Waking up to find acne on your skin can be so upsetting! This is especially true since acne so often forms in extremely visible places like on the skin of the face and neck, the chest and the back.
Acne isn't just unsightly, but it can also be very uncomfortable and even painful. When the skin becomes inflamed, it can cause tenderness, soreness, itching and worse. Many people also suffer from lowered self-esteem and increased self-consciousness due to the presence of acne on their face.
There are many treatments on the market that claim to be able to resolve acne breakouts. But what do you do when you've tried everything and nothing has worked? Or what if you don't want to use harsh chemicals on your skin or you can't tolerate them?
There are many ways to use turmeric for acne. Turmeric may not be well known in Western medicine, but it has a long and respected history as a healing agent in other medical traditions. In this article, learn about ways to use turmeric to treat acne.
What Is Acne?
Acne is a skin condition that impacts as many as 50 million people in the United States alone each year. It is actually considered the most common skin condition and affects nearly every person at some point in life.
According to Medical News Today, acne is typically chronic and can appear in different places at different times in life.
WebMD explains that there are also different types of acne. The most common and well-known types include whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cysts and nodules. While some types of acne affect only the topmost layer of skin around the follicle, others may be quite deep (cystic acne is an example of this type).
Acne typically first appears during puberty when the body is experiencing hormonal fluctuations. From there, acne can actually occur at any time of life as well - a fact which many adults discover for themselves when they wake up one day with breakouts!
What Causes Acne?
Acne is caused when there is a disruption with how the skin is supposed to work. Beneath the skin, there are glands that produce oil called sebum. These sebaceous glands are connected to the surface of the skin through the follicles, which also each house a single tiny hair. The sebum is supposed to trap dead skin cells and carry them to the surface of the skin for waste disposal.
Sometimes when there are changes in hormone production inside the body, this changes how much oil the sebaceous glands produce. With increased oil production, the follicle itself can get blocked with oil. This blockage, in turn, can cause the follicle to swell. Waste matter that is trapped inside can then cause infection and eruption. The eruption is acne.
Acne is caused by a number of different causes and researchers still don't fully understand all of the events that may trigger acne. Puberty, that period between the tween and young adult years when the body is growing and changing so rapidly, is just one cause for acne. It is thought that stress, pregnancy, menopause, aging itself and simple genetics are the major causes.
Some health conditions and medications may also cause acne or acne-like skin breakouts. It is always a good idea to check with your doctor or holistic healthcare provider before you start treating acne on your own just to make sure that there isn't a deeper underlying health condition causing the skin disturbance!
If you are currently taking any medications for another health condition, talk with the prescribing doctor before you start using turmeric in any significant dosage to treat acne. This is for your safety just to make sure there are no possible interactions!
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant that in the ginger family. You may not know turmeric in context with health remedies, but you have probably tasted it! Turmeric is a very popular Asian spice that is used to flavor food. If you have ever seen a yellow powdery spice, that was likely turmeric!
As Healthline reports, turmeric is not just tasty, but it is also very good for your body. In fact, health expert Dr. Josh Axe calls it a "functional" food, because it tastes good and it is also very good for you!
Turmeric contains powerful compounds called curcuminoids. Its active ingredient is known as curcumin. Curcumin is a known anti-oxidant with disease and cancer-fighting properties. Curcumin is also a natural anti-inflammatory, which means it can help your body fight back against inflammation caused by infection and disease.
Can You Use Turmeric for Your Acne?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a comprehensive review of research literature detailing the use of turmeric to treat skin conditions. This review found that turmeric can be quite beneficial for treating acne and other skin conditions.
This is good news if you are suffering from acne breakouts, especially if you have tried other skin care regimens and haven't found something that works well to clear up your acne.
What are the Benefits of Turmeric for Your Acne?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) highlights the long-term use of curcumin as an anti-inflammatory agent in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a number of different health conditions.
In addition to being a known anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, turmeric also has documented anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-neoplastic (anti-cancer) properties. So how does this work to help resolve acne breakouts?
Specifically, turmeric's active ingredients, the curcuminoids, are able to effectively fight off the underlying causes of skin inflammation, which may range from oil buildup to bacteria on the skin's surface. As the triggers for the inflammation are resolved, the inflammation itself (which is the immune system's own attempt to protect the skin) can be resolved.
Chronic acne can cause skin scarring and also leave the skin more vulnerable to damage from the elements, the sun and also viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic invasion. Using turmeric can help your still-healing skin bolster its own defenses to resist future acne breakouts.
