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There's nothing new about turmeric. The golden spice has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, but why has it become such a buzz ingredient, especially in skincare, and what can it do for you?
Turmeric's key ingredient is the high concentration of curcumin, which also gives it that vibrant shade of yellow; to simply enjoy it in your diet add a little of its peppery, slightly bitter flavour to soups, stews, curries or smoothies.
When it comes to beauty, however, turmeric can be used for a variety of issues such as blackheads, blemishes, hyperpigmentation, dryness and wrinkles. The best way to try it is in a home-made turmeric face mask, adjusting the other ingredients according to the effect you want, and then applying it once or twice per week.
TIP: Beware turmeric's legendary staining, especially on pale skin. Assess your risk by testing a dab on your inner arm. After one minute, wipe off a small amount. If there's no colour change, leave on the rest for four minutes, then wipe off another swipe. If there's still no stain, leave the remainder for another five minutes before wiping off.
Stir one teaspoon of turmeric into one tablespoon of aloe vera gel or coconut oil, then dab it onto the irritated area.
Tip: Remove minor skin staining by washing your face with milk. Otherwise you'll have to wait until the stained skin cells shed naturally.
As a powerful antioxidant, curcumin neutralises free radicals before they harm healthy cells. It works in the same way as lemon juice reduces browning (another form of oxidation) in cut apples.
In the skin, this means it helps reduce the breakdown of collagen and elastin and slows signs of visible ageing such as lines and wrinkles.
Tip: Add a small amount of flour if your mask seems too thin and runny. For dry skin, use ground oatmeal instead.
By helping to manage micro-organisms on the skin, turmeric could help in the management of breakouts. The easiest way to use it is simply to mix it with a little water (try half a teaspoon of ground turmeric to three teaspoons of water).
Tip: Stick to 10-minute treatments if your skin is pale, otherwise increase treatment time gradually to 15-20 minutes.
Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible, supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.