Turmeric for Skin Care
Are you a big fan of turmeric lattes? Do you like bright yellow Indian/Middle Eastern curries? If yes, then, this blog post is for you. Because I am going to share some wisdom about turmeric and the skin. In South Asian culture, turmeric has been used for various medicinal and beauty purposes for centuries. I grew up eating fresh green & yellow turmeric pieces in the wintertime. I don’t remember a single curry to which I didn’t add turmeric. I still recall my mom first introducing me to a turmeric latte when I was suffering from a fever and cold. In India, turmeric lattes are known as “Turmeric Milk” or “Haldi Doodh.” And I am sure that when I have a kid, I will pass this milk recipe to her/him. It has been used in Indian culture for over a century as a medicinal milk to cure coughing. I remember my first beauty regimen was “Haldi Body Mask.” So, I have a special connection when it comes to turmeric. For me, as an Indian, I always consider turmeric to be my best friend, whether it is in food or for personal care. But now, the western beauty industry is incorporating this wonder ingredient into beauty products, as they have also come to recognize all the benefits associated with this miracle herb. So let’s go deeper first in terms of its benefits, its Ayurvedic significance, and so on. (I have also shared similar blogposts here: click here )
History of Turmeric In Indian culture, turmeric symbolizes purification, fertility, and good health. It is an Ayurvedic ingredient with anti-septic properties in it. The yellow color of turmeric symbolizes a new beginning; therefore, in Indian culture, every wedding ceremony starts with a "Haldi-Ceremony," also known as a "Turmeric Ceremony." In these ceremonies, turmeric paste (turmeric powder & oil) is rubbed onto the bride and groom's body to brighten their skin for the wedding day. This ingredient also serves as a medicine, condiment, and flavoring. In the 13th century, Marco Polo wrote about his travels in China. He described turmeric in these words:
“There is also a vegetable which has all the properties of the true saffron, as well as the color, and yet it is not really saffron. It is also used as an ingredient in many dishes." Turmeric has a long history of regular usage in South Asia. Its importance is mentioned in Sanskrit medical dissertations and Ayurvedic books. Susruta's Ayurvedic Compendium from 250 BC recommends an ointment containing turmeric to relieve the effects of food poisoning. In a nutshell, turmeric is deeply associated with my roots, and I can’t wait to share the science behind it and a few DIY recipes.
The Science Behind Turmeric Turmeric is a flowering plant from the ginger family. Turmeric is rich in curcumin, a natural active ingredient that promotes the healing and brightening of the skin. Turmeric’s botanical name is Curcuma longa. (referenced) It is a perennial herbaceous plant that can reach up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) tall. Its aromatic rhizomes are the central plant part used to make “turmeric powders.” There are many types of turmeric powders available on the market. While you can easily find this spice in the international aisle of your grocery store, not all turmeric is the same. Regular turmeric can temporarily stain the skin yellow. Kasturi turmeric (Curcuma aromatic) is non-staining, and it contains the same properties for clearing acne, inhibiting facial hair growth, and brightening the complexion. Kasturi turmeric is not edible, therefore it is for external use only. In beauty products, if you see the ingredient “Curcuma longa extract,” that means it has edible turmeric inside. Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which will impart a range of colors from yellow to deep orange. Turmeric contains about 5% volatile oil, resin, and yellow coloring substances known as curcuminoids.
Chemically, turmeric consists of about 50-60% curcumin, which is responsible for the yellow color of the natural colorant. (Formula Botanica) That's why many people call this ingredient Indian Saffron.
The Beauty Benefits of Turmeric
Now that we know the origin and a little bit of the history of turmeric, I want to share how beneficial this ingredient is when it comes to beauty. Turmeric reduces hyperpigmentation, stretch marks, and wrinkles, and eliminates dandruff. As a result of its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, turmeric also heals wounds and minimizes pimple scars. (I still remember my mom used to apply a pinch of turmeric when I cut myself). Turmeric powder is also regarded as an excellent antioxidant for your skin. The main reason antioxidants are so beneficial is because they protect your body from free radicals (I will talk more about free radicals some other time). We all know that UV rays are your skin’s worst enemy. UV exposure causes sunburn, skin cancer, fine lines, wrinkles, and so on. But turmeric may help you turn back your age clock in a matter of minutes.
A cup of joe can make your brain cells brighter, but when it comes to brightening skin cells, I would call on our hero “turmeric.” Adding turmeric essential oil into your regular day moisturizing cream or facial oil is a great way to begin a natural skin care regimen. As you know, essential oils tend to penetrate further into your skin cells. There are so many scientific studies available that explain how turmeric can be used as an essential ingredient to reduce unwanted hair growth. Besides, I have experienced it personally as well. Growing up in India, my mom used to apply turmeric paste mixed with chickpea flour all over my feet to reduce unwanted hair growth. By now you can tell that I can go on and on, especially when it comes to the benefits of turmeric. But my goal here is to provide you as much scientific knowledge as possible in the simplest of terms. And then, to use this knowledge to effectively present my DIY beauty recipes. I want our DIY experience to be successful and productive.
