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Turmeric Benefits for the Skin

Turmeric Benefits for the Skin

Posted by FreshBros Team on Oct 30th 2021

Turmeric Benefits for the Skin: Does It Work?

The skin is the largest organ of the body, and it is only proper to take care of it. Most people have a form of skincare routine, from as simple as cleansing to the most complex ones, like the 10-step Korean routine. With this in mind, there is a wide range of skincare products in the market today.

Did you know that you can find something in your pantry that can double up as a skincare essential? You might have heard of sugar and honey, but how about turmeric? Yes, this spice can actually do something for your skin when used the right way. Read on as we tell you the skin benefits of turmeric.

What Is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a widely known spice in the culinary space, notable for its distinct yellow color. The turmeric plant is mainly grown in South and Southeast Asia, primarily in India. Turmeric is a flowering plant that belongs to the ginger family. The spice is derived from the underground stem or rhizome.

Turmeric has been used for medicinal purposes in Asia for centuries, which dates back nearly 4000 years to the Vedic culture in India. It has been used as a culinary spice and had some religious significance.

Turmeric Vs. Curcumin: What’s the Difference?

Turmeric is the main spice itself, while the main compound responsible for its medicinal use is Curcumin. Curcumin is a form of polyphenol (naturally occurring micronutrient) that targets multiple signaling molecules (a natural mechanism that passes information between cells).

What are the Benefits of Turmeric?

Turmeric is not just a bright and flavorful spice but also loaded with potential health benefits to the body, all thanks to curcumin.

Curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and offers health benefits against inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndromes, pain, and some degenerative eye conditions. Aside from these benefits, turmeric can also provide skin benefits.

Read more: Turmeric Benefits

What are the Benefits of Turmeric for the Skin?

Aside from its culinary use, turmeric may represent a low-cost and effective skincare agent and a potential treatment of conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and skin infections according to several studies. However, evidence supporting the effectiveness of turmeric in treating these conditions is not very robust.

Let’s examine the various ways where you can use turmeric for naturally healthy and glowing skin, the right way.

Turmeric as a Potential Acne Treatment

Let’s face it, having acne is annoying, and it can affect a person’s confidence level. Acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. This skin condition is common in teenagers and young adults, but anyone can be affected.

A rodent study on acne showed improved antibacterial activity after treating with a gel containing curcumin and lauric acid. As for acne scarring, a source claimed that turmeric helped fade hyperpigmentation, and it may help fade dark acne marks when applied topically.

However, turmeric has not been proven to treat acne or acne scars yet. It has shown some promise, yet it hasn't been proven to affect any dermatological problem.

Turmeric May Help with Under-Eye Circles

It is no secret that stress and lack of sleep can cause under-eye circles, making us look older. Aside from its use in treating acne, women in India use turmeric as a skin-lightening agent, specifically under the eyes. Curcumin gel also has been reported to improve the appearance of pigmentary changes due to photodamaged skin conditions caused by exposure to the sun.

Turmeric May Be A Treatment for Scalp Conditions

Scalp psoriasis is a common skin disorder that makes raised, reddish, often scaly patches. Symptoms may include fine scaling that looks like dandruff or appear as thick, crusted plaques that cover the entire scalp.

In a 2018 study on the effects of turmeric on scalp psoriasis, 40 patients were divided into two groups. One group received turmeric tonic twice a week for nine weeks, while the other group received a placebo. By the end of the clinical trial, people using the turmeric tonic showed reduced symptoms of skin psoriasis.

Turmeric May Help with Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disorder that produces patches of scaly skin that can itch. In one animal study, a gel formulation containing 1% curcumin improved psoriasis-like inflammation. Other studies also have pointed to the benefits of curcumin, including in preventing psoriasis. For instance, in studies using mice, curcumin slowed the activation of potassium channels in T cells, which play a role at the start of psoriasis.

According to some studies, curcumin helps heal wounds by decreasing the body's natural response to skin wounds, like inflammation and oxidation. Topical application of curcumin contributes to granulation (healing at the edges), new tissue formation, collagen deposition (increases the strength of the wound), tissue remodeling (restores the characteristics of the tissues), and wound contraction (reduces the size of the wound).

Turmeric May Be a Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema, a skin condition that makes you itch and leaves red blotches, usually found in the face, arms, and legs. While it happens most often in children, it also affects an estimated 18 million adults. Symptoms include dry, itchy skin and red rashes that can appear on the scalp, face, hands, and feet.

The use of turmeric to treat eczema is a common practice in Asia. A 2019 study that used an herbal extract cream containing curcumin showed it alleviated many of the symptoms of eczema. However, the non-comparative study lacked a control group, had a high dropout rate and made it difficult to distinguish between the effects of turmeric or the cream's other ingredients. Although the results of this study are encouraging, more clinical trials are necessary to determine turmeric's efficacy in treating atopic dermatitis.

Turmeric May Help with Scabies

Scabies is an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis). The microscopic scabies mite burrows into the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its eggs. The most common symptoms of scabies are intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash.

The two most commonly used medications to treat scabies are permethrin cream and oral ivermectin. For those who prefer to treat it naturally, essential oils that have antimicrobial properties have also been used. Tea tree oil, cloves, neem oil (from an evergreen tree native to India), and turmeric have been shown to reduce the survival rate of mites, unlike permethrin and ivermectin.

How Do I Incorporate Turmeric into My Skincare Routine?

According to Dr. Mona Gohara, a Yale-trained Dermatologist, it's best to use turmeric in the morning, on clean, dry skin after gently cleansing with a non-soap moisturizing cleanser.

Turmeric comes in various forms, including an essential oil that can be added to creams, gels, skin masks, shampoos, and other natural ingredients such as coconut oil and floral essences. Many alternative products have not yet been reviewed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In addition, there are several topical analgesic (pain-relieving) creams that contain turmeric and other ingredients like menthol, camphor, and methyl salicylate. Turmeric root powder extract and other herbal ingredients are also included in dietary supplements in capsule form.

Turmeric Risks and Dosing

In general, curcumin has few side effects and is considered safe by the FDA. However, a few symptoms were reported in one trial to assure curcumin's safety and its health benefits. Seven people received 500 mg–12,000 mg (milligram) doses who, 72 hours later, experienced diarrhea, headaches, rashes, and yellow stools.

In another study, some participants received 0.45 grams–3.6 grams per day of curcumin for one to four months. They reported nausea, diarrhea, and an increase in serum alkaline phosphatase (this may indicate liver damage or a bone disorder) and lactate dehydrogenase (which can lead to tissue damage at high levels).

If you’re using a paste made with turmeric, it will stain your skin and clothing. If you have an allergy to turmeric, do not use supplements or topical medications that contain this ingredient.

Final Words on Turmeric Skin Benefits

Turmeric has been used to improve various conditions, such as acne and other skin problems. However, it is best to note that current studies still have limited parameters like small participant groups and short trial periods. Based on those results, turmeric may help heal these conditions, but you have to use it in moderation and with caution.

Before you decide to use any type of dietary supplement and you’re also taking prescribed medications, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if there may be any contraindications that would make taking the supplement inadvisable. 

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