3 Ways to Use Turmeric for Eczema & Itching + Why it Works

Eczema refers to a medical condition characterized by inflammation and irritation of the skin. Atopic eczema and atopic dermatitis are the common forms of eczema.

It is often found in people who have a tendency to develop allergic reactions to certain compounds.

The condition generally improves in children as they age but in few, it continues for the rest of the life.

However, the condition can be kept under control by using certain natural remedies.

Use of turmeric for eczema and itching relieves symptoms easily without any side effects.

Majority of them say that it works better than the medicated lotions and creams.

Turmeric is one of the safe herbs used extensively in the treatment of skin disorders. Turmeric is a root of the plant Curcuma longa, a perennial plant that grows extensively in tropical regions of South Asia.

The active ingredient curcumin present in turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory and bactericidal property. It lowers the expression of enzymes responsible for inflammation in the body and treats inflammation of skin associated with eczema.

Please feel free to use the Table of Contents below to jump to the relevant section in the article.

Use of turmeric for Eczema and Itching

Turmeric can be used both internally and externally to treat eczema and itching. Here are a few ways to use turmeric for eczema and itching.

Using Turmeric Milk for eczema and itching

You can consume Turmeric milk or Golden Milk to relieve pain and inflammation in eczema. Turmeric has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Traditionally turmeric milk is used as a home remedy for boosting immunity. It is also a great way to detox your body.

Please check our recipe for Turmeric Milk here. You can consume 1-2 cups of turmeric milk per day.

Using Turmeric Paste for eczema and itching

For skin conditions like eczema, topical application of turmeric is best suited and may provide faster relief.

Before topical application, it is advised to do a patch test to check for any allergic reactions.

Take a sufficient amount of turmeric powder and mix it with oil, preferably coconut/olive oil and apply to the affected area. Leave it for around 30 minutes and wash the area with cool water. This can be repeated 2-3 times a day. Read: Topical turmeric for Inflammation

Taking Turmeric orally for eczema and itching

In case of repeated episodes of eczema or for severe conditions, including turmeric as an anti-inflammatory food in your diet can be of great help.

Golden paste is an excellent way to incorporate turmeric in your diet. It combines turmeric with black pepper and healthy fats which enhance absorption. Find the recipe for the golden paste made from turmeric powder here. Here is the recipe to make the paste from fresh turmeric roots.

The ideal dosage of turmeric differs with every individual.

Initially, start with small doses of ¼ to ½ tsp turmeric per day for a week. If you do not observe any gastric discomfort, the dose can be gradually increased ¼ to ½ tsp a week. The suggested dose of Golden Paste is 1 tsp 2-3 times a day.

If you plan to take turmeric supplements, please consult your health practitioner about the same. Supplements should not be taken on an empty stomach and close to the time of taking other medicines. 

You can check our post on Best Turmeric/Curcumin Supplement Brands for more details.

How does turmeric help with eczema and skin irritation?

A lot of research has been done with regards to the use of turmeric in treating skin related disorders. No study as such which focuses on turmeric’s effect on reducing itching but eczema is a symptom of almost all skin conditions and turmeric has a number of pharmacological properties to reduce it.

Turmeric is a herb, spice or now one of the best nutraceuticals. This is due to its bioactive component, curcumin. Turmeric oil also has a therapeutic property.

1. Turmeric aids in treating skin diseases

Earlier one of the primary uses of turmeric was to treat the skin as a cosmetic or medication. There are several reasons  why it was used for this purpose:

  • It reduces skin infection.
  • It reduces inflammation.
  • It combats skin infection.
  • It reduces dyspigmentation.
  • It protects skin from pollutants and chemicals.
  • It has an anti-allergic activity.

One of the best properties of turmeric with reference to dermatology is its skin regenerating potential.

As an antioxidant, it prevents damage caused by the reactive oxygen species and it downregulates the activity of the vital proteins behind the inflammation.

By altering the various biochemical processes it speeds up wound healing and renews skin layers.

UCLA researchers state that curcumin gel rapidly heals burns or photodamaged skin with little or no side effects.

