Every now and then, a superfood—even if it's been around for centuries—lands on our radar, as we understand more about its benefits. The most recent item to get the spotlight? A spice by the name of turmeric, which may just be the new secret weapon of healthy skin.
One of the real women we interviewed in our L.A. street beauty story initially tipped us off to the ingredient. Said real woman had skin that was a total dream, and attributed her "California glow" to turmeric. But she's not the only spice girl—models and magazine editors are also hip to turmeric's complexion-enhacing ways. What's more, it's also been showing up on the menus of every major cold-pressed juice company around town, and it's the latest hero of the clean-eating movement. So today we're taking a closer look at turmeric to find out what makes it such a powerhouse ingredient for our skin.
Keep scrolling to meet your new favourite spice, and learn about its many skin benefits.
Applied topically, turmeric can help fade scars from previous acne flare-ups and reduce inflammation. But that’s not all—the soft, marigold-colored spice has breakout-fighting power. It's both antibacterial and antiseptic, and it helps to control the production of acne-causing oil (sebum) by the sebaceous glands.
For a DIY turmeric face mask, combine equal parts turmeric and sandalwood powder with a splash of orange juice, so it has enough consistency to stick to your face. Apply the mixture to your whole face (or just the affected breakout area), leave on for fifteen minutes, and then rinse.
As a natural exfoliant, turmeric is beloved by many Eastern cultures as an anti-aging component in beauty routines. Indian and Pakistani brides-to-be even apply a turmeric mask as a pre-wedding tradition. It speeds up skin cell turnover, lightening dark spots and reducing the look of fine lines. Turmeric also has high antioxidant properties, which help contribute to a more youthful appearance overall. For an at-home anti-aging treatment, combine powder turmeric with yogurt and honey for a 15-minute face mask. Click here for another awesome DIY turmeric mask.
Turmeric can do wonders for dry, chapped skin, including on your lips. Mix a few pinches of the spice with an essential oil of your choice (such as grapeseed or vitamin E) and apply to patches of dry skin for an instantly smoother, softened surface.
Combined with olive oil, turmeric can help ease the annoying effects of dandruff, by soothing dry, itchy skin and helping to increase scalp circulation. The primary bioactive compound in turmeric, called curcumin, has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties.
For cracked hands or heels, combine a few spoonfuls of turmeric with coconut oil, and soak the affected skin in the mixture. You’ll be shocked at how quickly the cracks will heal afterwards.
Turmeric is a known skin-soother, and because of its antiseptic properties it can be particularly useful for conditions like a burn, poison ivy, or skin that is itchy, red, and irritated. It effectively calms inflamed skin, especially when combined with other naturally soothing ingredients like yogurt and milk.
Like cocoa butter during pregnancy, many women swear by turmeric post-pregnancy to help lighten and fade stretch marks. The powder form can be mixed with coconut oil or lemon juice, and applied to the affected area to lighten the appearance of stretch marks; or turmeric root can be chopped up and combined with water for a paste that you apply and wash off after 10 to 15 minutes.
Is turmeric already a part of your skincare routine? Tell us in the comments!