Are you wasting time on a long routine to treat different skin problems? Try treating your concerns with turmeric for a revolutionary skin transformation.
Haldi or turmeric is an all-time favourite home remedy for most skin problems. While it is part of several herbal remedies and cosmeceutical products, it is important to know which form of turmeric is best suited for your skin type.
Read on to know the multiple benefits of this age old herb and how to best use turmeric for glowing skin.
Is Turmeric Good For Skin?
Turmeric known as ‘Haridra’ in Sanskrit is probably one of the oldest, highly potent medicinal herbs cited in the ancient Ayurvedic texts. Being a ‘Vishodhini’ or a natural detoxifier, it gives you clear skin. Its ‘Kushtahara’ (treats skin diseases), ‘Shothahara’ (anti-inflammatory) and ‘Vranahara’ (wound healing) properties prevent a variety of skin conditions and treat existing skin lesions.
It is also listed as a ‘Varnya’ herb that heals hyperpigmentation and improves your skin complexion. Further, being a tridosha pacifier, turmeric is beneficial for all skin types.
Turmeric Essential Oil
The essential oil of turmeric  contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds like curlone, ar-curcumene and ar-turmerone. Due to its wound healing properties and ability to scavenge free radicals, turmeric oil is extensively used in herbal medicines and skin care.
The multifarious health benefits of turmeric has piqued the interest of medical researchers with over three thousand publications in the last 25 years.
10 Benefits Of Turmeric For Skin
1. Treats Dry Skin
According to Ayurveda, an aggravated Vata dosha is the root cause for dry skin. Turmeric has a hot potency which balances the Vata dosha and keeps your skin nourished. Also its Pitta pacifying nature reduces redness, pain and inflammation like symptoms that often accompany dry skin conditions.
Frequent exposure to the sun, tobacco consumption, pollution and other skin damaging factors can all cause oxidative stress. An increase in the number of free radicals in the body is considered one of the primary causes of skin aging.
These reactive oxygen species  cause cell damage leading to premature appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Curcumin, a phytochemical in turmeric, is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges free radicals and promotes cell renewal.
Thus, according to medical research, turmeric in your regular skin care routine and diet can slow down skin aging and prevent age-related skin diseases.
3. Regulates Oil Secretions
Oily skin is the result of hyperactive sebaceous glands that produce excess sebum. The hyperactivity is often triggered by hormonal imbalances in the body during puberty, pregnancy, stress or menopause. Curcumin in turmeric has the ability to inhibit lipid production in sebocytes  (cells that synthesize sebum) thus regulating oil secretions on your skin.
According to Ayurveda, oily skin is caused by an aggravation of the Kapha dosha. Due to its hot, astringent nature, turmeric pacifies the Kapha dosha and helps balance oily skin conditions.
4. Removes Toxins
In the traditional Unani method of healing, turmeric is used to unclog blood vessels  and improve the circulation of blood in the body. It is also used by Ayurvedic practitioners to release excess Pitta and Kapha accumulations and remove Ama toxins that are responsible for various skin and health conditions.
5. Prevents Acne
Three factors play a role in the pathogenesis of acne - excess sebum secretions, bacterial infection and inflammation. When your skin pore is blocked by dead skin, dirt and excess oil it makes for a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Infection in your skin pore triggers inflammation which is a natural response of your immune system. Soon white blood cells rush in to fight the bacteria and you end up with an inflamed, pus-filled, painful pimple on the face.
Owing to turmeric’s sebum-regulating, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties, it serves as the perfect natural cure for acne vulgaris . Moreover, using turmeric to treat acne aids skin renewal and prevents chances of scarring and hyperpigmentation at the site of your acne.
6. Heals Chronic Inflammatory Skin Conditions
While chronic inflammatory diseases cannot be cured, their flare-ups can be averted for months with proper treatment. Curcumin in turmeric is known for its ability to inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1 (IL-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and others along with TNF-ɑ, an inflammatory mediator that are responsible for triggering atopic dermatitis and psoriasis .