Plaque psoriasis is a condition characterized by reddening and scaling of the skin.

Turmeric gel is found to be efficient in reducing the inflammation causing psoriasis without causing side effects and it is recommended as an add-on to conventional therapy.  (Read Turmeric for psoriasis)

Formulations containing turmeric have been found to be helpful in reducing itching and other symptoms in eczema patients.  Topical application of nanocurcumin formulations is also being investigated for the treatment of skin disorders.

What does this mean?
Turmeric, as well as curcumin, have multiple modes of acting against skin diseases and clinical studies have investigated its role in treating scleroderma, psoriasis etc.Topical formulations of curcumin are being devised to help in treatment of skin inflammation.

2. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory agent

Most of you who have read our previous articles will find this one as a common point mentioned with respect to most health conditions.

So curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and it does so by downregulating the activity of inflammatory chemicals and immune cells.

It is anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity is comparable to that of regular painkillers and steroids. (Read Why Turmeric Beats Many Steroidal Medications Hands Down)

Researchers at Rutgers University studied the effect of curcumin on inhibiting experimental conditions for tumor formation on the skin. An interesting finding reported in this study was that topical application of curcumin inhibited the activity of enzymes involved in inflammation of the skin.

End-stage kidney disease patients suffer a number of complications one of them being uremic pruritis.

This is sort of a rash which develops on the skin and can be acute or chronic.

Treatment with turmeric in such patients is found to reduce such irritation and reduce inflammatory biomarkers responsible for this condition.

Curcumin (1g per day) is found to reduce chemical exposure induced skin irritation by virtue of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.

What does this mean?
Eczema is skin inflammation and curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. It helps in controlling itching and rashes even if the cause of inflammation is due to some other health condition or chemical exposure.

3. It has anti-allergen activity

eczemaimage2Mast cells are a type of immune cells that are involved in allergic or hypersensitivity response.

When an allergen or foreign body attaches to our antibodies, these mast cells are activated and in order to fight this allergen, the mast cells release inflammatory chemicals.

One such chemical is histamine which mediates allergic response.

An animal study was conducted where the effect of curcumin on such an allergic reaction in the skin was assessed.

Curcumin significantly reduced mast cell activation and histamine release thereby demonstrating anti-allergic activity.

Lee et al have also confirmed this activity and found it to be useful in treating atopic dermatitis and allergic conditions.
C.aromatica, a related species of turmeric (C.longa) is proven to have an anti-allergic effect.

Curcumin, among the curcuminoids, is the most potent in reducing allergic activity and reduces scratching and itching that occurs in such cases.

However, a few researchers have noted down cases where curcumin itself has resulted in an allergic reaction.

What does this mean?
Turmeric helps in reducing allergic responses which could cause skin rashes.

4. It has anti-microbial activity

Turmeric has broad spectrum anti-microbial property.  This could be of use in curbing any infection that is causing eczema or skin rash.

Turmeric creams containing turmeric oil have anti-fungal activity as strong as that of ketoconazole, a common anti-fungal medication.

What does this mean?
Bacterial and fungal infections can cause eczema. Turmeric powder and oil have excellent anti-microbial activity.

5. It can help with cancer-related dermatitis

Radiation dermatitis or radiation-induced skin inflammation is a common side effect of radiotherapy.

A study was conducted wherein breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy were given curcumin to reduce the severity of radiation dermatitis.

They were given either 2g of curcumin thrice a day or placebo throughout their course of radiotherapy.

At the end of the treatment, curcumin showed a significant reduction in radiation dermatitis compared to placebo and fewer patients in the curcumin group experienced peeling off of the upper layer of skin.

A cream containing turmeric and sandalwood oil is found to significantly reduce radiodermatitis within 7 weeks of treatment.

Kuttan et al reported that alcoholic extract of turmeric or curcumin ointment when applied topically reduced itching in almost all cases of skin cancer.  Lesion size and pain was reduced in patients and these therapeutic effects lasted for over several months.

What does this mean?
Curcumin therapy is proven to be effective in treating radiotherapy induced skin inflammation and also helpful as an add-on therapy in skin cancer.


