Learn how turmeric powder's medicinal properties can help fight acne both topically and internally.


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Turmeric for Acne: Clear Skin with a Tinge of Yellow

Spice things up with turmeric powder to prevent acne and disease


Turmeric is a flowering plant of the ginger family, native to South Asia and prized for its roots. These roots are commonly boiled in tea or finely ground to produce turmeric powder, a spice that is a staple of Indian cuisine (close in taste to saffron).


Beyond adding flavor to dishes, turmeric is also known to have medicinal qualities, both when consumed and when applied topically to the skin. It has long been used as a beauty aid and is not only effective for acne relief, but according to recent studies may even help ward off afflictions as serious as cancer and Alzheimer's disease.


Just a few ways turmeric can improve your skin and overall health


While turmeric powder is no miracle cure, it packs a lot of benefits that can make life easier for acne sufferers. First of all, it helps cool the skin when applied directly and also aids in reducing inflammation from the inside. Taken orally, this effect is so strong that many recommend it for relieving joint pain as well. It has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties (again, in both uses), helps detoxify the body and cleanse the liver (when taken internally), acts as a disinfectant when applied to wounds and stimulates faster tissue repair.


So which way should you use turmeric? Both applications are effective. However, if you're dealing with body acne or looking to protect more than just your skin, taking it orally is the way to go. Turmeric is largely safe either way, but keep in mind one side effect: if you have pale skin and apply the powder in a topical mixture, there is a chance it may dye your skin yellow. This doesn't happen for everyone, and turmeric is actually valued for helping to even your skin tone, but if you should end up with yellowish splotches on your skin afterward, try dabbing some oil on a cotton ball and gently rubbing it off. Don't panic or scrub too hard with typical cleansers, as the dye will naturally fade with time.


One way to avoid this effect is to use curcumin instead. Curcumin is the primary active ingredient in turmeric. When extracted, it doesn't quite deliver all the same benefits as the original root. However, while I'd recommend sticking with turmeric for anything you plan to ingest, curcumin's lower potency may be a worthwhile tradeoff in topical remedies since it will not dye your skin.


Homemade turmeric masks and lotions


Most of the acne home remedies that incorporate turmeric use it as a thickening agent in facial masks or lotions intended to kill bacteria in your pores and alleviate redness and swelling. These uses often give faster results than taking turmeric internally, but keep in mind that they target current acne and cannot prevent future breakouts.


Mask Recipe: Mix 2 parts yogurt with 1 part turmeric powder and 1 part honey. This thick and sticky combination is easy to apply your face and should be left on for the usual 15 minutes before rinsing off. All the ingredients are great for combating irritation and infections, with an emphasis on moisturizing and soothing the skin. Just don't leave it on for too long.


Lotion Recipe: Start with turmeric powder and mix in equal parts warm milk and tea. You can decide how dense you want the lotion to be (it starts out as a thick paste) by how much milk and/or tea you use (using both is optional). Add the liquid slowly and stir. Warm whole milk works best, and you can use your choice of green/black/white tea. Massage the lotion into your face for a few minutes and rinse. This recipe combines the antibacterial punch of a good acne cleanser with skin-nurturing vitamins and minerals.


Prevent acne by drinking turmeric tea or taking turmeric supplements


While it's usually found as a powder at most grocery stores, you can also purchase raw turmeric roots. These can literally be chewed on for medicinal effects (just slice the outer skin off first), but many prefer to brew them in tea. Similar to burdock root tea, this slightly peppery concoction delivers powerful acne-fighting antioxidants to your body and helps purify you from the inside-out. Adding a bit of honey and lemon juice is probably a good idea to make the tea more enjoyable. Note that you can use turmeric powder mixed with hot water if you prefer, although the bold yellow color and strong flavor of the resulting drink may scare some away.


If you want to skip the taste altogether, there's always supplements. Turmeric capsules are also effective against acne (although you may have to up the dosage since the turmeric dissolved in tea enters your bloodstream at a higher rate). Most regimens call for a minimum of 2,000 mg per day. Note that supplementing with turmeric is not a good idea if you are prone to kidney stones due to its high oxalate content.


In addition to these methods, there's always the traditional way of digesting turmeric: by cooking with it. Get yourself an Indian cookbook and you'll find plenty of great recipes that incorporate this versatile spice. Just make sure to add some black pepper! Black pepper (black pepper extract or peperine on supplement labels) aids the body in absorbing turmeric (which is otherwise difficult to absorb), ensuring you get the full effect.


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