If rubbing a bright orange substance on your face makes you feel like Donald Trump, don't worry — what we're about to tell you has nothing to do with politics. The formula we're referring to is the turmeric spice, and it's a buzzy term in the holistic health community right now. The spice hails from India and has traditionally been used in cooking (it's part of the ginger root family). But these days, people are adding it to everything from their smoothies to face masks. We're going to explore the latter since turmeric has many amazing beauty uses.
"Turmeric is an age-old ingredient used for its internal as well as external health-and-beauty-promoting properties," explained Sheetal Rawal, a scientist and founder of brand Apsara. "It has been used in the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years for its natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and color-balancing properties. Currently, it is also gaining quite some fame in the West for its significant antioxidant properties."
This ability to bring down inflammation translates to skin care by minimizing acne or bringing down a rosacea flare-up. You can also rely on it for antiaging benefits. "It is loaded with key vitamins that facilitate important skin renewal processes, such as the creation of collagen," added Adina Grigore, the founder of S.W. Basics.
Barbara Close, founder and CEO of Naturopathica, explained the science behind this: "Extracts from turmeric, known as tetrahydrocurcuminoids, efficiently quench free radicals on the surface of the skin due to their antioxidant properties. This protects against damage from ultraviolet radiation and environmental irritants."
In fact, it is even incorporated into prebridal Indian rituals, during which the bride and groom are massaged with a turmeric-infused, homemade herbal concoction. "Turmeric in this age-old concoction is supposed to bring out the 'hidden glow' of the skin," Rawal shared.
Those with sensitive skin should not fear turmeric just because it's spicy. "It's wonderful for anyone who has supersensitive skin, but even for normal skin types, it really makes the skin look flawless," said Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and owner of her eponymous brand. "Make sure you are using pure organic turmeric. Some generic store-bought options contain dyes that can stain your skin after application. This is one ingredient where you must go organic."
If you're still hung up on having an Oompa Loompa face, Grigore has more to add on the matter. "And no, to answer your burning question, it won't dye your skin yellow," she mused. "If you're using it in powder form, just be sure to rinse it off thoroughly!"
Keep reading to hear more from these pros and others about how to incorporate turmeric into your beauty routine — DIY recipes included!