Turmeric in diet is absolutely safe. Turmeric supplements should be taken with care. (Read Side effects of Turmeric)

If you are taking blood thinners, turmeric supplements should be avoided. Turmeric can be included in diet in small doses. If suffering from a bleeding disorder consult a doctor and herbalist or naturopath before taking turmeric. (Read Is turmeric a Blood Thinner? Will it increase Bleeding Risk?)

Turmeric supplements should be avoided in case of pregnancy and lactation. Discontinue use of turmeric supplements 2 weeks prior to surgery.

Turmeric supplements should be avoided in case of gall bladder obstructions. (Should you take turmeric if you have gallstones?)

Turmeric may interact with certain medications like stomach acid reducing drugs, diabetes medications, blood thinners. Avoid taking turmeric supplements at the same time as medicines.

If suffering from gout or kidney stones, limit intake of turmeric as a spice. (Read Does turmeric cause kidney stones? Is turmeric safe in gout?)

Consult a health practitioner before taking turmeric supplements.

Cases of turmeric topical application allergy have also been reported.  It could happen that the turmeric powder you are using has additives. You might want to do a patch test in that case.

If harrowed by turmeric stains here is how you can take care of them.

In case you would like some help with finding good brands, you can have a look at this.


Turmeric has been used traditionally for treating various skin conditions including eczema. Many research studies have also pointed out the possible therapeutic action of turmeric and curcumin in eczema.

If you have used turmeric for treating eczema, please share your experience in the comments section below.


63 thoughts on “3 Ways to Use Turmeric for Eczema & Itching + Why it Works”

  1. Turmeric oil made with bermuda grass would be a CATASTROPHE for me as I am highly allergic to it. Is there a different way to make it?

    • Hi. You can also make a paste of turmeric powder and olive or coconut oil and apply it topically to the affected region. This combination should also help in eczema. Leave it on for minimum 15 minutes and wash with cool water. Turmeric may leave stains on your clothes so do take care. Also conduct a patch test first.

  2. i had terrible eczema on right hand fingers especially…the itch was terrible at night….yesterday i my hand in turmeric warm water for 5 mins the itching at night was hardly there….pls make sure to get the ceylon one from a srilankan shop the other brands are not as potent or effective

  3. I used a tumeric paste last night on a badly staf infected area on my arm…. wow the staff has gone and my arm feels soft and healed… lots better to yesterday! Will be trying again

  4. Hi My three month baby is suffering from eczema on his face and sometimes it’s oozy. Can I use Neem and turmeric on the face ? I am concerned that the skin is delicate.

    • Hi. We are not sure about neem ( neem oil specifically) but traditionally in India turmeric powder is mixed with dairy cream (‘malai’ in Hindi) and used topically for babies. Do not use any topical application without a patch test. However, it is best to consult a doctor about this.

  5. Thank you for the article. I developed atopic eczema flares on my neck and do not want to use topical medications. I have used turmeric before for my a dry problem I had on my face because it was recommended by my doctor. I mixed turmeric powder and 100% plain greek yogurt spreading it on my face as a mask. It has helped moisturize my skin deeply and after a day my dry outbreaks were treated.

  6. And what lot of people don’t knowing is that milk or related milkproducts also yoghurt is nog good if you eczema of psoriasis .
    So if you use milk or yoghurt try to stop des months and see whats happens.

  7. So glad to have found this page!
    Question — does the cooking / heating in water or oil “activate” turmeric somehow?
    I am asking specifically with regards to making a topical paste. Also, curious — is it safe to use one part coconut oil, one part tea tree oil for the mixture?

  8. I have very sensitive allergic skin and the Made from Earth Pure Aloe Treatment is in my opinion excellent it is not greasy and soothes the skin initially taking away the itch, a little goes a long way and worth paying a bit extra for a cream that works. This is also steroid free so you can use on the face and on a daily basis.

  9. Black pepper is an irritant. The best pepper to use is cayenne pepper only a small amount
    Is needed. Cayenne pepper can also halt in progress heart attack. Take straight on tongue. Will burn but not cause break down of tissue like black pepper.

