When it comes to enhancing our beauty, we often seek out expensive skincare products and elaborate beauty treatments. However, sometimes the best beauty solutions can be found right in our kitchen cabinets. One such hidden gem is turmeric, a golden spice with remarkable beauty-boosting properties. In this article, we will delve into the various ways turmeric can enhance your natural beauty and discuss precautions and everything you need to know before incorporating it into your beauty routine.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a dark orange spice sourced from the turmeric plant root, explains Dr. Tanuj Nakra, plastic surgeon and co-founder of AVYA Skincare. The spice has been prized in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years for its powerful anti-inflammatory health benefits and has molecularly-proven benefits to the skin including even skin tone, acne control, reduced redness/rosacea, and aging reversal, he says.
The Magic of Curcumin
At the heart of turmeric’s beauty benefits lies curcumin, a potent compound known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. Can these properties work synergistically to promote healthier skin, hair, and nails? Yes, says Rebecca Gadberry, a cosmetic scientist and co-host of the podcast Facially Conscious. “In general, both ingredients are strong anti-inflammatories and antioxidants that help protect skin from environmental stressors, air pollutants, redness and dehydration.”
Some turmeric extracts offer mild protection against UVB although the FDA does not recognize turmeric as a sunscreen ingredient, Gadberry explains. She says both turmeric and curcumin can have skin lightening benefits and protect elastin, the skin’s ‘stretchy’ protein, from degrading with age.
Below are some ways turmeric can beautify you.
Turmeric is renowned for its ability to rejuvenate the skin, leaving it radiant and glowing. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help calm and soothe various skin conditions, including acne, eczema, and rosacea. Curcumin also assists in reducing hyperpigmentation and dark spots, giving you a more even skin tone.
- Anti-Aging Effects
To harness these benefits, create a simple turmeric face mask by mixing a teaspoon of turmeric powder with equal parts honey and plain yogurt. Apply the paste to your face, let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse off gently. Regular use can reveal brighter, more youthful-looking skin.
Turmeric’s antioxidant properties are particularly effective in fighting the signs of aging. By neutralizing free radicals and reducing oxidative stress, curcumin helps to minimize wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. Additionally, it promotes the production of collagen, a key protein responsible for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness.
To experience the anti-aging effects of turmeric, consider incorporating it into your diet. Add a pinch of turmeric powder to your smoothies, sprinkle it on roasted vegetables, or enjoy it in a warming cup of turmeric tea.
Tired of dull, lifeless hair? Turmeric might be the answer you’ve been searching for. Its anti-inflammatory properties can soothe the scalp, reducing dandruff and itchiness. Moreover, it strengthens hair follicles, leading to healthier and stronger locks.
To create a nourishing hair mask, mix turmeric powder with coconut oil and massage it onto your scalp. Leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it off. Repeat this treatment once a week for lustrous, vibrant hair.
Should you use Turmeric topically, or as a supplement…or both?
Both, says Gadberry. Since the skin is last in line to get the benefit of anything that’s ingested, you’ll want to deliver these ingredients directly to your skin. Plus, turmeric and curcumin deliver the same benefits internally as they do topically so they’re good to have on board, she explains. “The only caution is if you’re on blood thinners. They both help thin the blood so it’s best to avoid them in your diet. Topically, though, they’re fine.”
Precautions and Tips
While turmeric offers numerous beauty benefits, it is essential to exercise caution and keep the following points in mind:
- Staining: Turmeric has a vibrant yellow color that can temporarily stain the skin. To prevent this, mix turmeric with other ingredients such as honey or yogurt when using it on your face. Additionally, avoid contact with light-colored clothing or surfaces.
- Patch Test: Before using turmeric on your face or body, conduct a patch test on a small area of skin to check for any allergic reactions or sensitivities.
- Dilution: Turmeric is potent, so always dilute it with other ingredients when using it topically. This helps prevent skin irritation and staining.
- Sun Sensitivity: Turmeric may increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Apply sunscreen before going outdoors and avoid prolonged sun exposure.
- Seek Professional Advice: If you have any pre-existing skin conditions or are undergoing medical treatment, consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional before incorporating turmeric into your beauty routine.
“Please be aware not all turmeric extracts and curcumin isolates are created equal,” says Gadberry. “Don’t think just seeing them on the label means they’re doing anything.” Simply making an extract or isolating a chemical like curcumin from the plant doesn’t mean it will have an effect on the skin, she adds. Her expert advice:
“The ingredient producer needs to make sure the plant chemicals that deliver results are in the extract at the same effective levels in each batch of extract. The curcumin producer needs to ensure the phytochemical doesn’t oxidize before it can be added to a product and be sure the ingredient can enter the skin to do its work. Because both are strong antioxidants, they need to be protected from oxidizing in the container before ever reaching your skin. The cheaper the product, the less likely the above will have been done correctly.”
- If you want to make a soothing mist or toner for sunburn or any type of skin redness (including the scalp), Gadberry suggests you try this: put one tea bag each of turmeric and green tea into just-boiled water. Wait 5 minutes then put the blend in an opaque bottle. The active elements in both teas should stay fresh for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. Apply as needed to calm irritation, redness, even razor burn. This mixture is also great on sore gums. Swish the freshly made tea around your mouth to rapidly calm any irritation.
- Nakra’s wonderful DIY turmeric-based beauty masque recipe: Mix turmeric and honey until the mixture is incorporated, and then blend with a 50/50 mixture of almond oil and full-fat yogurt. Apply to skin for 20 min and wash thoroughly. Pat dry and apply simple moisturizers to lock in the benefits.
- And a simple DIY turmeric face mask recipe that Lindsey Chastain of The Waddle and Cluck, a community celebrating the self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle of homesteading uses at home. This mask is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help brighten your skin, reduce redness, and even out your skin tone. After using this face my, my skin has that youthful, lit from within look. I love using this mask in the morning while I catch up on emails!
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of raw organic honey
1 teaspoon of milk or yogurt
- Mix the turmeric, honey, and milk or yogurt together in a bowl. Stir until you get a consistent paste.
- Before applying the mask, make sure your face is clean and dry.
- Apply the mask evenly across your face with a brush or your fingers, avoiding the eye area.
- Let the mask sit on your face for about 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse off the mask with warm water. You may need to wash your face a couple of times to remove the yellow tint that turmeric can leave behind.
- After rinsing off the mask, apply your favorite moisturizer.
Please note: Turmeric can stain your skin and clothes, so be careful when applying and removing the mask. I always wear a dark-colored bathrobe when using this mask! Also, if you have sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to do a patch test first to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction to the mask. Remember, everyone’s skin is different, so what works for one person might not work for another. It’s always a good idea to consult with a dermatologist before trying new skincare treatments.