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Turmeric appears to be an unassuming southeastern Asian culinary spice, but what it can do for skin is no less than extraordinary. This yellow seasoning contains components that relieve acne, diminish scarring, remove hyperpigmentation and treat conditions such as eczema. In India, turmeric is the traditional pre-wedding facial treatment for brides. Powdered turmeric is usually mixed with milk, plain yogurt or botanical oils before being applied as a facial mask. When it is used twice a week, results are often seen within a month -- showing that beautiful skin doesn't have to strain your budget.
What Is Turmeric?
If you've ever seen or eaten curry, then you know turmeric as the vivid yellow seasoning that brightens the dish. What you may have not realized is that turmeric can also brighten your complexion! It has been used cosmetically as a beautifying aid in India for centuries, and it's still popular today. Larger grocery stores and most Asian markets sell turmeric with their selection of spices. It can also be purchased in bulk or in capsule form as a dietary supplement. If you're using turmeric in capsules, read the label to be sure that pure turmeric is the only ingredient present.
Turmeric Skin Benefits
Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a very strong antioxidant containing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents. These agents resolve unbalanced pH issues in your skin, boost the natural immune response and fight acne-causing bacteria from within. If you also include this spice in your diet as well as using it topically in a mask, you will enhance turmeric's effect on your skin. When a paste containing turmeric and coconut or jojoba oil is applied to injured skin, there will be a minimal chance of scarring. Uneven skin tone is also remedied with turmeric, which is well-known for brightening dull areas.
Turmeric Cleanser Recipes
To use turmeric for your skin, it's best to tailor it to your skin's needs. Almost all turmeric powder facial recipes will direct you to add only enough milk or yogurt to 2 teaspoons (or less) of turmeric to make a paste. You are encouraged to customize the mask for dry, oily or normal skin. For dry skin, add a few drops of skin-friendly jojoba, olive or coconut oil and rose water. Oily skin benefits from the addition of 3 to 5 drops of a natural astringent like fresh lemon juice, and normal skin is kept healthy with a few drops of fruit or vegetable juices such as strawberry and cucumber. Thicken the paste with plain cornstarch (or more turmeric) if needed. Massage the paste onto your skin, and leave it on for 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing.
In rare cases, some people have noticed that turmeric adds a yellowish tone to their skin. This is usually temporary, but it is always a good idea to test the cleansing mask on a discreet portion of your upper arm initially, to see if this is an issue. If so, simply reduce the amount of turmeric in the recipe, and increase the amount of a colorless, edible starch such as cornstarch or flour until the correct consistency is reached. You can also experiment with reducing the length of time you wear the mask before rinsing it off. Feel free to make adjustments until you find the technique for using turmeric that works for you.