It wasn’t long ago that dieticians were exclaiming about the many benefits that turmeric can bring to our diets. Now, leading dermatologists are championing the spice for its many beauty benefits.
Usually found in the kitchen spice rack, the orange root derived from India is most commonly used to bring out the delicious flavours of Asian-inspired dishes. If 2017 was the ‘year of kale’, then this year has definitely been the time that turmeric has become our ‘must-use’ foodie ingredient.
Despite its recent moment in the spotlight – when even Starbucks launched a latte based around the spice – turmeric has, in fact, long been valued for its many health benefits. Containing curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties, it has been used for centuries by Indian communities to help a number of ailments – from easing tired joints to digestive complaints – and by Asian women as a natural beauty aid.
Sasha Sabapathy, founder of Glow Bar London, a wellness company that offers healing herbs and elixirs with a hip approach, reveals turmeric’s age-old properties: “Millennials as a generation have grown up in such a chemical-rich environment, and, as a result, so many of us suffer from digestive issues and adult acne. Going back to basics and using tried and tested remedies from Ayurveda is 100% our way of saying enough is enough. Turmeric has always been a spice familiar to most people – even if you were the most unhealthy person in the world, you would have consumed turmeric in a dhal or some other kind of curry. The trend towards eating and drinking turmeric, which surfaced a couple of years ago, was therefore relatively easy to catch on, and the internal benefits can be quite instant; think tummy soothing, or more long-term – anti-inflammation.”
These anti-inflammatory properties are now causing a stir in the beauty industry. Dr Ross, GP and medical director of the skin clinics’ chain Cosmedics (cosmedics.co.uk) says: “Tumeric is known to be a natural antioxidant and as such can have an anti-inflammatory effect. This has shown to help particularly with musculoskeletal conditions in some people. Whilst its effect are yet to be firmly established in other areas of medicine it does seem that these effects could have a potential benefit in skin conditions.”
Sasha Sabapathy agrees: “As we now try to use the same thinking to our skin, people are starting to try more DIY applications of turmeric topically. These can come in the form of turmeric acne treatments, face masks and creams, all of which have been used in India and Sri Lanka for centuries. The tiniest application of turmeric can help reduce the inflammation of a spot or lighten a patch of hyper pigmentation, making it a hero ingredient when it comes to your beauty regime.”
Known for its use of organic ingredients, sourced by slow extraction to give the best of their natural therapeutic properties, ‘slow beauty’ brand Inlight Beauty (inlightbeauty.co.uk) agrees and uses turmeric in a number of its products. The company, launched by skin expert Dr Mariano Spiezia, offers several herbal oil infusions and complexion balms with turmeric at their heart.
“Turmeric is a great medicinal spice with many benefits not only for our general health but for the skin, too,” says Dr Spiezia. “In fact, it has potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxifier actions that, combined with antibacterial and antiviral properties, work wonderfully on the skin. It keeps skin soft and smooth, makes it glow, tackles acne. Some researches show that turmeric extract protects the skin from UV rays reducing the negative effects of UVB rays preventing the formation of wrinkles and helping to retain skin elasticity.”
From muscle rubs to ease aches and pains to face masks to calm and detoxify, there’s a surprising amount of products that list turmeric as a ‘hidden’ ingredient. Aveda’s latest hair range Invati Advanced, for instance, uses organic turmeric and ginseng which together invigorate the scalp to promote thicker hair. While Mauli Rituals’ Radiance Exfoliant & Mask harnesses the detoxifying properties of the root for brighter skin.
Jagdish Kaushal, Mauli’s Ayurvedic Doctor, sums it up: “Known as the ‘golden goddess’, turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years for its potent beautifying and healing properties. More recently the West has hailed ‘curcumin’ (the active ingredient found in turmeric), to have immense therapeutic benefits as antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, concluding it to be a powerful anti-ageing ingredient. Tumeric also has the effect of suppressing transmuting growth agent beta One, and it is this that is said to play a part in hair loss. With over 4,000 scientific studies recorded for over 600 medical conditions, turmeric deserves its name as a super ingredient whether for beauty or diet.”
The best beauty products that capture the power of turmeric
Aveda Invati Advanced Scalp Revitaliser, £47
This remedy prevents hair loss and, when massaged in, its Ayurvedic herb blend of organic turmeric and ginseng invigorates the scalp while organic amla leaves the hair looking thicker. aveda.co.uk
Elemental Herbology Muscle Melt, £25
This warming balm can be used pre- or post-exercise and uses turmeric to stimulate circulation, help relieve muscle pains and supports the healing process. elementalherbology.com
Inlight Turmeric & Calendula Relief Balm, £22
Aimed at skin prone to eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis, this soft balm combines extra virgin olive, castor and black cumin oils with turmeric, calendula and mallow. inlightbeauty.co.uk
Jan Marini Luminate Face Lotion, £85
This luxury moisturiser lightens the appearance of discoloration and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with the aid of a colourless, non-staining form of turmeric. janmarini.com
Kiki Health Organic Turmeric Powder, £9.95
This premium powder turmeric can be used to add to smoothies or dishes and can also be used in home beauty remedies, such as a spot treatment or in homemade masks. kiki-health.com
Mauli Rituals Grow Strong Hair Oil, £32
This hair treatment oil uses turmeric leaf and a blend of herbs and natural ingredients to promote thick, glossy locks. maulirituals.com
Skin Authority Turmeric & Blueberry Brightening Beauty Infusion, £45
Add a few drops to your moisturiser or use alone as a primer. This intensive infusion concentrates the power of curcumin found in turmeric and antioxidants found in blueberry to help fade the appearance of dark spots and discoloration. lookfantastic.com
Dr Botanicals Turmeric Antioxidant Overnight Treatment Mask, £44
Enriched with antioxidant rich turmeric and deeply moisturising Shea butter, this overnight mask evens out skin tones and is high in antioxidants that work to nourishes for a youthful looking complexion. drbotanicals.com
This article is also published in the August 2018 issue of Canary Wharf Magazine