It’s kind of a crazy concept that some of the most transformative healing properties come from the earth. Instead of turning to over-the-counter products or harsh chemicals, the answer to your skin’s problems could be right in your pantry. Take turmeric, for example. Exceptional skin and health benefits are just some of the reasons why this natural ingredient reigns supreme.
Turmeric can replenish your skin in several ways: amp up collagen production, heal wounds, and increase the level of fibroblasts. The ingredient may also have a role in helping treat psoriasis, scleroderma or prevent certain skin cancers, although more studies are needed to better understand its utility. If you thought it stopped there, we even discovered its ability to aid with stretch marks, wrinkles, dry skin, dandruff, cracked hands or heels, increase the overall appearance of wrinkles for more youthful-looking skin, and lighten hyperpigmentation.
With continued use, turmeric masks can improve dark spots left behind by acne and decrease redness. Keep in mind that turmeric can temporarily stain the skin yellow, and the lighter your skin tone, the more you may want to be wary and begin with even less turmeric than my recipes call for as it is quite potent in small amounts. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to a good turmeric mask recipe, we tapped the experts.
Meet the Expert
- Michelle Ranavat is a holistic skincare expert and founder of the natural skincare line Ranavat Botanics.
- Shaffali Miglani Taheri is a healer, yoga and meditation teacher, licensed esthetician, and author. Her clean skincare line, Shaffali, combines ancient Indian herbs and spices with aromatherapy.
Keep reading for a list of easy DIY turmeric masks to do at home.
Click Play to Learn How to Make a Turmeric Mask for Acne
What is Turmeric?
“Turmeric is a root that comes in shades of yellow and orange grown throughout India and parts of Asia and Central America,” says Ranavat. “The most common is the Curcuma longa, which is mainly used for cooking, and Curcuma aromatic, which is wild turmeric, mostly used for the skin.”
Turmeric powder is made from the root of Curcuma zedoaria, a form of ginger native to Southeast Asia. Its active ingredient, curcumin, is what gives it that yellow-orange tinge.
"Turmeric is a key ingredient in Ayurvedic practices; it's one of the first ingredients I began using when I first started making face masks at home as a teenager," says Taheri.
The Benefits of Turmeric
Taheri says that "Turmeric helps keep skin clear and glowing, due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and exfoliating properties." Ranavat adds that the kitchen spice "helps fight free radicals, inhibit peroxidation, and reduce iron complex.”
Turmeric can also improve your body’s ability to digest fats, reduce gas, and bloating, and has extremely potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can aid against arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and more.
If turmeric accidentally stains your face, use a facial toner to help remove it.
The Best Turmeric Face Mask Recipes
Turmeric and Tea Tree Oil
- 1 tbsp. besan (chickpea/gram flour)
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1 to 2 drops tea tree essential oil
- 1/2 tsp. water or rosewater
"Chickpea/gram flour is an ingredient common in Indian cuisine and also happens to gently soften and exfoliate skin," says Taheri. "Rosewater is an anti-inflammatory, which smells really good in combination with the strong scent of tea tree, which is a great antibacterial, making this a good mask to target acne."
Mix until you have a paste that is easy to apply on a cleansed face and neck. Leave it on for 20 minutes, rinse, and then lightly moisturize. Taheri recommends this mask once or twice a week. Make sure you test-spot the tea tree essential oils to ensure no contact allergy or sensitivity.
Avocado and Lavender
"This one is for when you want your skin to feel soft or it's looking dry and/or dull," says Taheri. "It's great for hydration and relaxation, thanks to the emollient properties of the avocado."
- 1 tbsp. besan
- 1 tbsp. avocado, mashed
- 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 drop lavender essential oil
- 1 tsp. water
Gradually add in water, blending ingredients well, and mix until you have a paste to apply on your face and neck. Leave it on for 20 minutes (perhaps with some cucumbers over your eyes?) rinse, and then lightly moisturize. Can be used once or twice a week. Test spot lavender oil to confirm there are no allergies or irritation but the other ingredients would help increase any chance of tolerability.
Manuka Honey and Aloe
- 1 tbsp. besan
- 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon manuka honey
- 1/2 teaspoon aloe
"Honey is amazingly humectant on the skin, which is always a good idea," says Taheri. "Manuka honey also is said to have the ability to repair and regenerate skin cells, as well as being soothing and anti-inflammatory."
Gradually add in water, start with 2 teaspoons, blend ingredients well, especially if using fresh aloe, and mix until you have a paste. Apply on a cleansed face and neck, one to two times a week, rinse, and lightly moisturize. Calming, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. What's not to like?
Always start with less liquid when making a paste. You can always add more to reach your desired consistency.
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