Turmeric is a spice made from the dried, ground root of the Curcuma longa plant. It contains curcumin, a lipophilic, polyphenolic antioxidant pigment that gives turmeric its golden-yellow color.
In addition to being a food seasoning, turmeric has numerous health benefits whether consumed orally vis foods and supplements or applied topically. Ongoing research has shown turmeric and the curcumin it contains play a safe and compelling role in promoting healthier, normalized skin.
On skin, in vivo research has shown that turmeric and its derivatives interrupt signaling in surface cells that trigger signs of irritation. Turmeric helps calm skin and may even play a role in reducing the look of acne-related redness by modulating pathways to restore a healthier, more even appearance.
Research has conclusively shown that turmeric is a potent antioxidant, largely due to its curcumin content (although turmeric also contains other antioxidants). Applying turmeric to skin can help offset signs of environmental damage and, to some extent, thwart the skin-damaging effects from UVB light.
As with many antioxidants, turmeric requires protection from air and light, as routine exposure causes it to break down and limits its availability to skin.Beyond being an antioxidant, some research has shown the curcumin portion of turmeric boosts skin’s hyaluronic acid content, meaning turmeric can also be considered hydrating.
References for this information:
Nutrients, September 2019, ePublication
Journal of Cellular Physiology, February 2019, pages 1,165-1,178
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, September 2017, pages 2,889-2,895
British Journal of Pharmacology, June 2017, pages 1,325–1,348
Phytotherapy Research, August 2016, pages 1,243-1,264
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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
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