant activity that helps reduce acne and prevent their future occurrence.
Using turmeric in masks, while washing face and in diet helps overcome the problem of acne .
6. Other skin issues (dry skin, inflammation, redness, etc.)
Dry skin is caused due to excessive usage of medicated soaps and cosmetics, the sun and wind. When skin becomes dry, it feels rough and can even develop cracks.
These cracks will begin to itch. Itching can lead to sores and bleeding. Allergic skin reactions can be caused by allergens in plants or chemicals, food or certain medications.
Severe allergies must be referred to your doctor immediately. For mild skin allergies and dry skin, your doctor could recommend turmeric ointment to be applied on the cracked skin.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that relieve swelling, inflammation and redness. Wounds heal faster and itchiness reduces with a topical application of turmeric.
Its anti inflammatory action and soothing effect helps hydrate the skin and keep it healthy. Consuming turmeric with food helps cleanse the body internally and prevent the skin problems from arising on the surface.
Ways to use turmeric for the skin
There are various ways you can use turmeric for skin health.
Here are a few popular ones, if you need any more details on them these are discussed under various other various other articles on the site.
Turmeric masks help to rejuvenate the skin and treat acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
It can reduce the incidences of pimples, redness, itchiness and inflammation, which are the different symptoms that these skin conditions cause.
This is a basic recipe using turmeric, which can benefit your skin:
Add 4 tbsp turmeric powder to 1 tbsp milk and 4 tbsp raw honey to form a smooth paste. Apply this to clean and dry skin, leave for 20 minutes and wash off.
As an alternate, you can mix turmeric with olive or sesame oil in sufficient quantities to make a paste.
I have written a detailed article on various kinds of masks using turmeric. You can check it out here>
Apart from tasting delicious, turmeric tea offers many health benefits especially in reducing instances of Alzheimer’s disease.
Since it has anti-oxidant properties, turmeric tea could also help improve the appearance of your skin.
Check out its detailed recipe here>
Turmeric milk provides a natural cure for many ailments.
It is safe to use and delicious to drink.
It can fight free radicals that damage the skin and cause it to lose glow and elasticity. This is due to the anti-oxidant properties that turmeric possesses.
Turmeric combined with milk can also make a soothing lotion to reduce redness of the skin or patches caused by different skin conditions.
Check out turmeric Milk’s recipe here>
Turmeric taken as a spice has no side effects but excessive turmeric can cause some issues. Thus it is best to understand that there are some dosage guidelines for turmeric too. So what is the guidelines?
If you are taking 1.1.5 tsp of turmeric a day you have nothing to worry about. You can do this without any fear of side effects etc.
I do not recommend supplements.
Precautions while using turmeric for skin
Apart from staining of the skin and clothes, turmeric does not produce any side effects when used on the skin. of course I am talking about a good quality powder.
Some tips to find a genuine turmeric powder>
When taken internally, excess of turmeric can cause diarrhea or nausea.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women must not ingest turmeric for it can stimulate the uterus.
Others who are due to have surgery must avoid turmeric for it is an anti-coagulant.
Those who have gallbladder problems or are taking anti-coagulants or anti-platelet drugs must inform their doctor for turmeric supplements can interact with them.
Turmeric that was originally used only in Indian kitchens and as an ingredient in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine is now gaining popularity in the Western world for the many benefits it offers to treat various skin conditions.
Even those who do not have any of the above ailments can benefit from the medicinal properties that this ‘Indian Saffron’ possesses to halt aging, rejuvenate skin and enjoy glowing healthy skin.
And, as I always keep saying, 1) make sure the turmeric powder you purchase is pure and preferably organic, free of pesticides. 2) while applying turmeric on skin do a patch test.
If you have used turmeric for skin disorders, please share your thoughts using comments or just email me! I would love to hear them.