But before we go further with these DIY beauty recipes, there are precautions you need to consider. If you don’t use the proper turmeric type, then the most obvious consequence is skin staining. So make sure you buy the right kind of turmeric for skin care recipes and that it is stabilized. You surely don’t want to look like yellow Indian curry. Turmeric is a killer of manicures; it stains your nail polish permanently, so wear gloves. Make sure you are not allergic to turmeric before using it topically. Patch test all these DIY recipes before applying them to your face. Apply a small portion of the DIY product to your inner arm or wrist. Cover it up for 30-45 min. If you experience any uncomfortable sensation, cleanse the area immediately and stop using it. So without further ado, here are my recipes:
Skin Brightening Turmeric Facial Polish: You will need: · 2 tbsp. Rice Powder · 1 tbsp. Coconut Milk Powder · 1 tsp. Aloe Gel · ½ tsp. Turmeric Powder · Rose Water (as needed) Method: • First, mix the dry ingredients. In your mixing bowl, add rice powder, coconut milk powder & turmeric powder. • Now add aloe Vera gel. And mix it well. • Add rose water as needed to make it into a smooth paste. • Apply this facial polish for 10-15 minutes. Wash your face with lukewarm water and apply serum & lotion. In this recipe, turmeric and rose water will serve as the functional ingredients. That means they are the skin brightening agents. Aloe vera is the humectant in this recipe.
Turmeric Body Oil
You will need: · ¼ cup of Grapeseed Oil · ¼ cup of Almond Oil · 2 Vitamin E Capsules · 7 drops of Turmeric Essential Oil · 3 drops of Sweet Orange Essential Oil Method: • First mix grapeseed and almond oil in one big mixing bowl. • Now add the vitamin E capsules • Lastly, add both essential oils. Mix everything really well. Put this oil into an airtight bottle. • You can apply this body oil right after your yoga class before hitting the showers. It can also be used as a body moisturizer. In this recipe, oil is the main foundational ingredient, but the turmeric essential oil will go to work on your skin.
Skin Brightening Facial Gel for Oily Skin
You will need: · 2 tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel · 3 drops of Turmeric Essential Oil Method: • First, combine both ingredients in your mixing bowl. Make sure you mix it well. • When you buy aloe vera gel, make sure it’s not watery. Also, it needs to be pre-preserved. • Apply this facial gel in a circular motion for 2-3 minutes before you do your day or nighttime skincare regimen. This facial gel might be a miracle product for you. If you apply it for 3-4 weeks continuously, it will reduce blemishes and dullness from your skin. In this recipe, aloe vera gel acta as a humectant. Turmeric essential oil can penetrate deep into your skin and brighten it.
Turmeric Foot Scrub/Soak You will need: · 10 tbsp. Epsom Salt · 3 tbsp. Dried Turmeric Peels · 5 tbsp. Almond Oil · ½ tsp. Turmeric Powder · 3 drops of Turmeric Essential Oil Method: • FIrst, mix the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl. Add turmeric powder, Epsom salt & dried turmeric peels. • Now add essential oil first and then add almond oil. • Gently mix all the oils. • Apply this foot soak/ scrub to your feet in a circular motion for 5 minutes. Wash your feet and apply body lotion or body oil. In this recipe, Epsom salt and dried turmeric peels will act as a gentle exfoliator. Almond oil and the essential oil will nourish your feet.
Anti-inflammatory Facial Scrub You will need: · 2 tbsp. Walnut Shell Powder · 1 tbsp. Powdered Oats · 1 tsp. Vegetable Glycerin · ½ tsp. Turmeric Powder · 3 drops of Turmeric Essential Oil · Flax Seed Oil (as needed) Combine the dry ingredients first. In your mixing bowl, add powdered oats, walnut shell powder & turmeric powder. Now add the vegetable glycerin and mix it well. Add flaxseed oil as needed to make it into a smooth paste. Finally, add 3 drops of turmeric essential oil. Apply this facial scrub in a circular motion for 2-3 minutes. Wash your face with cleanser and then apply serum and lotion. In this recipe, walnut shell powder will act as a gentle exfoliator. Vegetable glycerin is your humectant. Turmeric again is your star ingredient for brightening your skin.
When you go and buy any oils, make sure those oils are unrefined and virgin. These are the purest form of the oils. Amazon is the best place to buy all these ingredients at a fairly low price. I hope you enjoyed our turmeric wisdom and DIY recipes. I would love to hear from you if you tried to use any of the above DIY recipes. Turmeric is such a versatile spice for brightening your skin and food. That’s it for now. I will see you guys at the next blogpost. Ciao!