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Using turmeric as a face mask might help reduce the appearance of acne and other skin conditions. However, possible side effects of applying turmeric to the face may include staining or irritating skin.

In this article, we discuss the benefits and side effects of using a turmeric face mask. We also look at other ways to care for the facial skin.

A person wearing a turmeric face mask.Share on Pinterest
Image credit: Clovera / Getty Images.

A 2015 article in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology mentions that people have used turmeric, which is a yellow spice, for its flavor and medicinal purposes for centuries.

The article also states that the main ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties.

People all around the world have been using turmeric to treat:

A 2016 systematic review notes that there appears to be early evidence that turmeric and curcumin products may benefit skin health. However, published studies are limited, and further studies are necessary to confirm this benefit.

A turmeric face mask may help treat the following conditions:


Bacteria, such as Cutibacterium acnes (formerly called Propionibacterium acnes), can contribute to the inflammatory lesions in acne.

A 2017 study tested turmeric extracts using different solvents, such as water, ethanol, hexane, and dichloromethane.

After measuring the antioxidant activity, the researchers found that the combination of dichloromethane and turmeric extract could be a potential source of natural anti-acne-inducing bacteria.

Learn more about treating acne with turmeric here.

Atopic dermatitis

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) mention that adults often experience atopic dermatitis around the eyes.

Atopic dermatitis is a form of eczema. It is an inflammatory condition that occurs due to genetic, environmental, and immune factors.

A 2015 study involving 360 people with eczema found that the topical application of formulations containing extracts of turmeric, Indian pennywort, and walnut helped reduce:

  • swelling
  • scaling
  • itching
  • erythema, or flushed skin

The study concluded that all of these formulations could be promising topical treatment options for eczema.


A 2019 article suggests that due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, the long-term topical use of curcumin may help treat and prevent skin aging.

An older study that followed 28 women over 4 weeks found that applying a herbal gel comprising rosemary, turmeric, and gotu kola improved signs of sun exposure-related aging.

The women self-reported an increase in skin firmness after 4 weeks of daily use.

Wound care

Wounds cause inflammation at the site of the injury as part of the natural process of healing.

Topical turmeric appears to be more beneficial for wounds than oral turmeric.

The authors of a 2016 study concluded that a combination of curcumin, chitosan, and collagen showed promise in promoting wound healing in people with diabetes.

A 2016 review supports this, noting that curcumin has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which play an important role in wound healing.

Facial psoriasis

Facial psoriasis is an inflammatory condition that causes persistent, thick, dry patches on the face. It is rare for psoriasis to affect only the face, and most people with symptoms on this part of the body will also have scalp psoriasis.

According to 2019 research, people with psoriasis have higher levels of phosphorylase kinase (PhK) than those who do not have this condition. PhK is a protein that contributes to the overproduction of skin cells.

Curcumin gel may help reduce the appearance of psoriasis by suppressing the PhK activity.

Learn more about treating psoriasis with turmeric here.

While turmeric is generally safe to use, both topically and orally, there is a risk of contact dermatitis.

If a person develops contact dermatitis, they may notice the following symptoms:

  • burning, itching, stinging, or soreness
  • flushed skin and inflammation
  • scaly skin

Before applying a turmeric face mask, a person should test a small amount of the mixture on the skin and wait a few hours to see if they react to it.

It is important to stop using turmeric if any symptoms of contact dermatitis develop.

According to anecdotal reports, using turmeric topically on the face may also temporarily stain the skin.

Turmeric may help treat certain skin conditions on the face.

People can use generic, store-bought turmeric at home to make their own face masks. However, they should talk with a dermatologist before applying it topically.

A person can add it to other ingredients, such as honey or yogurt, to turn it into a paste.

Alternatively, they can buy face masks that contain turmeric in stores and online.

Turmeric face masks are available for purchase online.

People can use other tips to help keep the skin soft and clean.

The AAD suggest that people care for their facial skin by:

  • using a gentle cleanser that is alcohol-free to avoid drying out the skin
  • wetting the face with lukewarm water and using the fingertips to apply the cleanser
  • avoiding scrubbing the skin, as this can irritate it
  • rinsing the face with lukewarm water and patting it dry with a soft towel
  • applying a moisturizer if the face is dry or itchy, taking care not to be too rough on the delicate skin around the eyes
  • washing the face only in the morning and evening, and after sweating

Due to its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, using a face mask that contains turmeric may help treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, wounds, or atopic dermatitis.

However, some people may experience contact dermatitis if they apply this spice to the skin. Those who experience symptoms of an allergic reaction should stop using turmeric immediately.