There is no denying ginger’s cousin turmeric is pretty powerful when it comes to helping our bodies. For thousands of years, it has been used for a multitude of medicinal purposes, aiding everything from heart disease to arthritis.
The question is, which turmeric benefits are proven?
Traditional Chinese medical practitioner, Emilia Herting says, “In treatments, turmeric can be used topically for a variety of skin disorders, including skin inflammation.”
So maybe there is something in these superhero claims? We quizzed the experts to find out…
Turmeric benefits: Good or gimmick?
We look at some of the most common questions about turmeric benefits when it comes to skincare.
Is turmeric good for my skin?
The first thing we need to address is how you’re using turmeric. Ingesting turmeric and applying it topically will deliver different results. The short answer is that it depends on a few factors. So, before you mix a dollop of the orange spice into your moisturiser, read on to find out the best way to reap it’s benefits.
Can turmeric help with acne?
“Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) is a fantastic anti-inflammatory ingredient”, says skincare expert Marisa Schwab. With its naturally calming properties, Curcumin has been proven to reduce inflammation, which means it may help with the redness of a spot. So, if you’ve got a pulsing pimple it could be worth dabbing some on. Skincare that contains the active may also be effective at calming spot-prone skin.
Emilia adds, “In Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, turmeric has been widely used for acne. It’s known to help fade acne scars by decreasing redness. Not only will the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric help, but so will its antibacterial properties’.
Home remedy: Turmeric face mask for acne
Try this turmeric face mask recipe if you’re suffering from acne. It will soothe, smooth and reduce redness.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of raw honey with 1 tablespoon turmeric powder.
- Add a few drops of lemon juice and mix into a thick paste – it will have a similar consistency to a mild scrub.
- Apply to the skin, focusing on your T-zone and breakout areas and use as an exfoliater.
- Rinse off with warm water after 10-15 minutes.
If making a DIY mask seems too much of a fuss, you can buy one over the counter.
Turmeric is extremely beneficial for our bodies. If it forms a big part of your diet, then it is possible it can internally help with inflammation.
The internet claims turmeric can also regulate sebum production. Could that be true? Skincare expert and clinical aesthetician Pamela Marshall says, “I have many clients who ingest turmeric daily, and they still have acne. I suppose you could say that an anti-inflammatory spice could slow down the production of cortisol, which is responsible for oil production in the sebaceous glands (and what causes spots) but that would be a huge stretch, and it is improbable.”
Is turmeric a good antioxidant for the skin?
“Is there a possibility that high doses of turmeric topically could work as an antioxidant? Yes. But it’s only working with the outer layer”, says Pamela.
Turmeric can work as an incredible antioxidant for our overall body health, says Pamela.
“It is unbelievable at reducing inflammation in the body. However, it’s important to note that our skin is not only our largest organ, but also last in the queue to receive nutrients. So for it to truly help with the skin, our gut needs to be in pretty good order.”
Pamela adds, ‘“I have noticed from studying skin in my clinic that those who have a diet rich in turmeric have less vascular issues in the skin. It is rare for me to see capillary damage or inflammation with clients that have a diet high in anti-inflammatory spices.”
Not sure you’ll be able to eat turmeric daily? Try taking it in a pre-made capsule formula instead.
How should we take turmeric?
When turmeric is ingested on its own, our body rapidly metabolises it, and it’s quickly flushed out of our systems. In other words, the benefits are reduced. But when paired with piperine, the black pepper derivative responsible for its pungency, it becomes more absorbent, and the anti-inflammatory effects are increased.
We love: Vita-Aid Curcumin & Piperine Dietary Supplement, R190 for 60 capsules, which also includes bromelain-rich papaya extract to further aid absorption.
It’s important to note that it might be worth talking to your doctor first before popping some pills. “When taking turmeric orally in the form of food or supplements, care should be taken with the dosage, the type of product used, and how it might react to other medications taken.”
Can we use turmeric straight from the kitchen cupboard?
There’s a strong chance it may stain your skin, but if appropriately mixed, we have found it can be a quick fix for inflammation.
However, Marisa Schwab advises against it. “Skincare products are deliberately formulated to be best absorbed and most efficacious thanks to other ingredients supporting the main star of the show, which in this case is turmeric”.
“There are different strains of turmeric to be used for different things, and your turmeric powder from the kitchen is not the same strain that is found in your beauty products. You wouldn’t use it straight from the kitchen and expect the same benefits.”
Don’t want to risk the staining of your skin or efficacy?
DISCLAIMER: Before trying new beauty treatments, it is advised that you speak to your doctor or dermatologist. You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to professional advice from your doctor or dermatologist. ALSO, please note, that turmeric can stain so take caution when using the ingredient.
Words Lydia House. Additional Words: Martinique Stevens
A scent obsessed beauty editor with a flair for fashion and an affinity for anything kawaii. When she’s not researching skincare ingredient lists for the latest low-down on what this or that compound or chemical does on the skin, you can expect to find her off-loading stress at the gym, enjoying a salsa dancing social or hunting for the latest fragrance.