Turmeric: Not Just For Flavoring Curries Anymore

For me, the quickest way to gain forgiveness from a friend, win a boy's heart, or get my parents to agree to give me their dog is to cook my home-made curry. My coveted recipe cannot be shared, however, because I refuse to write anything down or use measurements. That part alone can be challenging, but the biggest challenge is definitely getting the turmeric stains out of my hands. I've made the rookie mistake of cooking my curry with freshly, painted white nails. It didn't end well. Hassles aside, with this spice readily available at any grocery store, turmeric can be easily incorporated into your skincare routine.

A native to South Asia, turmeric is naturally orange in color with a slightly earthy taste. This spice is a popular flavoring agent in many Indian and West Indian dishes among other cuisines. Now, since my mom is all about spices and foods that lower cholesterol and fight off diabetes, which runs in my family, I grew up with this spice dying my kitchen counter, my hands, and sadly, my favorite Beastie Boys t-shirt. However, it wasn't until last spring that I really started to learn just what this spice was capable of.

Like many states, allergy medication is regulated, heavily, to prevent meth labs from popping up and blowing up. My big sis, the responsible one of the Jackson sisters, was banned from buying allergy medication. As the wild child, I took a lot of glee that my straight-laced sister was on a watch-list for meth. After several late-night trips to CVS to purchase her beloved Mucinex on her behalf, I realized that I was dangerously close to being banned myself. We needed to find a natural cure for seasonal allergies before we developed a reputation.

Enter turmeric: My sister began making a very potent juice each morning and soon enough she had dialed back her need for allergy medication. Turmeric is a well-known natural cure for allergies that doesn't require any monitoring because it's perfectly safe AND natural. Of course, I had to get up on how turmeric could solve my own problems with my skin.

Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory with antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties that make naturally curing acne an easy task. I've used turmeric in very dire situations and found that my skin has calmed down within only a few days. Even if you don't suffer from acne woes, you shouldn't disregard the benefits of turmeric for your skin. It has naturally brightening and exfoliating properties that can alleviate fine lines and wrinkles, creating a youthful, glowing complexion.

Since turmeric comes in powder firm, it's incredibly easy to combine with other ingredients for a perfect beauty remedy. This ingredient shouldn't cost you more than $7 in the spice section of your local grocery and it will last you several months. Metaphorically and figuratively speaking, a little bit of turmeric goes a long way!

1. Acne Face Mask

This face mask is potent. If you are not suffering from severe/cystic acne, or overproduction of oil, you should proceed with caution as it can be incredibly drying. This mask has saved my face several times: The turmeric exfoliated and healed a painful bout of cystic acne and continuing the mask for a week helped the dark spots left behind fade quickly. To make this mask, use a teaspoon of turmeric and a combined tablespoon of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Of course, you can play with the portions, but the important thing is to get a nice paste that can cover your face and neck. Leave this mask on for five full minutes and repeat nightly for five days to soothe any particularly bad breakouts.

2. Cracked Heel Treatment

Already suffering from cracked feet and it's not even winter yet? Since turmeric is naturally exfoliating, it can take care of dead skin and increase the elasticity of your feet. Make a paste with extra virgin coconut oil and turmeric and rub on your your feet. Leave this on for up to 10 minutes. Repeat this process once a day for smooth, touchable feet in about a week.

3. Timeless Skin Face Mask

Turmeric is the aging process's worst enemy: It diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and those pesky frown lines as well as creating a toned, clear complexion, sans sun spots. Simply make a paste with honey, brewed green tea (let it cool down first, please), and turmeric. Paying special attention to the neck and mouth area, massage into your skin for 5 minutes. Since this mask will not remove makeup, it will work best in the morning on makeup free skin.

Image: Melanie Cook, Anant Nath Sharma, httf, Wanna be Creative/Flickr; Giphy