We all know that turmeric—the main spice used to make curry—is seriously delish. But did you know that it actually has some pretty cool health and beauty benefits? This golden-hued herb has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, says Dr. Sharyn Laughlin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and medical director of Laserderm in Ottawa, Ontario. Indian brides have even reportedly been using DIY turmeric masks for years to achieve glowing skin, notes Dr. Laughlin.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a type of polyphenol (a potent antioxidant) that has anti-inflammatory properties, says Samantha Cassetty, RD, a New York City-based nutritionist. “In terms of topical use, we are starting to understand that turmeric has beneficial properties relating to its use as an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and antioxidant,” says Dr. Laughlin. “It’s emerging as an innovative ingredient for improving wound healing and the benefits extend to other skin conditions like acne and eczema.”
Various studies back this up. A 2016 review found that turmeric—when taken internally or applied topically—may help improve skin issues ranging from acne to psoriasis to sun damage. Another study suggests that curcumin in facial cream could help prevent the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for dark spots.
And the list of the potential benefits of turmeric goes on. Dr. Laughlin points out that doctors are now studying its use in relation to everything from gastrointestinal disorders to cancer to depression. “The polyphenol compounds within turmeric seem to exhibit efficacy in multiple pathways related to things like improving the cellular death of cancerous cells and inhibiting their migration,” she says.
When it comes to adding spices like turmeric to your diet, Cassetty recommends using them liberally and often to help reap the antioxidant rewards. Sprinkling some into coffee or your baked goods are easy ways to hop on the turmeric train, she adds. Of course, applying turmeric directly to your face could get messy really fast. Not a DIY-er? Spice up your beauty routine with these five products instead!
This anti-aging serum does it all. It hydrates, minimizes the look of fine lines and protects against free radical damage—all due to ingredients in its unique formula like turmeric, goji berry extract and hyaluronic acid.
This daily moisturizer for normal to oily skin types features antioxidants like wild turmeric root extract, red peony extract and raspberry extract to help soothe inflammation and protect your skin against signs of premature aging.
Remove your makeup and cleanse your skin in one step with this cleanser. It’s packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients like (you guessed it) turmeric, blueberry extract and omega 3. It also contains probiotics to help calm inflammation.
Get your fill of turmeric with these daily supplements that also contain vitamin K and calcium for bone health and folate for increased metabolism and brain health.