Turmeric is a popular spice in Eastern dishes, but have you ever wondered what, if any, health benefits this ubiquitous ingredient offers? Turmeric is an amazingly useful and potent herb—and not just in meals. The health benefits of turmeric are countless. It’s a popular stomach soother, it tames oxidation and it helps relieve pain. But what many people don’t know is that it is an excellent skin food, treating myriad skin conditions. All you have to do to enjoy its benefits is rub the spice on your skin!
The Benefits of Turmeric on Skin
Women in many Asian countries use turmeric in their daily skin care regimen, as this brightly colored spice is full of antioxidants that can help slow down cell damage. In India, turmeric has traditionally been used as an antiseptic for ages. It is also used to discourage unwanted facial hair and body hair, and to treat dry skin, eczema, acne, psoriasis and other inflammatory skin disorders. You can even benefit from turmeric by using it as a skin exfoliant—many people commend turmeric’s ability to improve their skin’s texture, complexion and health.
A word of caution: Turmeric should not be used by pregnant women. And while turmeric may offer many skin benefits, soaps containing turmeric powder may stain fabrics.
Here are two simple ways you can use turmeric to your skin’s benefit.
Turmeric Face Mask
This at-home facial mask can result in a glowing complexion, as it keeps acne away and evens skin tone.
2 teaspoons gram flour or regular flour
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Few drops milk and honey
1. Mix ingredients into a paste. If your skin is especially dry, replace milk and honey with a few drops of olive oil.
To use: Apply to face and neck and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Use your fingers to rub off the mixture and rinse with warm water. Makes 1 mask.
Indonesian Beauty Ritual
Lulur, which is Javanese for “coating the skin,” is an age-old beauty ritual that leaves skin feeling soft supple, relaxes the mind and body.
2 tablespoons rice powder
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 cups plain yogurt
2 drops sandalwood essential oil
3 drops jasmine essential oil
2 to 4 ounces light oil such as almond, avocado or macadamia nut
Handful fragrant flowers such as rose, jasmine, frangipani or lavender
1. Combine rice powder, turmeric, yogurt and essential oils, mixing well, and set aside.
To use as a body mask: Massage your favorite oil over skin. Then, massage turmeric mixture over skin, gently exfoliating and polishing skin. Rinse in a warm shower.
To use as a flower bath: Add flowers to a warm bath and unwind in the warm, sweet-scented bath. Makes 10 ounces (1 treatment).