Turmeric is a highly regarded botanical ingredient that has been popular in Asian recipes for centuries, touting benefits that go far beyond flavor and nutrition. This antioxidant-rich and antibacterial spice claims to reverse UV damage, eliminate acne, and do so much more for your skin, and brand like Sunday Riley and Clarins are putting turmeric in their products to help consumers reap the benefits of this ancient ingredient.
But does it really work as a topical treatment? And what are the real benefits? We spoke to dermatologists to uncover the root of today’s beauty obsession with this ancient spice and find out if there is scientific evidence that taking turmeric topically or by ingestion can actually cure your skin care issues. the skin.
How does turmeric claim to improve your skin?
In oriental medicine, turmeric is known for its anti-microbial and antioxidant-rich healing properties, both of which can be extremely beneficial in treating many common skin care problems.
Azadeh Shirazi, a board-certified dermatologist in La Jolla, Calif., who specializes in cosmetic dermatology, told HuffPost that turmeric has been known for its medicinal uses for centuries, especially because it contains the active compound curcumin.
“Curcumin is gaining the attention of the medical community as we identify new, effective and inexpensive ways to use it to treat inflammatory skin conditions.”
Tanya Kormeili, a board certified dermatologist in Santa Monica, Calif., said that âbecause curcumin is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components, it has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of various skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis , as well as vitiligo. It has also been used as a lightening agent for skin discoloration.
According to Calvin Williams, certified dermatologist in Bedford, Texas, the healing properties extend to the healing of wounds, including severe acne, hypertrophic scars (thick, raised scars after skin trauma, burns or surgical incisions) and ailments pro-inflammatory such as rosacea.
Of all the claims about turmeric’s beauty benefits, Williams said that perhaps the most exciting beauty benefit is “the potential ability of turmeric to help keep our skin looking younger,” noting. 2014 in vitro study this has demonstrated the abilities of turmeric to reduce the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and reactive oxygen species, both of which play a huge role in how we lose our youthful appearance.
Are these claims supported by science?
Williams cited a 2009 study conducted in hairless mice that showed turmeric extract to help prevent wrinkles, discoloration, and loss of skin elasticity, all changes typically seen with chronic UVB exposure; and one 2014 Wound Healing Society Study who found that curcumin significantly reduced hypertrophic scarring in rabbit ear sores. It’s important to note that animal studies don’t always translate to their effectiveness in humans, but he thinks the study shows promise.
Kormeili pointed out a 2019 study on the effects of turmeric on skin health, who examined conditions such as acne, alopecia, atopic dermatitis (eczema), psoriasis and vitiligo, and found early evidence that turmeric / curcumin may provide therapeutic benefits for skin health when ingested or taken topically.
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Although studies support these claims, dermatologists are a bit skeptical due to their limitations.
âTurmeric is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, so it makes sense that it is helpful in skin care issues like acne, hyperpigmentation, and anti-aging,â said Maryann Mikahil, a certified dermatologist in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “However, to be truly backed by science, there has to be some type of study done – a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.”
“As exciting as these findings are, it’s important to note that these studies have mostly been done in laboratories with animal models, and human studies are sorely lacking,” added Williams. He believes the results of these studies “demonstrate the need for more conclusive research.”
Here is how to use turmeric in skin care.
Experts say turmeric as a skin care agent is just as effective when taken topically or ingested, and whichever method you choose, you’ll have several options.
Kormeili is a fan of both topical application and ingestion. âI used to mix it into skin care products,â she said, adding, âI often recommend it in foods and as a supplement to my patients. For a tasty treat, you can cook it in your favorite recipes including smoothies, soups, golden milk ice cream, lattes and curry dishes.
For an at-home treatment, Shirazi suggested making a DIY face mask by combining turmeric with yogurt and distilled white vinegar.
As much as she loves a homemade mask, Shirazi says to be careful with how easily turmeric tends to stain. If you are concerned that the pigment is lingering on your face or hands, Shirazi suggests trying Kasturi turmeric, that does not stain, and mixing it with flour and milk to make an exfoliating mask.
Of course, if cooking up recipes isn’t for you, luckily some brands have already done the job.
Shirazi likes Sunday Riley’s CEO Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Facial Oil, a Instantly absorbing face oil that brightens, hydrates and leaves skin glowing. She is also a fan of the rich in antioxidants Verso Antioxidant Turmeric Booster face serum, based on turmeric.
This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.