Acne is one of the most common skin disease affecting millions of people across the globe irrespective of their gender, race or age.
The good news, however, is that over time, a lot of medications and methods have been developed to prevent if not completely cure these breakouts.
This includes various antibiotic, anti retinoid and herbal and home remedies.
This article will talk about one of the most widely and anciently used herbs in India and across the world, Turmeric.
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What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant belonging to the ginger family and is native to south-east India.
It is scientifically known as Curcuma longa. India as such is one of the significant producers of turmeric. This plant thrives between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.
This plant is gathered for its rhizomes which after being collected are boiled for 30 to 40 minutes and dried to be grounded into a yellow powder known as turmeric.
It is commonly used as a spice and for various other purposes which includes dying and medicinal benefits.
The ingredient of importance in it is known as the curcumin which exhibits antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal properties which contribute towards its high medicinal value.
It is also believed to be effective in conditions of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and other chronic diseases.
It has emerged as one of the most widely used alternative medicine. In China, it is also used as an antiseptic.
Turmeric as such can, however, to various uses. Some of them are enumerated below:
- It has been used as an essential spice in all curries and gravies in India since ages. It gives a unique flavor and color to the dish.
- It is a well-known preservative.
- It is widely used as a pesticide against insects, ants, and termites
- It forms an important part of the Hindu ritual rites and is also used in wedding ceremonies as a symbol of purity and marriage
- It is an important ingredient of many skin products.
How does Turmeric Treat Acne
With its antibacterial and antifungal properties, turmeric helps in killing the P.acne bacteria which are responsible for causing acne breakouts.
Curcumin also exhibits antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which protect the skin from damage and also reduces the redness and marks caused due to inflammation.
Turmeric can be used in two ways to deal with the acne problem. It can either be taken orally or be applied topically in form of a paste:
Turmeric can be ingested with one tablespoon of olive oil and black pepper. Piperine contained in pepper facilitates the absorption of turmeric into the bloodstream.
It can also be taken in along with milk.
Dosage varies from person to person.
When used for as a skincare product, people mostly apply turmeric topically. It can be used in the form of a face mask or scrub. Some of the mask recipes are listed below:
This simply requires mixing 4 tablespoons of turmeric powder to 1 tablespoon of milk and 4 tablespoons of honey.
Mix in to form a uniform, consistent paste and keep it to cool. Clean your face with a non medicated soap and pat it dry before applying this mask.
Massage this gently onto your face for 10 minutes before washing it off with warm water. Milk not only softens the skin but also exfoliates the dead skin cells, honey, on the other hand, nourishes, lubricates and hydrates the skin along with cleaning and exfoliating.
Turmeric, yogurt, and avocado
This requires mixing a pinch of turmeric (1/4 tablespoon) to a spoon of mashed avocado and yogurt to form a smooth, uniform paste.
Apply it after cleaning your face, gently massaging in a circular motion for about 5 minutes after which it can be rinsed off with cold water.
While yogurt’s antibacterial properties along with vitamin B, zinc and calcium is very healthy for the skin, avocado with its anti-inflammatory property tends to hydrate and nourish the skin.
Lentil, oatmeal, and turmeric
This requires mixing 1 tablespoon of oatmeal flour, 1 tablespoon of lentil powder and ½ tablespoon of turmeric in fresh water to form a smooth paste.
Apply the paste on your face and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes after which it can be washed alternatively with cold and warm water.
You can moisturize your skin after washing it off. The grains of oatmeal and coarseness of oatmeal will facilitate exfoliation and removal of dead skin cell.
Fuller’s earth turmeric facial mask
This mask can be made by mixing 1 tablespoon of Fuller’s earth and 1 tablespoon of turmeric to fresh water.
This paste can then be applied and left on for about 20 to 30 minutes and then washed with cold water. The drying effect of Fuller’s earth will cause osmosis which will alienate the bacteria of the required liquid to survive in.