How Do You Use Turmeric for Acne?
There are a number of ways you can use turmeric to treat acne. Turmeric is available in a wide variety of forms from powders and pastes to teas, capsules and even soaps.
In order to get the full benefit of turmeric for treating acne, you need to make sure you are taking in enough of its active ingredients, the curcuminoids. Here are the most common methods for using turmeric to treat your acne.
It can be wise to discontinue use of any other over-the-counter topical acne preparations you may be using before you start using turmeric, both to avoid over-drying and over-stressing your skin and to be able to see what really works best. However, if you are taking prescription acne medications, always talk with the prescribing physician before suddenly discontinuing them.
SAFETY NOTE: If you have never used turmeric for skin care before now, it is always smart to do a small patch test on a less-visible patch of skin first! Wait 48 hours to see how your skin responds. If all is well, you may proceed to use turmeric to treat your acne.
- Drink turmeric tea.
You can find turmeric tea in most grocery stores or online. Wherever possible, look for an organic turmeric tea to be sure that it is free of all pesticides or other chemicals. Steep the teabag in six ounces of hot water - you want a stronger tea to experience the best medicinal benefits.
Turmeric is also great for aiding digestion, so you may want to have your cup of turmeric tea after your main meal of the day.
- Make a turmeric facial mask.
There are many recipes to choose from to create a turmeric facial mask. Be aware that turmeric's yellow color can and will stain clothes, so be sure to wear older clothing when you apply turmeric to the skin!
One of the best and simplest turmeric facial masks is to simply mix one-half teaspoon of turmeric powder in with two to three teaspoons of plain Greek yogurt and a drizzle of plain honey. Mix these ingredients together into a smooth paste and apply to your skin. You can leave this mask on for up to half an hour. Then wash away with cool water and blot to dry.
- Use turmeric soap.
If you are stretched for time, using turmeric soap can be a great way to add turmeric to your skin health routine daily without taking any extra time to prep. Turmeric soap is easy to find in many health stores and online.
Just follow the manufacturer's use instructions, if provided. Otherwise, you can use turmeric soap in place of your usual skin care cleanser morning and evening.
- Take turmeric orally.
Since turmeric powder and fresh root can stain, sometimes it is simplest just to take turmeric orally! Here, you want to be sure the turmeric supplement you are taking is high in curcuminoids, and specifically the active ingredient curcumin.
Health expert Dr. Andrew Weil recommends taking 400 to 600 milligrams per day of turmeric supplements.
Otherwise, follow the manufacturer's dosing instructions, if provided, starting with the lowest recommended dose until you see how your body responds. It is important to increase your use slowly because turmeric in very high doses can cause digestive upset.
- Apply turmeric with lemon juice for problem spots.
Lemon juice is a natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial agent. It also helps to even out skin tone, which can reduce the appearance of older acne scars. Just mix one part lemon juice to one-half part turmeric powder. Then stir the two ingredients together to make a smooth paste.
Use a Q-tip or cotton ball to apply the paste directly to problem areas. Leave it on for 15 minutes then wash it away with cool water and blot to dry.
- Drink turmeric milk.
Hot turmeric milk is a traditional healing recipe in Asian medicine. You can buy golden milk (the common name for this recipe) pre-made in many grocery stores, online, or you can make it yourself at home using this recipe.
Turmeric milk combines the healing powers of several spices along with honey in a soothing milk base that will aid digestion along with healing your skin from the inside out. You can use any kind of milk - it doesn't have to be dairy milk.
- Add raw turmeric root to your food or smoothies.
You can buy raw turmeric root in most grocery stores and add it to your recipes in place of saffron or turmeric powder. Fresh turmeric root is also a great addition to juicing regimens and smoothies.
How to Choose Turmeric for Acne?
When you are choosing a turmeric supplement for treating acne, you want to look for turmeric with a minimum of 95 percent standardized active ingredient (curcumin). The supplement should also include black pepper (piperine) which helps your body absorb the curcumin and use it.
Read the ingredients label to ensure the supplement is free from fillers, ingredients other than pepper/piperine, artificial ingredients or additives. Purity is key for helping your skin heal from acne!
If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, always talk with your doctor before adding turmeric to your health care routine.
When you start using turmeric for acne, you may see results right away, but most people report that it can take up to a week before you start to see improvements and up to a month or longer before you see lasting change. Patience is the key to success. With daily use, turmeric and curcumin can clear acne issues and restore your healthy glowing skin!