Sara is a writer based in London, England with a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences. She loves researching various health topics.
Turmeric—A Home Remedy That Treats Dark Spots
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that occurs as a result of excess melanin production in the body. This excess production can be triggered by prolonged sun exposure, inflammation, acne, or even hormonal imbalance. For those of you that suffer from hyperpigmentation, you will know how difficult it is to find an effective treatment to fade out these stubborn dark patches and regain a natural, even skin tone again. Luckily, there is a completely natural ingredient that may prove to be extremely beneficial.
Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is a spice that is native to Southern Asia with India being the world's largest producer of the spice. It is commonly used in Indian cooking and has traditionally been used for treating inflammation, skin wounds, and liver disorders in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Turmeric has a wide variety of beauty- and health-related benefits, some of which are discussed below
Turmeric's Variety of Beauty and Health Benefits
- Reduces inflammation—The yellow pigment of turmeric, also known as circumin, has been shown in numerous scientific studies to have potent anti-inflammatory properties. It is also as effective ad Ibuprofen in reducing the pain associated with inflammation, but it does not have the pill's toxic side effects. This is because circumin is an inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2), an enzyme associated with inflammation. So a pinch of turmeric a day may keep degenerative diseases at bay. However, those taking blood-thinning drugs such as Warfarin must exercise caution as turmeric can reduce the blood clotting time.
- Acts as an antioxidant—Circumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is also a powerful antioxidant. An antioxidant protects cells from free radicals that are formed as a result of oxidative stress. These free radicals can damage cells over time, resulting in aging. Therefore, turmeric may slow down premature aging.
- Has anti-bacterial properties—Turmeric is often used to create a soothing warm turmeric milk drink for sore throats and colds in South Asian households. Because of the spice's anti-bacterial properties, this prevents the infection from spreading further. Additionally, gargling with warm turmeric powder two to three times a day can relieve a sore throat. Another way to use turmeric as an antibiotic is to apply it to cuts and wounds to prevent infection.
- Lowers cholesterol—Circumin lowers serum cholesterol levels and therefore may be beneficial in controlling high cholesterol levels in the blood (hypercholesterolemia).
- Treats acne—due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties, turmeric is a very effective ingredient in the treatment of acne. What's more, it costs a fraction of the price of commercially available creams and ointments and is free of side effects such as irritation and dryness.
My Experience Using Tumeric to Treat Hyperpigmentation
After prolonged sun exposure a year ago, I developed dark patches on the side of my face. I tried numerous treatments for hyperpigmentation—some quite pricey—to try to get rid of these marks, but I saw no significant results.
I was finally given this turmeric mask recipe by my grandmother. For the past three months, I have been using this turmeric face mask to help lighten these marks, and so far it has been working amazingly well. Due to the pleasing results, I also wanted to share this turmeric mask recipe with all of you so that you may also benefit the way I have.
This mask recipe is cheap and easy to make, and most of the ingredients can be found in the kitchen cupboard or your local Indian grocery store.
Word of caution: Turmeric stains, so please ensure that you do not get it on your clothes or anywhere else. Use an old towel to dry your face after using this mask.
This mask may be used on any affected areas of your skin, not just your face.
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2-3 tablespoons gram flour (also known as chickpea flour or besan)
- 1/2 teaspoon oil, I would use almond oil, as it absorbs well into the skin
- Approximately 1/2 tsp milk, enough to form a paste
- Lemon Juice, or cucumber juice if you have sensitive skin
- Mix the gram flour and turmeric together in a bowl until evenly combined.
- Add the lemon (or cucumber juice) and oil to the mixture. The oil is important for ensuring that your skin remains moisturized while the mask is drying out.
- Add enough milk to form a creamy consistency.
- Mix well until a smooth paste is formed and ensure that it is not too watery, else the mixture will run from your face. You can add more gram flour to the mixture if you feel the mixture is too thin. The mixture should look like the picture below.
- Apply the mixture on your face (or other affected area) and leave it on for approximately 10 minutes, or until the mask completely dries on your face. You will feel the mask hardening on your face—this is completely normal and to be expected.
- Use warm water and gentle circular movements with your fingertips to remove the mask from your face. Wash the face well and ensure that that all of the mask has been removed.
Upon first use, you will immediately notice the glow on your face. After several consecutive uses, you will begin to see those stubborn pigmented areas lighten out. To ensure optimum results, use this mask once or twice a week, every week.
