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Everything You Need to Know About Using Turmeric for Your Skin

Oct. 12, 2021

You've probably thrown it into smoothies, lattes, and other delicious recipes, but did you know that turmeric is a beauty multi-tasker that does everything from brightening up your complexion to chasing away blemishes? Aside from being a gorgeous addition to anyone's spice cabinet, the bright yellow-orange spice has become super buzzy for lots of reasons. Not that it ever went out of style—in fact, for hundreds of years, people around the world have counted on turmeric for everything from its healing powers to its cosmetic uses.

Ready to reap the benefits of turmeric in your own skincare routine? Continue reading below for how you can incorporate turmeric into your beauty routine.

What are the benefits of turmeric?

Turmeric's glowing reputation is thanks to curcumin, a chemical compound that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. While Indian food and healing treatments have incorporated turmeric for centuries, it's beginning to make a splash in mainstream health and the natural beauty movement. And science is demonstrating that it's more than a trend—it's here to stay.

The research is promising: As a natural antioxidant, curcumin has the capacity to decrease UV damage. It's also antibacterial, meaning it can help clear up acne when you apply it topically. Some scientists even say it can reduce the breakdown of collagen and keep your skin glowing and youthful if you eat it. Beyond that, some dermatologists say turmeric can prevent redness and irritation, hair loss, and cardiovascular disease, all of which tend to be driven by inflammation.

Keep reading for the specific benefits of turmeric, as well as for powerful skincare products that take full advantage of them.

1. It'll give you an all-natural glow-up.

It's probably no coincidence that turmeric reminds us of a radiant sunset, considering that it's an instant glow-booster. Its antioxidant properties have the power to brighten skin, including stubborn under-eye circles and dark spots.

You can create your own DIY turmeric mask with just a few kitchen staples like yogurt, honey, and turmeric. PSA: If you've ever cooked with it, you know turmeric can temporarily stain your skin, as well as clothing and pillows—so handle it with care. But thanks to the latest turmeric-infused skincare products, you can reap this healthy spice's benefits whenever you want.

2. It's an anti-inflammatory powerhouse.

If you struggle with skin conditions that cause redness or puffiness, turmeric could be your holy grail ingredient. Oxidative stress, which occurs when you have too many free radicals and not enough antioxidants in your body, can lead to chronic inflammation and early signs of aging. If that sounds stressful, you can breathe easy—turmeric is known and loved for its free radical-fighting, anti-inflammatory properties. As previously mentioned, curcumin found in turmeric can help decrease swelling and inflammation, which also makes turmeric a great acne-fighter.

3. It could even help with acne and scarring.

Another happy side effect of turmeric is that its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties pack a punch when it comes to fighting acne-causing bacteria and taking the gunk out of clogged pores (which can lead to breakouts). In addition to calming your skin, turmeric's skin-brightening effects can help fade hormonal acne scars.

4. It's got anti-aging benefits

Research also supports turmeric's anti-aging potential. Remember how we mentioned the antioxidant properties of turmeric's curcumin? Well, that protection from free-radical damage is where the anti-aging benefits come in. When cells are shielded from environmental stress, the accelerated causes of aging (sun damage, pollution, etc.) are slowed and new cell growth is encouraged.

5. Your scalp loves turmeric, too.

So you already know that turmeric's a star ingredient when it comes to your skin, but did you know it also promotes scalp health? Curcumin can effectively treat hair loss that arises from conditions like dandruff and bacterial infections. In fact, for centuries, Indian women have turned to turmeric and other Ayurvedic herbs to keep their hair long, strong, and shiny.

The skin on your scalp is also susceptible to inflammatory responses from dehydration and lack of nourishment—often resulting in dandruff or hair loss. Thanks to its antiseptic properties, turmeric can help soothe and calm an irritated scalp. Look for hair masks and conditioners containing turmeric or if you have dark hair (because powder turmeric can stain), try to DIY your own! Mix four tablespoons of coconut oil with a 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric for an easy at-home mask. Lighter hair types might want to sit this one out, as turmeric is notorious for staining.

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