Make up Artist Beth Olderson swears by her Tumeric and Yogurt facemask and this certainly caught our attention! But do us Beauty Geeks think there is any method to the madness?!


The Asian spice turmeric has long been used to enrich the culinary delights of Asia. The plant itself (Curcuma longa) is a relative of the ginger family and has also been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine for thousands of years. But what can this exotic ingredient do for our skin? We’ve taken a look at intriguing ingredient under our Beauty by the Geeks microscope to find out!

Good Bye Free Radicals!

The active ingredient in turmeric is a natural phenol called Curcumin. Curcumin has anti-oxidant properties, protecting our cells from being damaged by free radicals. Curcumin influences our detoxification enzymes, which protect us from the oxidative stress produced by these pesky radicals! Free radicals have been implicated as a key factor in the ageing process, and lead to cellular damage that may manifest as ageing! (See our ‘Free Radicals, Anti-oxidants and Ageing’ article to read more about this process!)

Free radicals are a particular issue for city gals! The higher levels of pollution around us in the city expose us to more free radicals, and so turmeric may go a long way to keeping us sexy in the city!

Good Bye Bacteria!

Turmeric has also been shown to have anti-microbial properties, helping us keep away unwanted bacteria and fungi that can cause skin conditions such as impetigo and psoriasis, which leave our skin looking red, inflamed, crusty and scaly – no thank you!

Turmeric has now been considered for the treatment of a range of chronic and acute dermatoses (skin defects, disruptions and lesions).

Good Bye Inflammation, Hello Healing!

Inflammation in our skin can be seen as the redness and swelling that is often associated with skin conditions like acne and eczema (check out our Acne and Eczema Ask the Experts!). Turmeric has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects by opposing the Nf-κB inflammatory pathway, helping to calm that unsightly irritation!

The healing properties of this Asian spice are particularly exciting! Turmeric aids the synthesis of collagen – a key structural component in the skin. The curcumin component of the spice works to encourage the regrowth of a proper blood supply during wound healing, as well the process of wound remodelling to help our skin regenerate quickly and efficiently, potentially reducing the likelihood of scarring.

The Verdict

Whilst a lot of the studies involving turmeric revolve around the digestion of the spice, topical application of this ingredient has been shown to directly deliver it into application sites, helping us target this ingredient exactly where we need it! Its active ingredient curcumin is also under keen research into its anti-cancer properties!

The radical-quenching, anti-bacterial and inflammation-fighting properties of this wonder ingredient are exactly what we’re looking for when our skin isn’t quite at its best, and may promote overall healthier-looking and damage-defying skin with long term use.


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