    • Black pepper if taken with meals does not irritate gastric lining. Also black pepper has a compound called piperine which ensures better absorption of turmeric and this is not present in cayenne pepper. Therefore it is advised to take turmeric with black pepper.

    • I would recommend using pipalli (long grain black pepper) instead of regular black pepper. Black pepper is A bit harsh on the system.

  10. I was so sick of itchy skin that I would try anything but I now use the Aloe & Jojoba Therapy from Made From Earth. It has calmed my itchy skin it has a nice smell not over powering.

  11. My younger son was suffering from eczema for a long time, I tried everything, Vaseline to coconut oil to all kind of cream,wasting a lot of money. as Indian families we use turmeric for a lot of our dishes, and in past i have heard of the benefits of turmeric, for kids their extreme dryness or too much moisture cause them to itch, for now overnight i use water and turmeric and make it paste and massage it in the fore arm where my kids eczema and i tie it with a dry cloth, just because turmeric has a strong yellow color and it can mess up the bed. some time if the skin is very dry, i mix turmeric with cold pressed coconut oil. important thing is coconut oil has its own healing power its only good if it cold pressed , when i was kid whenever we had an open wound my mom used to rub little coconut oil in the skin, miraculously next day the wound would heal – it had an antibacterial protection as well. try these it might help.

  12. I have develeoped adult onset eczema on my arms and hands. I mix tumeric with water to make a paste. I apply this paste to the areas and the itching is gone. It’s like a miracle. really. An older sister passed away a few years ago and was plagued HORRIBLY by eczema; I wish I could have shared this remedy with her.

    • Yes topical turmeric application benefits in eczema. You can also make this paste in coconut/olive oil since these oils are good for the skin. Conduct a patch test prior.

  13. I had eczema 5years back. It was a dry itching eczema.But i cured it through allopathic medicine. But it doesn’t completely went away . It again appeared in the tip of my penis . So i was shy to go to a doctor. Then i bought all the medicines that i used before but this time it didn’t work. So i made a paste using 100gm sesame oil ,100gm neem leaves oil , &50 gm turmeric powder . & i have applied it yesterday before bed. & when i observed today morning my eczema skin seems clear than before. & i hope within 1 week my eczema will went away.it’s been 1year i was depressed about my eczema. But now i have got all my hopes back.

  14. Hi all, I have some kinda rash which I developed when I was 7 years old and it grew into a Thick patch like lichen in my ankles and top of my feet… getting it treated from then but will try no luck… even injected tricot for 8 weeks and the patch dried up… and left with just few marks of white patch… but for the last one year I patch has reappeared and it’s itchy and bleeding… I read about turmeric and trying it tropically… itchiness has reduced and I do see some difference in the patch… hope it’s working…

  15. .i have recently developed a allergic rash due to juicing,it was extremely itchy and inflamed,
    it almost sent me crazy through lack of sleep then i read this and decided to give it a go i mixed olive oil with turmeric and spread all over rash, repeated this a couple of times before bed washed it all off and spread coconut oil on rash.this has calmed everything down ive had very little itching so far to day and a lot less inflammation.
    hope this is of some help to someone.

    • Sylvia, thank you for sharing your experience. Turmeric, coconut oil and olive oil are extremely beneficial for skin and turmeric is anti-allergic agent.

  16. I love turmeric! In addition to incorporating it into my cooking, I’ve started using it topically as well.

    I’m treating my eczema by sipping hot water throughout the day to hydrate and with warm oil treatments (my eczema is from excessive dryness and dehydration – there are several different types of eczema with different causes and different treatments – look up treating eczema with Ayurveda). Warm oil massage treatments allow the skin to be moisturizer, nourished, loved, and increases circulation and warmth. My eczema is less dry and flaky now, has stopped spreading, and the area is slowly getting smaller – I’ve been doing the oil treatment for about a week now. But it has still been itchy. The itchiness has plagued me for years! Drives me crazy! Today I pressed my finger into turmeric powder and then gently pressed it into the wound. Burned a tiny bit at first and then itch STOPPED! The redness and swelling also stopped.

