In other words, as Dr. Collier puts it, “turmeric contains properties that encourage the skin to bring out its natural glow.”
Are there any risks associated with using turmeric topically?
Although turmeric is considered very tolerable, both Dr. Fromowitz and Dr. Collier recommend patch-testing by applying a small amount of your chosen turmeric-infused product to your forearm and waiting a day or two to see if you develop an allergic reaction; it would likely manifest as irritation, redness, and swelling. That said, if you already know you’re allergic to it when it’s in food, don’t even bother trying to apply it topically.
The biggest complaint typically heard about turmeric is that its vibrant hue can stain skin. “Expect that it might discolor or stain your skin yellow,” Dr. Fromowitz says. But fear not: “This typically washes off easily.”
Robinson says a good cleanse with your usual face wash should do the trick, but Dr. Collier likes a couple of other methods for thoroughly removing any lingering tinge. “To remove the yellow stains, use slightly warm olive or coconut oil, as turmeric is oil-soluble,” she explains. Dab a cotton ball in the oil of your choice and rub it gently over the affected areas for 30 seconds, followed by a rinse with water. “Another way to remove the yellow stains is to rub a milk-soaked cloth or cotton pad over the skin in a circular motion to lighten the stains. Afterward, rinse your face with a mild cleanser and water.”
What kind of products contain turmeric?
Although turmeric has been around for a long time, Robinson has noticed that it’s gained even more popularity in recent years — which may account for why you can find it in so many types of products. Furthermore, he says, “It plays well with other ingredients.”
Both Robinson and Dr. Collier note two specific types of products in which the herb is frequently found. “Turmeric is most often used in masks and serums to reduce acne, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation,” Dr. Collier says. Robinson is a fan of Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque because of how quickly it makes skin look more radiant. As for serums, Dr. Fromowitz likes the Verso Antioxidant Turmeric Booster, which helps protect easily irritated skin from the onslaught of free radicals and other environmental agitators.
Of course, there are plenty of other types of products in which turmeric shows up. Dr. Collier appreciates the formula of the Kora Organics Turmeric Glow Moisturizer, a refillable face cream that teams up the extract with licorice to help combat discoloration. Dr. Fromowitz also recommends the Best of Beauty Award-winning Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm.
And don’t be surprised if turmeric starts showing up in your SPF products. “Due to recent innovations in topical delivery and enhanced bioavailability, curcumin also shows promise as a new sunscreen filter,” Dr. Collier tells Allure. “So we may start seeing turmeric’s active ingredient in sunscreens and moisturizers used concomitantly with sunscreens.” (Just be sure to keep using FDA-approved sunscreens — don’t rely on turmeric alone.)
How can turmeric be used in DIY skin care?
Turmeric is one of the most popular ingredients in DIY skin-care recipes. (Hey, if it’s already in the pantry, why not?) As a cosmetic chemist, Robinson prefers to stick to products from reputable manufacturers; however, if you’re feeling creative, Dr. Collier says there several ingredients that may already be in your home that are agreeable with turmeric for a safe DIY skin-care treatment.
“Turmeric combines well with honey, as honey is a natural humectant. It also combines well with milk or yogurt because of the lactic acid, a natural exfoliant,” Dr. Collier says. She personally loves an easy-to-make mask that involves a tablespoon of honey, a teaspoon of turmeric, and a few drops of rosewater. “Mix this blend into a paste. Keep the mask on for five to 10 minutes, and then rinse well with warm water.”
More ingredient info:
Now check out Amanda Steele’s 10-minute routine: