Skin Nerd: Jury is still out on benefits of turmeric for the skin

Skin Nerd: Jury is still out on benefits of turmeric for the skin

You would nearly need to have been hiding under a rock for the last hundred or so years to not have heard about the health benefits of turmeric.

It’s said to be anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, due to curcumin, a compound within it known to be powerful.

You probably try to include turmeric somewhere in your diet, but some would have you apply it to your face too. Actually, many would, including Priyanka Chopra, Daisy Ridley, Jourdan Dunn, and Katie Holmes, as well as half of Twitter. The question is — should you apply turmeric to your face?

In my research, there have been some studies carried out, including topical turmeric or curcumin specifically and some of these studies showed promising improvement in skin conditions — however, there is currently not enough research on this to claim that topical solutions of turmeric or curcumin are beneficial for skin health.

The reasons the celebs reach for it are for a glow and for improved skin healing, which we cannot say it does. Notably, it’s not just celebs who recommend it — it’s their aestheticians too! Even some dermatologists recommend its topical usage, whereas others believe that it is only useful to the skin when ingested... So, the jury is truly out.

The pros of a DIY turmeric mask would be that it may help to reduce inflammation and improve glow temporarily. In my opinion, it comes with more cons — it is likely to stain everything it touches, including your skin, and unless your goal is to look like a Simpson, that’s definitely not ideal. On top of that, ground turmeric that you buy from the supermarket does not need to be tested on the skin so although it’s likely that it won’t cause you harm, it could just be entirely ineffective.

My advice would be to not go DIY on this. It’s certainly cheap but with the potential for skin-staining and no guaranteed benefits, you’re better off doing nothing. If you’re keen on seeing what all the fuss is about, some skincare products have incorporated turmeric. The Inkey List Turmeric Moisturiser (€10.99, selected pharmacies) contains turmeric extract alongside oat kernel and vitamin E for an antioxidant, soothing moisturiser ideal for sensitive or easily irritated skin.

Vitamin E is a proven potent antioxidant, and oat kernel is known to be anti-inflammatory, so together with the yet to be confirmed topical benefits of turmeric, it’s still an effective product beloved by many.

If you’re looking for a mask that will bring about gleaming skin in a flash, there are plenty that won’t break the bank. REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (€32, selected pharmacies and theskinnerd.com) contains a combo of fruit-derived exfoliating acids and papaya enzymes to gobble up dead skin cells gently.

It may seem pricey, but masks are to be used once a week so you will get three to four months out of it, depending on your usage. You could even save it for just when you need it and stretch it much longer. The difference is that alpha-hydroxy acids have proven benefits for skin health, so you’re guaranteed an effect… And you won’t be wasting your curry supplies either.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you what you put on yourself but the skin is an organ, so you are always better safe than sorry.

The Nerdie Pick

Skin Nerd: Jury is still out on benefits of turmeric for the skin

Eating spoonfuls of turmeric or dissolving it in water is not the most appetising, and curcumin is actually not that bioavailable, meaning that it is naturally resistant to absorption into the bloodstream.

The clever humans at Solgar have made curcumin water-soluble, so it is absorbed quickly, and in studies, is shown to stay in your body for 24 hours. 30 soft gels come in the bottle, so it’s a month’s supply, and they are free from gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, yeast, sugar and sodium but do contain gelatin so are not suitable for vegetarians, vegans

- Solgar Full Spectrum Curcumin Supplement (€35, selected healthfood stores and theskinnerd.com)

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