Most well known for being a common cooking spice and/or colorant, turmeric powder has also been found to have many uses beauty-wise. In a quick search on the do-all website, Pinterest, hundreds of links can be found listing the positive benefits and ways to integrate it into our daily beauty routines. This magical yellow powder is boasted to be good for acne scars, redness (such as rosacea), inflammation, detoxing, and so much more. Turmeric has also been linked to recent studies as a possible anti-Alzheimer’s disease molecule. But what is it in turmeric that gives it all these special properties? The molecule curcumin, is not only responsible for it’s signature yellow color, but it is what makes this such a powerful ingredient.
A fairly simple molecule, curcumin is a safe organic product derived from the ginger plant family, Curcuma longa. In turmeric, curcumin acts as the active ingredient allowing it to be such a useful ingredient.
I’ve just recently started using turmeric powder in hopes of reducing my acne scars and presence of acne in general. After a lot of searching I’ve discovered an extremely simple face mask that accomplishes just that. Using a bowl, I mix one egg white and just a few dashes of turmeric powder, mix the ingredients together and apply to my face either using a synthetic foundation brush, the back of a spoon, or my fingers. I let the mask stay on my face until it hardens, then I rinse it off using warm water. Warning: turmeric will stain anything, including your skin. I would recommend wearing an old shirt for this, as well as using an old wash cloth to rinse your face off. If your skin stains it will only last for about a day, being very light-skinned I’ve had experience with this occurrence. I’ve found that following up with baking soda as an exfoliant will take the stain out, because it’s known to be an extremely good pore cleanser (more on that later).
This article just touches on the absolute basics of turmeric and it’s chemistry as a powerful potential. The beauty industry has not come out with very many products containing this powerhouse powder, making turmeric a very high potential ingredient. Turmeric can be found in powder and capsule form in many stores and online.
Fun fact: as a colorant, turmeric is extremely pH sensitive. Therefore if/when it stains your clothes and towels, using an alkaline detergent will cause it to turn a dark red. Turmeric can be used an indicator to test whether a solution is acidic or basic; this video provides a great visual example.