Asian woman in a spa with turmeric face mask.

The golden spice. Turmeric’s moniker alone has an awe-inspiring effect. With a name like that, it should be good – and it is. Turmeric benefits range from balancing glucose levels to promoting wound healing. And while this yellow ginger is delicious on rice and chicken, it can also spice up your skin care.

Turmeric in the Beauty Industry

Turmeric-laced creams and moisturizers may be popping up in your favorite beauty aisle, but this rhizome has been part of many Asian women's beauty rituals for thousands of years. South Asians, in particular, have been using turmeric in medicinal and cosmetic Ayurvedic practices. In India, betrothed couples apply a turmeric paste called “haldi” during an eponymous pre-wedding ceremony. The ritual helps ward off evil and maintain radiant and .

Similar practices are also seen in Southeast Asia. Turmeric, which symbolizes purity and prosperity, features heavily in Indonesian culture. For example, jamu, a popular Indonesian drink, contains turmeric and has long been used for various health and beauty concerns. Thailand and Vietnam also include turmeric in many cultural and cosmetic rituals.

Turmeric Benefits for Your Skin

This yellow root has several qualities that make it a skincare superhero. According to a study in , those who consume turmeric, whether ingested or topically, showed visible improvements in skin health and function. Check out the list below to see why the beauty industry has been going gaga for turmeric.

1. It’s anti-inflammatory.

Do you know what gives yellow ginger its distinct sunshiny hue? Curcumin! Curcumin is the micronutrient responsible for many of the turmeric benefits you’ll learn about today. This bioactive compound inhibits inflammatory pathways, reducing swelling that may reach your skin. As such, it can also mitigate inflammation-related redness from skin concerns, like acne.

2. Turmeric is loaded with antioxidants.

You may know that are responsible for combating the . These rockstar compounds prevent free radicals caused by , pollution, and other stressors from damaging your skin. Antioxidants also , keeping your skin supple and line-free, and spur your natural radiance. And yes, they can be found in turmeric.

3. It can help manage sebum levels.

Inflammation can cause your sebaceous glands to go on overdrive. As curcumin keeps inflammation in check, it also helps regulate your sebum levels. Turmeric ensures a more balanced and controlled release of natural oils, contributing to a clearer complexion.

4. It combats acne.

Balanced oil levels mean fewer chances of and causing a breakout. Turmeric also has an antiseptic quality, inhibiting the growth of acne-causing bacteria.

5. It hastens wound healing.

Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antiseptic features double-team to help minor cuts, bruises, and skin abrasions heal faster. Meanwhile, the antioxidants, thanks to their collagen-boosting promises, can help improve the .

6. It can exfoliate.

The grainy texture of turmeric powder can serve as a natural exfoliant when used in face masks. This gentle exfoliation can slough off dead skin cells, promoting a smoother and brighter complexion.

How to Add Turmeric in Your Beauty Routine

While turmeric benefits are plenty, there is an unfortunate twist: curcumin, that magical substance, has very low bioavailability, which is the ability of a substance to be absorbed by the body. A 2018 article in states that the body secretes most curcumin ingested. Too much curcumin can also cause bleeding, gastrointestinal problems, and stones.

When you want to integrate golden spice into your beauty regimen, do it gently. Try tea, milk, capsules, or, better yet, use it topically. Do a patch test first before going on it to check for any adverse reactions. If you’re in the clear, you can try these methods.

1. Sprinkle it in your moisturizer.

Add a little turmeric powder to your daily moisturizer to enjoy this wonder ingredient’s anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-acne benefits.

2. Make a mask.

Making with kitchen standbys is always a fun idea. To make turmeric paste, combine turmeric powder with yogurt, honey, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar (which you can replace with water to dilute the mixture). Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse.

3. Use turmeric essential oil.

Check your favorite essential oil brand and see if they carry turmeric. You can add turmeric essential oil to various beauty products, like facial oils and soaps.

If you’re not up for playing chemist, you can also find other products that work the same way as turmeric. For instance, Dove Facial Cleansing Mousse Brightening Care has 40% Active-Boost serum and hyaluronic acid that leaves your skin radiant and moisturized for up to 24 hours. Follow it up with POND'S Bright Miracle Day Cream. Ceramides lock in skin moisture while mica makes your skin extra luminous. It also has the brightening niasorcinol to stimulate skin renewal.

The number of known turmeric benefits makes yellow ginger an attractive skincare must-have. Who knew your kitchen could be a trove for healthy skin? From to , learn about other pantry ingredients that could upgrade your beauty routine on BeautyHub.PH.