Please note—If irritation occurs, then you should discontinue use, as the mask may not be suited to your skin type (but this would be rare).
It is always important to remember that hyperpigmentation could be a sign of underlying health problems, and it's always best to get a check up from your GP and get treated. This mask, however, is great for any existing pigmentation on your body.
I really hope this works for you as well as it did for me.
Turmeric for Beauty—Create an Even Skin Tone
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a natural beauty treatment by Indian women. A traditional custom that is still alive in India today is ‘haldi’ (the hindi word for turmeric). This is a bridal beautification custom that involves anointing the bride with turmeric paste before her wedding day to give her a beautiful golden glow on her big day. In fact, when rumours of the beauty benefits of turmeric reached Rome, the Romans ordered for the spice to be exported from India into the city—it soon became the most important beauty treatment for Roman women. Turmeric has been shown to actually inhibit melanin in the skin, and some studies have also shown that turmeric is effective in reducing unwanted body hair.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Akki on March 08, 2020:
Mix wild turmeric(ammba haldi) with rice floor and apply in skin twice a week...and along with this daily at night drink turmeric(normal cooking turmeric 1/4 teaspoon)milk with a pinch of black pepper you will see huge difference in skin quality and texture
Avani Muley on January 03, 2020:
I'm trying to understand this particular line from your article- However, those taking blood-thinning drugs such as Warfarin must exercise caution as turmeric can reduce the blood clotting time.
I'm researching natural ingredients and the role they play in beauty & skincare. I happened to read your article and the above-mentioned line confuses me a bit. What does it mean by "reduce the blood clotting time?"
Mariette Craemer on January 09, 2018:
Am definitely going to try this remedy
Anthenia on June 06, 2017:
thank you very much for sharing. I'm moving into using natural products for my skin and hair and I have found this article quite useful. I will most definitely try it
hyperpigmentpleasehelp on January 16, 2017:
The last post is mine. That was posted. When do you think I can receive a response?.
I'm pakistani american 35 yrs old female -- my whole life dark under eye circles and dark around the mouth area.
Should I only put tumeric paste on dark areas of face or entire face?
HyperpigmentHelpplease! on January 14, 2017:
I am an asian American female. I have very dark circles under the eyes and very dark hyperpigmentation around the mouth.
Do I just apply this tumeric made to those areas of the face or the entire face?
Jhkelly@cfl.rr.com on October 24, 2016:
What can I use besides milk, I have an allergy to dairy.
Edith Thurman on September 18, 2016:
I'm going to use rice flour, turmeric, lemon juice and oil, coconut oil, ginger, milk, and what ever else I think will work well! Thanks for the great idea!
Ingrid on August 29, 2016:
can this paste help to get rid of scars from bug bites especially if i had some for a few years?
janet on March 10, 2016:
I have a bad pigmentation on my cheeks can I use tumeric
cee on February 03, 2016:
Can I use honey instead of almond oil
Refs on January 18, 2016:
I started using the Turmeric mask a month ago .I use it twice a week and can see the difference .My face is glowing ,not sure whether it is the turmeric stain.
Rita on August 11, 2015:
should I avoid the sun?
vishu on April 18, 2015:
My face black what's trying my problem Hyperpigmentation soo help me please.
Jill Becker on March 08, 2015:
I am very allergic to tumeric and would Not recommend rinsing your mouth with it. It stains teeth terribly.
r_r on March 01, 2015:
@CC You can stay away from pages that irritate you. You can also use a search engine to scratch your itch. This method has worked for me. If you need scientifically proven medication see your dermatologist.
Nancy on August 22, 2014:
Hi can I I use ordinary flour? Am going to try now. Am 53 yrs old and showing pigmentation on my right cheek. Shall I do this procedure everyday?
rozanna boyes on August 05, 2014:
hi what kind of oil do I put in?
mishka on July 04, 2014:
Hi ,thankyou so much for sharing I'm trying this now ,all I wanna know is if I can use this paste everynight ?thanks again .
mish on June 24, 2014:
Hi all, I am a big fan of turmeric and gram flour paste. I apply this mixture most of time with honey and rose water to soothe my skin. It is good for acne prone skin and for all kind of skin. Just make sure you use pinch of turmeric , because if you use more turmeric you will have yellow skin. To clear complexion use lemon drops. It can be applied on dry skin ,just make sure to use milk and honey for dry skin. Turmeric helps to remove sun tanning.
