Are you struggling with frequent acne episodes? Try the turmeric treatment for quick relief from stubborn acne.
Turmeric is a popular herbal remedy used for acne vulgaris and many other skin disorders. Its powerful therapeutic properties not just control acne, but also help remove old acne scars and marks.
Read on to know the various benefits of turmeric for acne and how to best use it according to your skin type.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“Turmeric is a complexion enhancing herb, and useful in skin disorders. It helps in healing wounds and reduces swelling. It is also a renowned anti-microbial, hence excellent for acne-prone skin.”
Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
Is Turmeric Good For Acne?
The good old turmeric has been used for ages as a quick solution for multiple dermatological problems including acne. However, before discussing its efficacy as an acne treatment, let’s briefly glance through the causes of acne.
Various factors play a role in the pathogenesis of the condition known as acne vulgaris. Hormonal imbalances in the body can trigger your sebaceous glands (oil glands) to produce more sebum.
When this excess sebum along with dirt, dead cell and naturally occuring bacteria in your skin gets trapped in one of your skin pores, you end up with a pus-filled pimple.
Regular acne treatments with hydrocortisone creams or antibacterials focus on one aspect of the condition. These either reduce the inflammation or treat the infection in your pores to speed up wound healing. However, lacking a holistic approach you notice another pimple popping up in no time.
As per the natural science of Ayurveda, treatments must be aimed at the root of the problem. This is how turmeric treats your acne.
While its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties tackle inflammation and infection, its astringent nature reduces excess sebum secretions. It further aids healing of your acne lesion and minimizes chances of scar formation.
As per Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, “Turmeric is a complexion enhancing herb, and useful in skin disorders. It helps in healing wounds and reduces swelling. It is also a renowned antimicrobial, hence excellent for acne prone skin.”
“Interestingly, turmeric is also known as Yoshitpriya, which means - very much liked by women for its cosmetic use,” she adds.
While the regular turmeric (Curcuma longa) is used for medicinal purposes, another type of turmeric known as kasturi turmeric (Curcuma aromatica) is added to cosmetics for its beautiful aroma and skin benefits.
Turmeric Benefits For Acne
1. Antibacterial Properties And Acne
Curcumin, the principal phytonutrient in turmeric, is reported to exhibit potent antibacterial properties. According to a research named Curcumin, a Natural Antimicrobial Agent with Strain-Specific Activity, the compound is active against various strains of pathogens, especially gram-positive bacteria. Thus the application of turmeric on infected acne lesions helps inhibit bacterial proliferation within the skin pore and ensures quick healing.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties To Treat Acne
Ayurveda lists down ‘shothahara’ or anti-inflammatory as one of turmeric’s major properties. Several modern researches have also recognised that turmeric’s anti-inflammatory  properties, mainly with topical application, can prove to be therapeutic against acne.
Apart from being able to inhibit the inflammatory response of your skin, turmeric also acts as an anti-itch herb (kanduhara) that soothes skin irritations around the acne lesion.
3. Antioxidant Properties For Acne Treatment
A study in 2005, named Oxidative Stress in Patients With Acne Vulgaris, confirmed that oxidative stress plays a role in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris and suggested the use of at least one antioxidant along with other drugs in the treatment of acne.
Curcumin, the main bioactive agent in turmeric, is credited with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
A research named, Turmeric As Medicinal Plant For The Treatment Of Acne Vulgaris claimed that turmeric’s anti-inflammatory activity was mainly mediated through its ability to scavenge free radicals, which play a role in causing inflammation.
4. Wound Healing Abilities To Heal Acne Lesions
Nodular or cystic acne can cause considerable skin damage as they reach deep into your skin. In such cases, even after the swelling subsides and the infection is treated, the lesion takes time to heal.
Turmeric is known to be an excellent healing agent that aids the various stages of wound healing. In the initial stages it treats the inflammation and infection.
In the later stages curcumin in turmeric stimulates collagen synthesis, granulation, tissue remodeling  and quick closure of wounds. For treatment with turmeric, topical application  shows better results as the herb is more available at the site of acne.
5. Regulates Sebum Production To Prevent Acne
As per Ayurvedic explanations, an aggravation of the Kapha dosha can lead to the occurrence of acne since excess Kapha upregulates sebum production. Turmeric’s hot potency along with its dry and pungent qualities balance Kapha and prevent chances of acne.
According to modern science, turmeric and its active compound curcumin inhibit the synthesis of sebum in sebocytes  (cells that produce sebum). This regulation of sebum production helps restrict the occurrence of acne.
6. Reduces Dark Spots And Scars Caused By Acne
Turmeric has been traditionally used to enhance skin complexion and is thus described as ‘dehavarnya vidhayini’ by the ancient Ayurvedic texts.
Curcumin, in turmeric, helps suppress melanogenesis (melanin pigment production) in your skin by inhibiting tyrosinase (enzyme responsible for melanogenesis) activity .
In fact, it has been proven that turmeric’s efficacy of tyrosinase inhibition is almost 88.56% . Hence, turmeric can be successfully used as a depigmenting remedy to treat dark spots and scars caused by acne.
7. Removes Acne-Causing Toxins
Turmeric is a great detoxifier and aids in the removal of harmful Ama toxins from your body thus promoting skin health. According to Ayurveda, an accumulation of these toxins can cause various cutaneous conditions including the onset of acne.
How To Use Turmeric For Acne Scars?
