“Studies have shown that curcumin, found in turmeric, can help wounds heal more quickly by decreasing inflammation and oxidation,” explains Jupiter, Florida-based, board-certified dermatologist De Anne Harris Collier, M.D. But that’s really just the beginning. Dr. Collier adds that the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities of turmeric may target facial pores and calm the skin, helping to clear up acne breakouts. “This also ultimately reduces acne scarring, as well as builds collagen, allowing aging skin to appear more firm and vibrant.” She adds that turmeric has also been shown to decrease hyperpigmentation.
In other words, as Dr. Collier puts it, “turmeric contains properties that encourage the skin to bring out its natural glow.”
Are there any risks associated with using turmeric topically?
Although turmeric is considered very tolerable, both Dr. Fromowitz and Dr. Collier recommend patch-testing by applying a small amount of your chosen turmeric-infused product to your forearm and waiting a day or two to see if you develop an allergic reaction. It would likely manifest as irritation, redness, and swelling. If you already know you’re allergic to it when it’s in food, don’t even bother trying to apply it topically.
The biggest complaint typically heard about turmeric is that its vibrant hue can stain skin. “Expect that it might discolor or stain your skin yellow,” Dr. Fromowitz says. But fear not: “This typically washes off easily.”
Robinson says a good cleanse with your usual face wash should do the trick, but Dr. Collier likes a couple of other methods for thoroughly removing any lingering tinge. “To remove the yellow stains, use slightly warm olive or coconut oil, as turmeric is oil-soluble,” she explains. Dab a cotton ball with the oil of your choice and rub it gently over the affected areas for 30 seconds, followed by a rinse with water. “Another way to remove the yellow stains is to rub a milk-soaked cloth or cotton pad over the skin in a circular motion to lighten the stains. Afterwards, rinse your face with a mild cleanser and water.”
What kind of products contain turmeric?
Although turmeric has been around for a long time, Robinson has noticed that it’s gained even more popularity in recent years — which may account for why you can find it in so many types of products. Furthermore, he says, “It plays well with other ingredients.”