Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for millennia, and may also be helpful to use directly on your skin as a face mask. Jocelyn Bailey explains.
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?
How does it work?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.
A hydrating treatment mask
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 tablespoon ground turmeric
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.