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Turmeric seems to be everywhere these days—with good reason. This bold kitchen ingredient with the bright yellow color and pungent flavor is chock full of body and skin benefits with a 2,000-year-old history as a medicinal Indian spice to boot.

Anti-cancer benefits

Curcumin, the compound that produces turmeric and gives it the yellow color, has been shown to reduce tumors in multiple scientific studies.  It offers anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant properties, as well as anti-cancer polyphenols.

According to an article written by Dr. Linda B. White, a visiting assistant professor in the Integrative Therapies Programme:

It protects against DNA mutations; stimulates enzymes that repair damaged DNA and those that detoxify carcinogens; inhibits tumor formation, growth and migration; discourages angiogenesis (the creation of blood vessels that feed the cancer); and induces cancer cells to die.

Skin benefits

But wait, there’s more!  For the skin, those properties translate into loads of beautifying possibilities. Turmeric:

  • Treats acne blemishes, blackheads, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and other skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis
  • Helps heal and prevent dry skin
  • Slows the skin aging process
  • Diminishes wrinkles
  • Keeps skin supple and improves skin’s elasticity

East Indian women have been using it as a facial cleanser and exfoliant for centuries.

DIY recipe with turmeric

So how can you incorporate the spice into your skincare regimen?  Here’s an easy Do-It-Yourself recipe.

Evidently, kasthuri turmeric (curcuma aromatica)⁵ is the preferred type of turmeric for use in facials because it is non-staining and has the same healing properties as the regular spice, though it is inedible.  I ordered it online from this website.

If you have access to regular turmeric, I highly suggest applying any facial masks made with turmeric using a cheap pastry brush or makeup brush, as it has stained my fingernails for days!  Of course, if you don’t mind a bit of yellowing around your fingertips, then by all means, get right in there.

Bridal Face Mask

Indian brides use this face mask to get their skin prepped and glowing for the big day. It works amazingly well to smooth and brighten skin. According to Shalini Vadhera, author of “Passport to Beauty,” brides faces and bodies are instantly exfoliated, softened, and brightened.

You will need:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour (If you have dry or mature skin, use finely ground oats)⁹
  • 3 tablespoons of turmeric (powdered form)
  • Almond oil (enough to form a paste)

Mix into a paste. Apply to the face and body, and let sit for a few minutes. Remove by rubbing the mixture off with your hands. This motion will add to the exfoliation process and also helps with the removal of fine facial hair, better known as peach fuzz. Wash the rest of the mixture off and enjoy fabulous baby soft skin.

What’s your favorite way to incorporate turmeric into your life?

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