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3 Ways to Avoid Staining Your Skin with Turmeric

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Turmeric in skincare is a hot topic. For millennia, it has been a staple in Indian women’s beauty rituals, mainly as a pre-wedding skin brightening treatment. While evening out skin tone and brightening hyperpigmentation is certainly a common use, this prized spice is also known for its powerful antioxidants that slow down cell damage, reduce  inflammation, soothe irritation, combat acne, and calm rosacea.

Despite these wonderful skin-healthy benefits, turmeric has one major downside. Curcumin, its main compound which gives it is anti-inflammatory properties, is also a vibrant yellow-gold pigment, and has been known to cause temporary skin stains for some people (especially those with lighter skin tones).

Regardless, turmeric has become an increasingly popular staple in DIY and spa facial treatments in the West, due to the recent resurgence of Ayurvedic and herbalist practices. To reap its benefits without risking leaving the spa looking like you’ve had a bad spray tan, it’s important to not apply it in strong concentrations directly to the skin. Though turmeric is anti-inflammatory, applying too high a concentration may also cause skin irritation for some people in addition to staining. The best thing to do is dilute, dilute, dilute to very small amount relative to the total ingredients in your treatment.

Here are 3 ways to use turmeric without running the risk of staining your skin:

1.Make a paste using turmeric powder mixed with warm water, warm milk, yogurt, manuka honey, aloe vera gel, or carrier oils such as sesame, hemp seed, or jojoba. Try starting with one ingredient, then experiment with different combinations to make pastes that benefit anything from minor cuts and scrapes, to acne, to sunburn.

2.Make an infused oil or extract. This is an excellent way to harness the power of this golden spice in a super-small dose. Carrier oils or food-grade vegetable glycerine infused with turmeric either using the heat of the sun, a double boiler, or a slow-cooker can be added to facial treatments whether they’re masks or moisturizers, in percentages as low as 5%–this greatly reduces the risk of skin staining.

3.Make tea. If working with turmeric powder, steep one teaspoon in 8 oz of boiling water, covered, for 20 minutes. This makes an infusion. If working with the fresh plant, bring 8 oz of water to a boil, then add one inch of turmeric root, reduce to simmer, and cover. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes. This makes a decoction. Both preparations can be used as a facial compress, toner, to reconstitute a mask, or in place of water in skincare formulations.

To get the full Nutritional Aesthetics® benefits of turmeric, you’ll want to add it to your diet and self-care regimens daily.

To learn even more about the topical, nutritional, and digestive benefits of turmeric (and also get NAA President, Rachael Pontillo’s ‘Glowing Golden Skin Mask’ recipe and NAA Director of Membership, Tisha Jill Palmer’s gorgeous ‘Good Night Golden Milk’ recipe), check out our article, Healing the Skin and Body with Turmeric, on

CommentWe’d love to know…have you ever stained your skin with turmeric?

Tell us your story in the comments below!

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Kymberly January 7, 2017, 5:16 pm

Yes…but not for long…I just washed my face twice & then adjusted my concoction. It hasn’t happened again…however, I really didn’t mind the look.

Rachael January 7, 2017, 5:35 pm

Some people definitely do enjoy the tint, Kymberly! It does flatter some skin tones. Glad you found your perfect concoction though 🙂 –Rachael

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