Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a plant that’s native to Asia. While often used in cooking, this spice is also used in supplements for its medicinal value.
It’s also used in both natural and conventional alternative skin care products. In fact, the turmeric face mask is gaining popularity to help address certain skin concerns with the plus of not consisting of potentially harmful chemicals.
Read on to learn more about this do-it-yourself mask and how to make your own. We’ll also examine the benefits and potential risks so you can see if a turmeric mask ought to be a staple in your own skin care routine.
Turmeric has the potential to reduce swelling (inflammation) and irritation. Inflammation and irritation can aggravate other skin conditions, so using turmeric as a regular face mask can help.
Curcuminoids, the active compounds in turmeric, are sometimes used to decrease inflammation in arthritis. These potential anti-inflammatory effects could possibly help your skin, too.
Turmeric may also treat and prevent bacteria in the skin that can otherwise contribute to acne cysts and staph infections. (Any active infections should be looked at by a doctor first, though!)
With its anti-inflammatory potential, turmeric may be helpful in treating inflammatory acne. This includes:
The extract may also reduce the appearance of acne scars.
Turmeric is rich in antioxidants. When it comes to skin care, antioxidants can help keep free radicals from destroying healthy cells. This may prevent the onset of hyperpigmentation, scars, and other long-term skin concerns.
There’s even the possibility that turmeric, along with other healthy lifestyle habits, may reduce the chances of skin cancer, but more studies are needed.
Hyperpigmentation has been one focus of topical turmeric studies. If you have patches of skin that are darker than the normal surrounding tissue, this is hyperpigmentation.
One such study found that a turmeric-based cream reduced hyperpigmentation by more than 14 percent over the course of four weeks.
When applied topically, turmeric may reduce skin irritation. Some studies have supported curcuminoids as potential irritation-alleviators for breast cancer treatments.
Studies have suggested turmeric as a possible treatment for fine lines and wrinkles. It may work to improve overall appearance in skin texture, which, in turn, may make wrinkles less noticeable.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, turmeric is generally considered a safe product when used orally or topically.
Oral supplements may pose the potential for gastrointestinal side effects, such as upset stomach and cramps.
There are no known side effects of turmeric used in skin care. Still, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test before using any new ingredient on your skin. Even plant-based products like turmeric can cause reactions in some users.
To do a patch test, you’ll want to make your turmeric mask ahead of time and then apply a small amount to your arm before using it on your face:
- Wait at least a day, and if no reactions develop, it’s likely safe for you to apply the turmeric mask on your face.
- Don’t use the mask if any redness, swelling, or itchiness develops on your patch test.
When it comes to making your own turmeric mask, there are other downsides to consider:
- As can be the case with any DIY mask, you might find making your own face products messy and time-consuming.
- Turmeric may also stain your skin and clothing, so make sure you use extra care when mixing up your own recipe.
The key to making a turmeric face mask is to combine turmeric powder or extract with a thickening agent to make a paste. Some of the ingredients may vary based on skin concern:
- For acne and antibacterial concerns, combine turmeric with warm water and honey.
- For hyperpigmentation and wrinkles, combine turmeric with yogurt and lemon juice for extra nourishment and brightening effects.
- For irritation, mix turmeric extract with aloe vera gel for natural soothing effects.
- For antioxidant power, simply combine turmeric with water (you may add a small amount of almond or rice flour to make this mask thicker and easier to apply).
No matter which recipe you choose, leave the mask on for about 10 minutes at a time. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and follow up with desired toner, serum, and moisturizer.
Avoid leaving on overnight, as turmeric has the propensity to stain (especially if you have lighter skin). You can try washing your face with milk, if there is some staining from this yellow spice. You can use the mask up to two to three times per week.
If you’re looking for a natural face mask to help reduce concerns related to inflammation and irritation, then a DIY turmeric mask may be worth considering.
Like conventional skin care masks, it can take some time to see the full results of your homemade turmeric version, so it’s important to stick with it for a few weeks at minimum.
If you still don’t see any results, talk to your dermatologist about other DIY recipes you can try that will address your individual skin care needs.