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It\’s hard not to love a spice like turmeric, largely because it kind of seems like it heals everything. Digestion issues? Turmeric. Hangover? Turmeric. Congested skin? Turmeric. Regardless of the issues that may arise in our daily lives and with our bodies, turmeric is always there—and it\’s readily available in treats like golden milk lattes (our favorite anti-bloat remedy).

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric powder is made from the root of Curcuma zedoaria, a form of ginger native to Southeast Asia. Its active ingredient, curcumin, is what gives it that yellow-orange tinge; it\’s also what makes it such a potent anti-inflammatory. Western brands have only recently taken note of something Eastern cultures have known for hundreds of years, and because of it, they\’ve begun to include turmeric in their products as well.

Benefits of Turmeric for Skin
  • Anti-everything effects: \”Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and antioxidant effects, which can benefit the skin in many ways,\”.
  • Helps skin ailments:  \”Turmeric has been reported to help with eczema, psoriasis, acne, and wound healing.\” Purified curcumin can be used instead if you want to use a serum, since it\’s colorless.
  • Lightens pigmentation: \”Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin, which is also anti-inflammatory and can lighten pigmentation,\”.
  • Healing: It helps heal and prevent dry skin.
  • Anti-aging: Turmeric slows the skin aging process, and is used to diminish wrinkles, keep skin supple, and improve skin’s elasticity.
Side Effects of Turmeric
The big, common side effect of turmeric is a purely superficial one; it has a habit of staining everything yellow. However, this isn\’t the case with kasturi turmeric. If you\’re eating the turmeric instead of using it on your skin, you might also have gastrointestinal problems from going overboard. But other than that, you\’re fairly free and clear.

How to Use It

What Kind to Buy

Regular turmeric can temporarily stain the skin. Kasturi turmeric (curcuma aromatica) is non-staining and is believed by some cultures to have the same properties for clearing acne, inhibiting facial hair growth, and brightening the complexion (although there aren\’t ample findings from studies to commit these properties as fact). It, however, is not edible, therefore not used for cooking, and should only be used externally.

It may be difficult to find in some areas of the United States, but you can look for kasturi turmeric in Indian storesGram flour (also known as besan flour, chickpea flour, and garbanzo flour) is often used in homemade recipes with turmeric, to cleanse and exfoliate the face. Milk contains lactic acid, which helps improve skin\’s texture by sloughing off dead skin cells, replenishing moisture, and rejuvenating the complexion. If you are allergic to wheat flour, you can also substitute it with rice flour.

Oily Skin Mask

Turmeric is good for oily skin because it helps regulate the production of sebum, an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands. \”Turmeric can be used as a mask and washed off,\”. \”Because of its bright yellow color, it isn\’t popular as a leave-on product and can stain your face yellow.\” The orange juice provides fruit acid to clear blemishes and sandalwood is a natural astringent. Add about 1½ tablespoons of sandalwood powder and a pinch of ground turmeric to 3 tablespoons of orange juice and apply the paste to the face. Leave on for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.

As a Face Cleanser

Mix chickpea (or rice) flour with turmeric powder in equal proportions. To save time for future treatments, store the mixture in an airtight bottle. Add raw or soy milk (or yogurt) to a teaspoon of chickpea/turmeric powder to make a paste. Apply evenly to the face and leave on for about 10-15 minutes. Wash the mask off with warm water.

As a Facial Hair Reducer

Kasturi turmeric is used in many cultures as a facial hair reducer, but keep in mind that studies haven\’t actually been able to prove that the ingredient is successful at decreasing hair growth. If you want to try it for yourself anyway, you can mix kasturi turmeric with chickpea flour, which is also used so that your face does not get stained. You can also mix the turmeric with a favorite facial scrub. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. If used regularly, you should see results in about a month.

As a Night Cream

Prepare a paste made from turmeric and milk or yogurt and apply it to your face. Allow the mask to dry and leave it on overnight. For a less messy nighttime regimen, you can add a pinch of turmeric to your favorite moisturizer or treatment product. (In both cases, be sure to use an old pillowcase and bed linen that you don’t mind staining). Wash off the mask in the morning using a gentle cleanser.

As an Acne Treatment

Turmeric is used for acne because of its antiseptic and antibacterial properties that fight pimples and breakouts. It removes redness from acne and other types of scarring, reduces inflammation, and evens out skin discolorations. Some people drink the spice as a tea with water or milk to help prevent acne outbreaks. If turmeric tea doesn’t sound very palatable to you, try mixing turmeric with plain water or coconut or sesame oil, and dab onto blemishes and acne scars. You can also mix a small about of turmeric with lemon or cucumber juice (just a few drops to make a paste) and leave on the marks for 10-15 minutes.

Information from: Byrdie

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