Tumeric: Is It Right For Your Skin? Turmeric In Skincare – Is Good For The Skin?



What Is Tumeric?

Turmeric is derived from the root of Curcuma zedoaria which is a type of ginger that is native to Southeast Asia. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits through the active ingredient, curcumin. You have probably heard of turmeric for its benefits when eaten or taken as a dietary supplement to help reduce inflammation in the body, however, more recently brands have begun to use it in skincare and body care products.


the good: Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory that may be beneficial to help reduce inflammation in the skin.

the not so good: Turmeric can temporarily dye the skin a yellow shade, so it is best to use turmeric in products that have been formulated rather than using a DIY product.

Who is it for? All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.

Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients.

Keep an eye on: Keep an eye out for more research.

What Are The Benefits of Turmeric?



Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory benefits which have recently been studied to determine if it may help reduce inflammation in the skin. This research seems to suggest that it may help reduce inflammation in the skin depending on the type of turmeric used, the bioavailability (how easily it is absorbed and used by the skin/ body) and the concentration. If its anti-inflammatory benefits are significant to the skin, it may help to support the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions such as acne or dermatitis. 


Wound Healing 

These same studies seem to suggest that turmeric may help in supporting wound healing. This may help to support the healing of open blemishes and irritation. 


Anti Aging and Pigmentation 

Aging is a very complex process that has many contributing factors including UV damage, genetics, diets, alcohol consumption and smoking. However, one of the other contributing factors that has been identified recently is inflammation. In a study that looked at the benefits of turmeric, it was suggested that turmeric may be beneficial to reducing the appearance of some signs of aging through its anti-inflammatory properties. 

There have been a few studies that suggest that turmeric may reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In one study a serum containing niacinamide was compared to another that contained both niacinamide and turmeric. The results suggested that the serum containing turmeric was better at improving fine lines and wrinkles when compared with the serum containing just niacinamide. 

There has also been some research into the benefits of turmeric in improving the appearance of hyperpigmentation. Many blogs and websites have highlighted this benefit, however, in a study that looked into a number of naturally-occurring ingredients for their benefits to aging and pigmentation, turmeric was one of the few that didn’t show significant efficacy. There have also been some studies that have suggested that turmeric may be beneficial in reducing hyperpigmentation. More research is needed to determine how beneficial turmeric may be to reducing hyperpigmenation. 


Other potential benefits 

Some of the other benefits that are being explored relate to skin cancer, skin disorders and infections. All of these potential applications of turmeric are well outside the scope of turmeric in skin care but are interesting to note. 

Does Turmeric Lighten The Skin?

Turmeric is often touted as being able to lighten the tone of your skin. However, the research doesn’t seem to support this benefit. Lightening products have become increasingly popular, particularly in Asian countries such as India, China and Korea, where light-tone skin is considered to be a mark of status and beauty. This had led to an increased interest in lightening ingredients. 

Unfortunately, there is little evidence to support the idea that turmeric will lighten the skin. However, there is some research that suggests that it may be beneficial for hyperpigmentation. In one study a 14.16% decrease in visible hyperpigemnation was seen across four weeks of use. It is important to note that a couple of studies doesn’t strongly indicate a new use or benefit so, take that information with a grain of salt. 

Does Turmeric Actually Stain Your Skin?

Turmeric can stain your skin a yellow color. If you have cooked with turmeric before you will be familiar with how easily it can stain your wooden spoon, hands, bowls etc. 

In skincare products, turmeric is generally formulated so that the likelihood of it staining your skin is reduced. However, products like scrubs, masks and DIY products can stain the skin, so be mindful of this potential side effect before slathering on a DIY turmeric mask the day before a big event. 

How To Use Turmeric For Your Skin

Generally, it is recommended to use products that have been formulated by professionals. This minimizes the risk of the product staining your skin and helps to maximize the benefits. 

If you choose to mix up a concoction of your own just be mindful of how readily turmeric will stain your skin. 

Is Turmeric Vegan? 

Yes, turmeric is a vegan ingredient. Turmeric is derived from the Cucuma longa plant, part of the ginger family which is native to South Asia. This makes turmeric a plant-based ingredient. 

Is Tumeric Safe?

Turmeric is an ingredient that is generally well studied when it comes to oral consumption but little research has been conducted on the benefits of using turmeric topically on the skin. It is important to note that without this research it is hard to determine how useful the inclusion of turmeric may be to the skin, particularly when we don’t know what concentration of turmeric would need to be included in products for them to be beneficial and improve the skin.  

Vollono L, Falconi M, Gaziano R, et al. Potential of Curcumin in Skin Disorders. Nutrients. 2019;11(9):2169. Published 2019 Sep 10. 


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