Who knew a colorful spice could produce such remarkable benefits for your skin? Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is both an anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant. That’s why it is often found in many face masks, creams, and ointments. We’ve put together a variety of recipes to help you get the benefits of turmeric for skin—inside and out!
- Turmeric Benefits for Skin + Hair
- 1. Turmeric Fights Acne
- 2. Turmeric Fades Age Spots and Scars
- 3. Turmeric Calms Inflammation
- 4. Turmeric Fights Premature Aging
- 5. Turmeric Regulates Oil Production
- 6. Turmeric Improves Skin Texture
- 7. Turmeric Promotes Hair Growth
- 8. Turmeric Controls Dandruff
- 9. Turmeric Inhibits the Growth of Skin Cancer
- How To Remove Turmeric Stains on Skin
Turmeric Benefits for Skin + Hair
Turmeric can be used to treat skin issues ranging from pigmentation to eczema. Also helpful for its antiseptic properties, turmeric is an ideal choice for fighting acne. Turmeric and its main component, curcumin, are great medicine for treating your body’s largest organ: your skin!
When used topically, turmeric skin benefits include:
- Soothe psoriasis and atopic dermatitis
- Calm inflammation
- Fade acne scars
- Fight premature aging and sun damage
- Treat wounds
Needless to say, turmeric is a spice you will certainly want to keep in both your kitchen cabinet and your medicine cabinet.
1. Turmeric Fights Acne
Acne is an inflammatory condition that also involves skin bacterial, dietary, and hormonal factors [source]. So, when treating acne, you want something that will address at least some or all of those factors.
Turmeric has antimicrobial effects, which hinder the growth of bacteria [source]. And it can be consumed by spicing up your foods India style, which has been proven to improve cancer and inflammatory disease conditions [source], and it may have beneficial effects on acne, too!
Use it in: Turmeric acne treatments
Use these homemade turmeric scrub and mask recipes to battle acne-causing bacteria and reduce acne flare-ups. Honey and turmeric is our favorite spot treatment combo!
Mix ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder with 1 teaspoon of honey. Apply the paste to your face and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
2. Turmeric Fades Age Spots and Scars
Turmeric has been used to even out skin tone and fade acne scars. There are few studies on the subject, but a scientific review mentioned that a turmeric extract cream effectively lightened facial hyperpigmentation by 14% in just 4 weeks [source]. The only way to know for sure is to give it a try—but be patient!
Use it in: Glowing skin face mask
Using turmeric for face masks is a great way to introduce this healing spice into your beauty routine. This mask recipe explains all the do's and don't's of using turmeric on your skin.
Use it in: Bath soaks
A turmeric bath bomb is a wonderful way to soak away stress, soothe irritation, and enjoy the potential skin-lightening benefits of turmeric.
You can also make a bath oil with a few drops of turmeric essential oil and add it to your bathwater for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience to support skin health.
Or try this simple recipe for a turmeric milk bath:
- 2 tablespoon ground turmeric
- ½ cup of Epsom salt (optional for added relaxation)
- 1 cup of whole milk or coconut milk (for a soothing and moisturizing effect)
Add turmeric to 1 cup of milk. Once the bath is ready, pour the mixture into the bath and add the salt. Step in and relax for about 20-30 minutes. You can use this time to meditate, read, or simply unwind.
After your turmeric bath, make sure to rinse your body thoroughly in the shower to remove any remaining turmeric residue. This helps prevent staining.
3. Turmeric Calms Inflammation
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that also acts as an anti-inflammatory—inside and out [source]. Its soothing properties calm skin irritation and relieve the itching that comes with eczema and other skin conditions [source].
Start the day with a turmeric honey anti-inflammatory elixir, a tasty way to say goodbye to redness and irritation and hello to healthy, glowing skin.
Use it in: Scalp massage
Scalp inflammation is associated with a variety of hair and scalp issues, including hair loss and dandruff. Turmeric can help soothe and heal an irritated or itchy scalp, improving overall scalp health.
Mix a few drops of turmeric essential oil with a carrier oil (such as olive oil or jojoba oil) and massage it into your scalp. Let it sit for a few hours before washing your hair to potentially promote a healthy scalp and hair.
Use it in: Turmeric massage oil
Although human studies are lacking, one animal study found that turmeric essential oil showed significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity [source]. In fact, turmeric essential oil is frequently used in blends formulated for aches and pains caused by inflammatory conditions.
Turmeric is a wonderful addition to a massage oil formulated for pain relief and detoxing. Plus, it provides a grounding aroma, so you can relax and get centered while getting some relief for your sore muscles and joints. This recipe is great for detox, inflammation, AND relaxation.
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops turmeric essential oil
- 10 drops juniper berry essential oil
- 5 drops black pepper essential oil
- 1 oz carrier oil, such as grapeseed, almond, or jojoba
Thoroughly mix all ingredients and pour into an essential oil-safe bottle. Shake before use and apply this blend directly to areas of concern, gently massaging the oil into the body.
To get even more out of your massage blend, make sure to relax your mind and body and be intentional with your breathing during use.
4. Turmeric Fights Premature Aging
Environmental factors, such as UV light and pollution, are known to greatly impact the rate of natural aging [source]. Oxidative compounds and inflammation cause injury over time, leading to collagen breakdown and skin aging.
Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help prevent the damage that results in wrinkles and other signs of aging for a more youthful appearance [source].
Use it in: Facial steam
Add 1-2 drops of turmeric essential oil to a bowl of hot water. Create a tent over your head with a towel and lean over the bowl, allowing the steam to open up your pores and promote a healthy glow.