Benefits of using turmeric
Turmeric is known to benefit various skin and general health conditions. Some of these benefits are listed below:
- It is a strong anti-oxidant and protects you against oxidative damage. Its anti-oxidant activity can be compared to that of vitamin C and vitamin E.
- Its anti-inflammatory activity is as effective in treating acute inflammation as cortisone and half as effective in treating chronic inflammation.
- It protects the liver against toxicity by a number of compounds. This is mostly the result of its antioxidant property as well as of its capability of inducing increased secretion of bile salts, cholesterol, and bilirubin.
- It facilitates the circulation of platelets by preventing them from accumulating together.
- Curcumin exhibits antimutagenic properties which is helpful in the prevention of the development of new cancers as a result of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It inhibits the spreading of skin cancer cells and is also effective in deactivating carcinogens in smokes and tobacco.
- It is an effective antimicrobial and is used against various kinds of bacterial and fungal infections.
- It lowers the cholesterol level and prevents platelet accumulation thereby reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease and strokes. Its effect on cholesterol is largely a result of its efficacy in converting cholesterol into bile acids.
- It is often used as a treatment for leprosy, insect bites and during pregnancy.
- Turmeric is effective in healing gastric ulcers.
- When massaged onto the teeth and gum, it can provide relief to dental pain and swelling.
Possible Side Effects of Using Turmeric
Turmeric has been given the GRAS drug certificate which means generally regarded as safe. However, in extreme cases, it might have the following side effects:
- It can cause gallbladder problems, specifically GERD or gastro esophageal reflux disorder and cause gastric irritation and diarrhea.
- It can result in allergic reactions like upset stomach and nausea.
- It can slow down the process of blood clotting and might not be safe to be used immediately before and after surgery.
Precautions while using turmeric
The following precautions must be observed while using turmeric, topically or orally:
- Avoid taking turmeric close to the time of some surgery you might be undergoing.
- It has also been suggested that curcumin may stimulate the uterus or promote menstrual flow and can lead to a miscarriage in the pregnant woman. Therefore its use during pregnancy is generally avoided.
- Turmeric can result in staining because of its dying property and therefore you must be careful while using it.
Because of the ability of turmeric to prevent the accumulation of platelets, it slows down the process of clotting and therefore must not be taken with medicines slows down the process of clotting as it might not help in stopping the bleeding of wounds and bruises.
Some such medicines are aspirin and dedofinac among others.
We did an analysis of online reviews by consumers to see what they liked and disliked about turmeric. Here is a summary of that:
What they liked about it
Inexpensive: One thing that motivated most buyers to try this out once was the inexpensiveness and easy availability of turmeric. Since it is so readily available and you see it at every corner you are motivated to give it one try.
Lightens scars: Turmeric is effective in lightening the skin and also reduces hyperpigmentation. This lightening effect has been in use since ages and as a ceremonial rite, applied on the skin of every groom and bride in a Hindu wedding before the wedding night.
Better skin: Most consumers felt that it is very effective in maintaining the health of the skin as a whole. It evens down the skin tone and also works towards improving the complexion of the skin making it fair and glowing.
What they did not like about it
Burns: A few consumers faced the problem of burning and irritation on the application of turmeric. This might be the result of an allergy to turmeric and it is therefore advised that you do a patch test before starting to use it completely on your skin.
Dyes yellow: one consistent problem faced by a few consumers, most of them fairly white skinned were that turmeric tends to dye your skin yellow if left for a sufficiently long time. However, it is suggested that you can use milk to undo this yellowness and it will come out quite easily
Plants have been a major source of medicine since centuries.
Turmeric is probably one of the most widely used herbal and alternative medication that has been used since centuries across the globe specifically in the Indian sub-continent.
It is a very useful substance for maintaining the general health of a person even if you are not suffering severely from any particular disease.
Its intake on a regular basis is as such a healthy practice. Its antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities attack the problem of acne from all sides to affect quick results.
The side effects are pretty rare and the benefits are huge. This will not be a burden on your pocket and is definitely worth a try.