Health and Beauty Benefits of Turmeric

Health and Beauty Benefits of Turmeric

If you’ve been to Sephora or your local beauty store lately, you’ve probably seen a bunch of products popping up with turmeric as the main ingredient (not to mention the fact that it’s been popping up in supplement aisles and even coffee shops - hello golden lattes).

Now, you may be thinking turmeric? Isn’t that for cooking?

Well, yes! That said, while turmeric has been used to flavor your favorite curry, it’s also been popular for centuries as a healing spice. So is it actually a good idea to start sloughing it on your skin and drinking it in your coffee?

Here’s what we know.

Turmeric: The Basics

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This bright yellow-orange spice, which is native to South Asia, has been used for hundreds of years for its healing properties and cosmetic benefits. Specifically, it has been used in Indian healing and in Ayurveda for centuries, and it’s an important part of Indian cuisine and culture.

So what exactly is in  turmeric that could make it a healthy skincare ingredient? First, it has curcumin, a bioactive component that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also has antimicrobial properties that can properly address many antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Skin Health Benefits

All of this gives turmeric many skin-saving benefits, including:

  • Help heal wounds:Curcumin has crazy high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which make it super excellent at healing wounds by decreasing inflammation and oxidization.
  • Ease psoriasis and eczema symptoms: Psoriasis flares are generally caused by inflammation in the skin. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits of turmeric may help control psoriasis symptoms and flares.
  • Fade acne scars and treat breakouts: This is due to anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
  • Brighten dark circles: A recent study found that turmeric can  effectively brighten skin and enhance natural glow.
  • Slow unwanted hair growth: In one study, Curcuma oil was applied to the underarm of 60 women for 10 weeks. They found that the oil actually reduced or slowed hair growth in participants, suggesting it may actually inhibit unwanted hair growth.
  • Combat sun damage and signs of aging: A recent study found that turmeric’s antioxidant compounds significantly improved sun damage in rat skin, which suggests it could help people as well. Plus, turmeric blocks the enzyme elastase, which attacks your skin’s ability to produce elastin (a substance that gives your skin elasticity and suppleness).

What About General Turmeric Health Benefits?

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This spice has also been hailed for its ability to help with a host of conditions, including depression, high cholesterol, gingivitis, premenstrual issues, and even hangovers. In Ayurvedic medicine, it’s often used as an antiviral, antibacterial, and antiparasitic agent - and it’s even been used to help with diabetes, pain, and memory conditions.

It’s a pretty long list of “possible” health benefits, but according to The New York Times, the science isn’t fully there to back these claims ... yet. Most of the studies that havebeen conducted are small lab studies, and many human trials have been inconclusive.

That said, there isn’t evidence that turmeric will actually hurt you either - and it is definitely anti-inflammatory - so if you’re adding it to your latte or juice, it’s not a bad thing.

Any Warnings?

It can stain skin and leave a yellow residue - though those with darker skin tones can actually take advantage of this and use it as an all-natural self-tanner!

If you have an allergy, it can also cause irritation, redness, and swelling - so try a spot test before you go all-out with a turmeric product.