Thus, according to research on Potential of Curcumin in Skin Disorders, turmeric is reported to be a natural, inexpensive remedy for eczema, psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
7. Manages Skin Sensitivity
One of the properties of turmeric as listed in Ayurveda is ‘Kanduhara’ which means that it relieves skin irritation and itchiness. Further with anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is a perfect treatment for a variety of skin allergies.
8. Treats Skin Infections
Owing to turmeric’s antimicrobial properties it is often used as a food preservative to inhibit the growth of various strains of gram positive and gram negative bacteria such as Salmonella typhi, Staphylococcus aureus and others. Curcumin, extracted from turmeric, is used in numerous pharmaceutical products for its ability to permeate bacterial membranes  and destroy bacterial cells.
Not just bacterial, curcumin is also effective against viral and fungal infections  (ringworm, athlete’s foot etc.) of the skin. Due to its anti-viral  properties, turmeric was widely used as a disinfectant and a natural therapeutic drug during the first wave of COVID-19.
9. Skin Whitening
In Ayurveda turmeric is classified as a ‘varnya’ herb for its skin whitening abilities. Its photo protecting properties shield your skin from the damaging effects of the sun and help to clear sun tan easily. According to a research on the efficacy of natural ingredients in the management of hyperpigmentation, a turmeric extract cream formulation reduced hyperpigmentation on the face in a span of just 4 weeks.
Another study showed that curcumin has an efficacy rate of 88.56% in suppressing melanin synthesis through the inhibition of tyrosinase (an enzyme required for melanin production) activity, thus proving turmeric as a natural skin whitening  herb.
10. Removes Unwanted Facial Hair
Turmeric home remedies have been an old solution for unwanted facial hair. Using it with besan or simply applying turmeric powder on face is said to retard hair growth.
How To Use Turmeric For Skin Whitening?
1. Turmeric Milk Face Cleanser
Stir in a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a cup of raw milk. Dip a cotton ball in the turmeric milk and use it to cleanse your face twice daily. Turmeric milk can unclog your pores, regulate sebum, prevent acne and improve your skin complexion.
Being a natural blood purifier, drinking turmeric milk can make your skin healthy from the inside.
2. Turmeric And Castor / Mustard Oil Scrub
Take a tablespoon of turmeric powder and add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of castor or mustard oil to it. Mix well and gently exfoliate your skin in circular motion. Leave it on for 10 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water. Using castor or mustard oil along with turmeric can help you get wrinkle-free glowing skin.
3. Turmeric, Saffron, Sandalwood And Milk Pack
Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, half teaspoon of saffron and 1 teaspoon of sandalwood powder to 1-2 tablespoons of raw milk. Let the saffron soak for 15 to 20 minutes and mix well to form a paste and apply on your skin. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes and wash off.
With each ingredient being a ‘varnya’ or skin brightening herb, using this turmeric pack can help reduce dark spots and lighten your skin.
4. Turmeric, Yashtimadhu, Triphala And Rose Water Pack
This turmeric face pack containing yashtimadhu and triphala is a potent remedy for acne and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Add a teaspoon of each ingredient and a few drops of rose water to make a paste. Apply on your face and leave it on for 30 minutes before washing off.
5. Neem, Turmeric And Honey Pack
Apart from turmeric both neem and honey are antimicrobial and also help soothe allergy-prone skin. To prepare this pack powder 10 to 15 neem leaves. Add a teaspoon of turmeric and a one and half teaspoon of honey to make a paste. Apply on your face and wash off after 30 minutes.
6. Turmeric, Honey And Papaya Pack
Natural enzymes in papaya enhance turmeric’s skin whitening abilities in this face pack. Take a cup of ripe papaya pieces and mash into a paste. Add a teaspoon of turmeric and honey to it and apply on your face. Wash off after 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Turmeric Water Face Mist
Turmeric water can highly benefit both dry and oily skin. It helps to keep your skin hydrated while preventing excess oiliness. Misting your face frequently with turmeric water can provide sun protection and prevent skin infections.
