Turmeric 101: All The Things You Should Know

My favorite cooking spice, turmeric, happens to also be my favorite spice to treat cystic acne. Of course, that took some trial and error because there are some important things everyone should know about turmeric before you start smearing it on your face, especially if you've sensitive skin. Once I read up on the benefits of turmeric, it was hard not to be interested, and being that it's not a major ingredient in beauty stores, there wasn't a lot of information on side effects.

Trader Joe's Turmeric, $8, Amazon

There are many benefits to making your own natural skincare products, the obvious benefit being that you now hold the power to remedy blemishes, acne scars, and any skin issue that ails you. However, with great power comes great responsibility. Over the years, I've learned through trial and error that while an herb or plant may have some amazing benefits, just like its chemical counterparts, it comes with some side effects too. For me, the advantage is being able to identify the culprit much faster in a DIY-3-ingredient face mask as opposed to an over-the-counter product with 17 foreign ingredients.

Turmeric has saved me from numerous hormonal blemishes and turned a once dull complexion into a youthful glow and despite a few bumps in the road, it gets my stamp of approval as long as you know everything you need to know about turmeric before you apply it on your face, it stands to be an A+ natural ingredient in the war on acne.

1. Turmeric Will Lighten Dark Spots.. And Everything Else Around Them

Trader Joe's Turmeric, $8, Amazon

As my face began to improve with my first use of turmeric, it was hard to get down in the dumps about my sink, my mixing bowl, spoons, and even my glasses turning orange. Unfortunately, having a roommate meant I wasn't the only person seeing everything through orange-colored glasses. When you apply a turmeric mask, use wait-time on the mask to immediately clean any staining before it sets. Any multi-purpose cleaner will work if you spray it directly on the spots. I've learned the best place to wash my turmeric face mask off is in the kitchen. Need to preserve your mani? Just use gloves.

2.Yes, Your Face Too

Worrying that my face is orange is a real struggle, after many hasty wash-offs due to lack of time, I can attest that without a doubt turmeric is staining. Although some sources claim that turmeric does not stain your face, it depends on additional ingredients and purity of your turmeric. The problem is that you don't want to overdo it by scrubbing your face and causing irritation to remove the turmeric completely from your face. The trick is to rinse thoroughly with your hands and then take a warm cloth and gently wipe your face and repeat until you are satisfied that no one knows your face was just completely orange.

4. You Should Mix Turmeric With The Right Ingredients

Trader Joe's Turmeric, $8, Amazon; YS 100% Certified Organic Raw Honey, $20, Amazon

Just like orange doesn't go with everything neither does turmeric; mixing turmeric with the right ingredients is incredibly important since it is highly anti-septic and exfoliating. For example, do not mix turmeric with baking soda or you will suffer some very dry consequences. For anyone making a turmeric mask to use for complexion, anti-aging, or moderate acne treatment, I suggest mixing turmeric with raw honey as the base ingredient. Raw honey is gentle, nourishing, and balancing — it's also an excellent treatment for many skin issues on its own. I suggest making a paste with raw honey and turmeric (you can still add lightening agents like lemon juice) for a gentle experience you can repeat throughout the week. Bonus: Turmeric is much easier to wipe off when combined with honey.

5. Use Turmeric For Cystic Acne With Caution

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, $24, Amazon; Trader Joe's Turmeric, $8, Amazon

It's very tempting to use any natural remedy that improves your acne every day because you want those blemishes gone ASAP. Remembering that turmeric is highly anti-septic and can be drying may not be enough to stop you from going orange on the reg, but this might: Sebum glands produce more oil when your skin's defense are up. Drying out your skin is risky, even when combating severe acne, because it causes your glands to go on the defense, producing more oil which often leads to clogged pores and acne. Mo' Oil equals Mo' Problems, but it doesn't have to be that way. Use your mask only on the infected areas before bedtime or use your mask only twice a week.

6. If You Can't Handle Ginger, You Probably Can't Handle Turmeric

Trader Joe's Turmeric, $8, Amazon

Turmeric is a relative of ginger, another powerful antioxidant that helps aging skin. However, if you have a ginger allergy, it's safe to say you most likely will be allergic to turmeric as they are both part of the same family. Fortunately, there are plenty of unrelated antioxidants to choose from right in your own pantry.

Now that you know the basics of turmeric, you can start trying out the vast possibilities for this spice. If you're a little intimidated by DIY skincare, try starting small and building from there.

Images: Kristin Collins Jackson (6)