Jadeen on May 27, 2014:
Hi , There I'm Actually Trying This Out Right Now ! _ Will Comment Again If You Works For Me ! ..Thanks..
Kyoung11 on April 27, 2014:
I used to have really bad hyperpigmentation. Anytime I have an injury, bite, scrape, no matter what, I'm left with a mark after it heals. I was bit by something several times on my arms and I scratched them. When the bumps dried, I was left with small to medium sized marks! I looked for pure aloe vera. I started using Made from Earths Pure Aloe Vera Treatment and it worked wonders for me. Every mark, new and old that it touched, vanished. Didn't really take long either. Keep it in the fridge after each use. Otherwise, it won't be as effective. Good luck with your healing!
CC on April 01, 2014:
It's so annoying when searching for information and articles simply say "X has been shown in numerous scientific studies to do Y", but never cite any of the studies! Please post the peer reviewed publications to which you are referring so that we can evaluate the study methods and effectiveness of what you are claiming. Thanks!
Julia Perlingos on March 02, 2014:
Gram flour is chickpeas
HperPigSuffer on March 01, 2014:
Will tumeric stain remain on my face after i wash it off
kimi on February 09, 2014:
it really works guys,
Tracey on February 03, 2014:
Can I use :
Lemon juice from real lemons, or lemon juice from the bottle
Can I use it daily?
rishika on January 29, 2014:
can i use daily
J'Nelle on January 16, 2014:
Can I use regular flour to substitute? Or does it have to be graham flour?
Sang on January 09, 2014:
Hi Mam, I had hyperpigmentation on my face.... i went to a doctor about 5 yrs ago... he gave me a cream which contains steroids.... i had applied it and found good results.... after 3 months i stopped the cream and my skin turned dark again..... its been 5 yrs now im using this cream and now few days back came to know that this cream contains steroid.... i want to stop it.... but im getting rashes and iching when i stop.... so i continued it again.... i wanted to stop it slowly by applying alternate days..... I used to apply it in the night and wash it in the morning.... now as im reducing.... im getting rashes and my face is becoming darker.... it is difficult for me to go to office with this skin..... Please suggest...
Can i use this turmeric paste to get my complexion back.... Waiting for your answer....
Kay on December 08, 2013:
Thank you for posting this. I have ultra-sensitive, acne-prone skin and have wasted a lot of money on expensive products that claim to treat acne and hyperpigmentation, but they left me with more breakouts and blemishes. Nothing has worked until I tried this mask last week (I replaced almond oil with coconut oil)
I am using this mask daily and noticed a significant reduction in hyperpigmentation in just about 3 days. My skin feels softer and smoother, and it's finally starting to glow. Thank you!!
Itzel on November 12, 2013:
Can i use this every day ?
Christine on November 04, 2013:
How much lemon/cucumber juice is needed?
Tia on November 04, 2013:
Hi can I use this mask on a daily basis?
Nicole on November 02, 2013:
This won't cause any acne breakouts will it ? And is it okay to use of your on acne medication like tretinoin ?
Natalia on August 30, 2013:
Hi, thank you for sharing the recepe. How often do you use the mask for best results?
Lisa on August 14, 2013:
after rising mixture entirely off, should I clean my face with a cleanser ?
Chicalonie19 on July 30, 2013:
I found gram flour at my local International grocery today. I am about to try this now!
sandi on July 30, 2013:
I think you mean graham flour? Like what Graham crackers were made from.
Spacemom on July 30, 2013:
What is gram flour and is it found in a regular grocery store?
Sara Asif (author) on July 29, 2013:
Hi Jenny, I am sooo glad to hear that it is working for you! It is great to be able to share knowledge that can be of benefit to others!
Sara Asif (author) on July 29, 2013:
Hello, I would recommend making the mask and using it when it is freshly made. I have found that storing the mask even for a day tends to make the consistency drier.
Sara Asif (author) on July 29, 2013:
Sorry I didn't realise I had left that out! You can add the almond oil once u have added the turmeric and gram flour to the bowl. Hope this helps!
jenny on July 28, 2013:
i added my oil with the lemon juice and milk. i must also add i began using this two weeks ago and OMG it does work. i have been telling all my friends about it.
Maria on July 18, 2013:
Correction* for one use only?
Maria on July 17, 2013:
Hello, question regarding the tumeric mask. The recipe is for me use only? And if there is some left can it be stored and for how long? Thanks
Ange on July 16, 2013:
When do u add the almond oil...u left t out!