Use it in: Hydrating turmeric egg yolk mask
The egg proteins and B vitamins promote skin repair, olive oil hydrates and locks in moisture, and turmeric evens out the complexion. You'll love how your skin feels after!
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 pinch turmeric
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
Mix yolk, turmeric, and oil together to make a paste. Apply the mixture to your face, and let it dry for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
When using this mask, the oil isn't optional—if you leave turmeric on skin without an oil, it can easily stain the skin (and stay there for days!).
5. Turmeric Regulates Oil Production
Another reason turmeric is beneficial for acne-prone skin is that it plays a role in regulating the production of the skin’s natural oil called sebum [source].
Use it in: Turmeric soap
This turmeric soap reduces inflammation, balances sebum production, and offers antioxidant and antibacterial benefits, all of which contribute to a healthier and more balanced oil production in the skin.
Use it in: Turmeric-infused face oil
Combine 10 drops of turmeric essential oil with 1 ounce of carrier oil (like jojoba or argan) to create a turmeric-infused face oil. Use it as a moisturizer or for facial massages.
6. Turmeric Improves Skin Texture
Turmeric's texture provides excellent exfoliation, which helps to keep pores from clogging in acne-prone skin.
Use it in: Gentle turmeric face scrub
A turmeric and baking soda face scrub offers gentle exfoliation due to the fine, granular texture of baking soda that helps remove dead skin cells. When combined with turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties, this scrub not only promotes smoother skin but also calms irritation for a gentle and effective exfoliating experience.
Use it in: Exfoliating face mask
Or try mixing turmeric with rice flour or oats for an exfoliating mask. Rice flour helps improve skin texture or opt for oats to help absorb excess oil.
Combine ½ teaspoon of turmeric with 2 teaspoons of rice flour (or finely ground oats) and enough water to make a paste. Gently exfoliate your skin with the mixture, then rinse.
Use it in: Skin-lightening turmeric body scrub
While it’s a powerful exfoliator, turmeric is still gentle enough for sensitive skin. Just use a light touch if you have redness or inflammation.
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ cup olive oil
- 20 drops turmeric essential oil
In a small glass container, mix olive oil and essential oil. Stir thoroughly and set the container aside. An a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and turmeric powder. Stir until everything's incorporated and there are no chunks.
Pour the oil mixture into the sugar. Use your hands or a spatula to thoroughly mix. Transfer the mixture into 8 oz jars.
To use, apply to wet skin, scrub in circular motions, and rinse off. Keep in a tightly sealed container to avoid the scrub drying out.
7. Turmeric Promotes Hair Growth
Turmeric is rich in antioxidants that protect hair and the scalp from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. This can help maintain the overall health of hair and prevent hair loss.
Turmeric can also improve blood circulation in the scalp when applied topically. Improved blood flow can nourish hair follicles with essential nutrients and oxygen, promoting hair growth.
Use it in: Stimulating turmeric hair mask
Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder with yogurt to make a paste. Apply it to your scalp and hair, leave it on for 30 minutes, and then shampoo.
8. Turmeric Controls Dandruff
Turmeric exhibits antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which are beneficial for controlling dandruff. Dandruff is often caused by the overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia. Turmeric's antimicrobial effects can help keep this fungus in check.
Use it in: Turmeric coconut scalp treatment
Combine ¼ teaspoon of turmeric with 1 teaspoon coconut oil and massage it into your scalp. Leave it on for 30 minutes before shampooing.
9. Turmeric Inhibits the Growth of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is on the rise, and it’s a good idea to think about cancer prevention when deciding on your skincare products. Numerous studies have shown curcumin’s negative effect on the growth of skin cancer cells, and it also blocks cancer progression [source].
Not only does it slow their growth, but research has demonstrated that it can lead to their early demise [source]!
Use it in: Turmeric tocos latte
We love a good turmeric latte, and this turmeric and tocos latte tastes like vanilla ice cream, but it's more than just tasty. Its ingredients actually enhance immunity, plump and hydrate the skin, and contribute to collagen synthesis!
- 1 tablespoon coconut or almond butter
- 1 tablespoon tocos powder
- ½ teaspoon of any adaptogen powder you like, such as reishi, chaga, maca, ashwagandha (optional)
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- Sprinkle of ground nutmeg
- Sprinkle of ground cardamom
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 4 drops of liquid monk fruit
- 1 scoop collagen peptides (optional)
- 12 ounces boiling water
Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender and blitz until smooth and frothy.
Tocos is considered a skin superfood due to its ability to plump and hydrate, contributing to collagen synthesis. It works together with turmeric in this adapt-o-latte to boost your beauty from the inside out.
How To Remove Turmeric Stains on Skin
There is one super important thing to know about turmeric, though—it stains like crazy. So with any of these DIY recipes, be sure to use tools and bowls that you don't mind looking a little stained over time. If you leave it on your skin for a little too long, it can also end up stained (something that I learned the hard way)!
Fortunately, turmeric stains are much easier to remove from the skin than from your favorite mixing bowl. Just massage in a natural plant oil (coconut is a good one), and it should help lift the stain.
Turmeric powder is more commonly used in DIY masks and scrubs, while turmeric essential oil is concentrated and should be diluted in carrier oil before using. Both can offer similar benefits, but essential oil may require more caution.
For most people, once a week is sufficient.
To minimize staining, use turmeric in combination with other ingredients like yogurt, carrier oil, or honey, and start by using a very small amount of turmeric.
Ingesting turmeric can provide health benefits, but for skin and hair care, topical application is more common and effective in addressing specific concerns like acne.
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