A. Turmeric Face Packs For Acne / Acne Scars
1. Milk, Turmeric And Sandalwood
- Take 1 tablespoon each of turmeric and sandalwood powders.
- Add 1 ½ tablespoons of raw milk to it to make a thick paste.
- Apply it on your acne as a spot treatment.
- Wash it off after 40 minutes to an hour.
2. Turmeric And Aloe Vera
- Add a tablespoon of aloe vera gel to 1- 1 ½ tablespoons of turmeric and prepare a paste.
- Apply the turmeric pack on your acne affected areas and leave it on for an hour.
- Wash off with lukewarm water.
3. Turmeric And Honey
- Take 1-2 tablespoons of turmeric powder and add sufficient amount of honey to make a thick paste.
- Cover the areas affected by acne and leave the pack on for 1 hour before washing off.
4. Turmeric, Yashtimadhu And Triphala
- Mix 1 ½ tablespoons of turmeric with 1 tablespoon each of yashtimadhu and triphala.
- Add some honey, aloe vera gel or plain water to make a paste and apply on your acne.
- Leave it on for 1 hour and wash off with lukewarm water.
5. Turmeric And Tea Tree Oil
- Add 3 to 4 drops of tea tree oil to 10 ml of any light carrier oil such as jojoba or safflower.
- Now take 1 to 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder and add the diluted tea tree oil to it to make a paste.
- Apply this turmeric face pack to your acne and wash off after 20 to 30 minutes.
When using turmeric as an acne treatment, avoid commercially available turmeric powders. These may be adulterated and contain added colouring agents or preservatives. Buy dry turmeric, powder it at home and apply on your acne for faster relief.
B. Turmeric Consumption For Acne
1. Turmeric Water
Drinking a glass of turmeric water in the morning can work as a great detox remedy and reduce chances of acne. Add 1 to 3 gms of turmeric powder to a glass of lukewarm water. Add a few drops of honey for taste, stir well and consume.
2. Turmeric Milk
While dairy products have a bad reputation for aggravating an acne condition, a glass of turmeric milk may actually help relieve inflammation in the body. Simply add 1 or 2 pinches of turmeric to a glass of milk, stir well and consume.
3. Lemon And Turmeric Juice
Freshly prepared turmeric juice is an excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-acne treatment. Peel and cut a raw turmeric rhizome into small pieces. Put it in a blender and add ½ a cup of water to it. Once the juice is ready, strain and squeeze half a lemon into it and consume.
4. Turmeric Tea
This easy to prepare turmeric tea recipe can give your body a boost of antioxidants to fight an existing acne condition. Mildly crush a few pieces of raw turmeric (peeled and cut into inch chunks) and add to a cup of boiling water.
To this add a pinch of black pepper. Let it simmer for a minute and turn off the flame. Keep the tea covered for another 5 minutes, strain into a cup, add some honey and a teaspoon of lemon juice for taste and enjoy.
Side Effects And Other Considerations
Topical application and dose prescribed consumption of turmeric is usually devoid of side effects. However, it is always advisable to consult your Ayurvedic doctor if you are pregnant or lactating.
There may be a risk of allergic contact dermatitis in case you have sensitive skin, have an existing condition of atopic dermatitis or are allergic to turmeric. Thus for first time users of turmeric a patch test is recommended.
In case of internal consumption, there is limited research of the herb’s effect on children. As for adults, 1-3 grams of powdered turmeric or 10 to 20 ml of fresh turmeric juice is a safe dosage for daily intake.
Turmeric and curcumin are not the same and thus must not be used interchangeably. Curcumin is merely one of the many compounds in turmeric that is responsible for its healing effects. Direct doses of curcumin without medical supervision can have serious side effects.
Frequently Asked Questions About Turmeric For Acne
1. Can We Apply Turmeric On Acne Overnight?
Turmeric can be safely applied on acne overnight. Add honey or a carrier oil to the turmeric powder to make a thick paste. Apply the paste on your inflamed acne (pustule or nodule) as a spot treatment and cover it with a piece of cloth bandage.
The turmeric is likely to reduce the inflammation, redness and infection overnight. Its astringent properties will also help in draining the pus and ensure quick healing of your acne.
2. Can I Use Turmeric On My Face Everyday?
In many cultures such as in India, turmeric is used everyday by women for sun protection and to enhance overall skin health. Including turmeric in your daily skincare routine can keep various skin infections and acne issues at bay.
3. How Long Does It Take For Turmeric To Work For Acne?
While this depends on the severity of your acne condition, turmeric usually works fast on acne and you may begin to notice an improvement as early as 2 days.
The Last Word
- Turmeric has been a part of traditional medicine for centuries for its antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, skin brightening and anti-cancer properties.
- Thus applying turmeric over acne can multifariously tackle the condition by inhibiting its various causative factors like oxidative stress, excess sebum and bacterial infection.
- Similar benefits can also be achieved through the consumption of the herb in prescribed doses.
- However, before resorting to this widely used herbal remedy, talk to your Ayurvedic doctor to know your skin type and the exact causes for your acne for a more customized acne treatment.
1. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, 2007
2. Curcumin as a wound healing agent, 2014 October
3. Turmeric and the wound healing - beyond tradition, 2017
5. Novel Chemically Modified Curcumin (CMC) Derivatives Inhibit Tyrosinase Activity and Melanin Synthesis in B16F10 Mouse Melanoma Cells, 2021 April
6. Critical review of Ayurvedic Varnya herbs and their tyrosinase inhibition effect., 2015 July
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