    Today I also mixed some turmeric powder into ghee and used it as a face mask. I was worried it would stain my skin yellow but it did not. It washed off in the shower (with just warm water) and my skin looked so amazing I skipped foundation makeup today!! I also used the turmeric powder in my morning sesame oil swish, and brushed my teeth with the turmeric powder, then brushed normally (with Toms licorice toothpaste) and my teeth did get whiter. I’ve been oil pulling every day for just a couple weeks now (I rotate sesame oil and coconut oil as they both have different benefits), and my teeth have been noticeably getting whiter, stronger, less sensitive and my mouth feels cleaner all day. Adding the turmeric today was even more noticeably effective!

  17. Theracurmin by natural factors contains turmeric for inflammatory symptoms in the body. The way the product is done taking turmeric internally each day is safe.

  18. I have been taking a teaspoon of turmeric in water every morning, and recently found out about adding pepper to potentiate it. The problem is, I developed this horrific skin rash on my hands, arms, feet, legs, shoulders, and chest… I tried all kinds of ointments, the best of which contained betnovate, combined with 25 mg of hydroxyzine 4 times daily. Hydroxyzine is like Claritin on steroids and it knocked me flat on my ass for the first day I used it. But it worked sort of, as the itch abated, but that itchy sensitivity did not go away until I stopped taking turmeric.

    I suspect it was the pepper that makes the curcumin bio-available which caused the reaction. So now I have no itch, but I also don’t have the protection afforded by turmeric, which I want, and I intend to have it back. Perhaps taking a much smaller dose multiple times a day, or just using it in cooking may solve the dilemma.

    If you have had experience with this, please share it…

    • buy the roots of turmeric and grind it at home. Sometimes the turmeric powder of market have yellow colour mixed in it.

    • I put a teaspoon of turmeric in my morning smoothie. I too recently read about pepper helping in making the curcumin in the turmeric more bio-available. I started adding a teaspoon of black pepper corns to my smoothie. I have since developed a rash. In an effort to solve this rash issue, I have come across this web site. Perhaps I have found my answer?

  19. Under uses where it says “Mix about ½ tsp of turmeric in milk and have it to treat bacterial infections responsible for redness and itching.” Is this solution supposed to be consumed or applied topically to the affected areas? Also, what kind of milk should be used? I have read elsewhere that dairy milk can contribute to eczema so I was curious if you mix turmeric with almond milk, rice milk, etc. instead? Thank you for your time.

  20. I’ve had Bad eczema for 20 years. I got pancreatitis and started using turmeric for inflammation of the pancreas and my eczema completely went away!!!!

    • Pls can u tell me how u used the tumeric as my daughter 11 years old has been suffering from eczema since she was a baby nothing seems to work lack of sleep makin her depressed

      • There s a product called Turmeric Golden Milk that I am launching for this problem specifically.
        Will be out in the market soon. Around may.
        Do try it as it is very palatable n delicious too. All natural. The brand is Tea’affaire and is not yet launched. Waiting for food safety licences to come through.

    • Hi, I too have had eczema for way too long. How did you use the tumeric? Paste applied to skin…eating it??

    • I also had eczema for last 20 years how I can get rid from this I use everything for this but nothing is cure my problem

  21. I discovered turmeric paste whilst travelling Hawaii. Taking half a teaspoon three times a day it was the first thing that worked in years. Although recently it stopped working and my eczema is getting worse

  22. i didn’t know that it can also treat eczema, thank you ! i already tried turmeric facial mask and the result ? it softens my skin… with yellow stain 😀

    • I was having problem with my enzyma for a few months. I tried many self experiments and ideas from the Internet. I tried honey, lemon, vinegar, sodium bicarbonate, hydrogen peroxide, zambug, tiger balm. Lemon and vinegar helps but that was before I got a curcuma balm. I can testify that turmeric is best for me. It completely cleared my rashes and itch.

    • Tumeric actually causes rashes if used in excess.
      My advice only take about 3-4 times a week. Let your body have some rest.


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