Simply add a teaspoon of organic turmeric powder or 1 tablespoon of raw turmeric juice to 200 ml of rose water. Stir well and store it in a spray bottle.
For enhanced skin immunity add half teaspoon of turmeric and black pepper powder each to a glass of lukewarm water or milk. Consume once a day. Piperine in black pepper helps your body absorb the goodness of curcumin easily.
Does Turmeric Have Side Effects On Skin?
Topical application of turmeric is generally safe. The only risk is of contact dermatitis which may occur if a person is allergic to turmeric or its components. Turmeric essential oil has a high concentration of active ingredients and must always be diluted with a carrier oil to avoid skin rashes. Oral consumption of turmeric in high doses may have rare side effects such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
Frequently Asked Questions About Turmeric On Skin
1. Which Type Of Turmeric Is Good For Skin?
There are about 30 varieties of turmeric grown in India with differing medicinal potency depending on the region they are cultivated in. Amongst these the Lakadong variety grown in Meghalaya is considered the best for its high curcumin levels.
Ayurveda differentiates between wet and dry turmeric with wet being more suitable for consumption and dry better for skincare as it is more nutritionally dense.
There is also Curcuma Aromatica or wild turmeric, a plant belonging to the turmeric family and more frequently used in cosmetics for its aroma. The lack of actual curmumin prevents staining but the presence of other curcuminoids gives it mild turmeric-like medicinal properties.
2. How Long Does It Take For Turmeric To Lighten Skin?
Regular use of turmeric and turmeric oil has shown to lighten skin in about 3-4 weeks. However, this also depends on the severity of hyperpigmentation. Mild sun tans can be easily cleared off in around 2 weeks time.
3. Can We Apply Turmeric Directly On The Face?
Turmeric is safe for direct application on skin. However, if you are using wet turmeric for your face pack, it is better to mix a carrier oil with it to prevent long lasting yellow stains on your skin. Wild turmeric on the other hand does not leave a stain and is also used for skin whitening.
4. Can I Apply Turmeric On My Face Everyday?
In many cultures women apply turmeric on their faces, hands and legs as a sun protection. Using turmeric or turmeric based products as part of your everyday skin routine can keep various skin problems at bay. Further, for oily skin turmeric helps to balance oil and prevent acne at the same time it also keeps dry skin moisturized and lowers risks of inflammatory conditions.
The Last Word
Turmeric as a herbal medicine has been in use since centuries for its abundant skin healing abilities. Further, its skin whitening properties make it a popular herb amongst beauty enthusiasts. Both raw (wet) and dry turmeric is beneficial for your skin and can be made part of your daily routine. However, we advise consulting your Ayurvedic doctor to know your unique skin type and Prakriti (body constitution) to understand which type and herb combinations with turmeric will benefit you most.Know Your Dosha Now
1. An Evaluation Of Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, And Antinociceptive Activities Of Essential Oil From Curcuma Longa. L, 2011 September- October
2. The Promise Of Slow Down Ageing May Come From Curcumin, 2010
3. Turmeric And Turmeric- Containing Tablets And Sebum Production, 2017 February
4. Turmeric, The Golden Spice, 2011
5. Turmeric As Medicinal Plant For The Treatment Of Acne Vulgaris
6. Turmeric Based Therapy In The Treatment Of Psoriasis: A Clinical Trial, 2019 August
7. Bactericidal Activity Of Curcumin I Is Associated With Damaging Of Bacterial Membrane, 2015 March
8. A Review On Antibacterial, Antiviral, And Antifungal Activity Of Curcumin, 2014 April
9. The Inhibitory Effect Of Curcumin On Virus-Induced Cytokine Storm And Its Potential Use In The Associated Severe Pneumonia, 2020 June
10. Critical Review Of Ayurvedic Varnya Herbs And Their Tyrosinase Inhibition Effect, 2015 July- September
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