A History Of Turmeric Skin Care: The Ancient Beauty Ingredient Still Used Today

Turmeric - just a culinary spice, or something more? Other than being the ingredient that hangs out in your spice cabinet, this bright yellow spice has developed a glowing reputation in skin care. 

You’ve probably noticed turmeric skin care recommendations popping up on your news feed in the form of a turmeric face mask treatment or a turmeric golden milk latte recipe. So, why the fascination? If you’ve only ever imagined reaching for this spice for your culinary escapades, think again. From fighting inflammation to brightening dark undereye circles, you may be surprised at the benefits this ingredient poses for your skin.

Indian woman holding turmeric spice


Turmeric Fast Facts: The Benefits Of Using Turmeric For Skin

1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Curcumin, which is found in turmeric, significantly lowers levels of inflammatory markers in the body. 

2. Helps To Treat Acne

Anti-inflammatory qualities can calm inflamed skin and is known to reduce scarring.

3. Supports Skin Health

Antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may help prevent breakouts or reduce existing ones.

4. Brightens Under Eyes

Turmeric’s properties help to brighten dark undereye circles to bring out your natural glow.

5. Signs Of Aging

This golden root helps diminish the appearance of wrinkles, keeps skin supple and improves skin’s elasticity.

The History Of Turmeric Skin Care 

Long before it was added to our lattes, turmeric was used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine (as a treatment for inflammatory conditions) and heralded for its use in cooking and beauty rituals around the world. Coming from the ginger family, this spice was used daily in India for at least 6000 years as a cooking spice, perfume, textile dye, for medicine and yes, for beauty! By 800 A.D., the trade of turmeric had spread across Asia, including China, and across the African continent. By the 18th century, turmeric spread to Jamaica and other tropical locations.

This multi-purpose spice was incorporated into all aspects of life, from cooking to ceremonies. In India, turmeric was used as a coloring agent and a culinary ingredient in India, used in not only curries, but in lentil and meat dishes, chutneys, relishes and soups.

It is also an ingredient in many vegetable dishes, like gobi sabji, or steamed cauliflower, and meat dishes, like turmeric chicken and rice. It can also be mixed with scrambled eggs. The yellow spice is also used in some varieties of garam masala, a spice mix that is almost as ubiquitous as curry in Indian cuisine.

Developing religious significance in India, spices like turmeric were burned as incense in ceremonies believed to send prayers and cleanse the air. And even to this day, Indian brides and grooms are ritually covered in a turmeric paste for a pre-ceremony glow. In some parts of Asia, people adorn themselves with a turmeric rhizome root as an amulet to ward away negative energy. 

Arab traders first introduced this exotic spice to Europe during the 13th century. Marco Polo, trading along the great Silk Road, was so impressed by turmeric that he noted it down in his writings, famously mistaking it as a vegetable and comparing its bright color to saffron. The spice is now referred to as “Indian saffron” because of this incident, even though turmeric is actually a root. 

Clearly, this well-travelled historic spice was used for all sorts of purposes. But what many don’t know is that it gains most of its healing powers from its concentration of curcumin, a super powerful antioxidant. 

The Benefits Of Turmeric Skin Care: Is Curcumin The Cure? 

With its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-everything properties, turmeric skin care is the way to go if you want to achieve head-to-toe radiance. It’s all thanks to the compound curcumin, a type of polyphenol (a potent antioxidant that contains so many skin-enhancing properties). 

“Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial - these properties help tighten pores and improve skin tone and pH balance,” says Dr. Taz Bhatia MD, Integrative Health Expert, and Founder and Medical Director, CentrespringMD. “In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric was also mixed with yogurt to lessen acne.”

Turmeric’s skin benefits are many. This spice is a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient that can improve scarring and dark spots left behind by acne, plus decrease redness and soothe irritated skin. Curcumin deserves the credit, a polyphenol within turmeric, which has been shown to benefit inflammatory conditions such as arthritis

For skin, curcumin inhibits a protein and enzyme needed for the creation of melanin, a skin pigment, and this process helps prevent dark spots. As a natural antioxidant with antibacterial properties, it can decrease UV damage and also helps neutralize free-radical damage that could lead to premature aging. It also aids in stimulating new cell growth to reveal youthful-looking skin. And if you’re concerned with dark eye circles, when applied to skin, turmeric visibly brightens undereyes and reduces any puffiness. 

Product Picks

Turmeric Energizing Treatment


You might be thinking that turmeric seems like a magical ingredient! We certainly think so. If the appearance of your skin is in need of transformation our Turmeric Face Mask Energizing Treatment is going to help. Formulated with turmeric, citrine gemstones and zeolite, this treatment will exfoliate and enliven your skin, revealing a silky, luminous complexion.

So, how exactly should you be using turmeric skin care? 

How To Use Our Turmeric Energizing Treatment 

Are you ready to enliven your complexion? All you have to do is dispense one small scoop of powder (about 1 teaspoon) into the outer cap. Gradually stir in a few drops of water until the texture looks like mousse. The recommended ratio is 4 parts powder to 3 parts water. Next, apply a thin layer to the entire face, extending to the neck and décolleté.

You can let it dry for 10 - 30 minutes. Rinse with tepid water, massaging gently to exfoliate. Don't be alarmed - a hot tingling sensation can last for a few minutes and is expected with this product. For milder stimulation, dilute with more water. 


What Are The Benefits of the Turmeric Energizing Treatment?

This supercharged powder-to-mousse formula works as an exfoliant, a warming powder and as a mask that instantly awakens the skin and draws out impurities. As the treatment dries, kaolin clay purifies, while turmeric brightens the appearance of skin. Not to mention - it smells divine. 

Connect with your Eminence Organics Spa Partner for a virtual or in-person consultation so you can find out more about the benefits of turmeric and our Turmeric Energizing Treatment with Citrine Gemstones. 

Do you use turmeric in your cooking, skin care routine or even in a turmeric golden milk recipe? Let us know in the comments below or connect with us on social media.