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Can turmeric help improve symptoms of rosacea?

Not only is it a popular spice in many cuisines around the world—it may also help manage rosacea flare-ups.

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Curology Team
Oct 24, 2022 · 7 min read

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
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  3. > Can turmeric help improve symptoms of rosacea?

Native to Southeast Asia, turmeric is a popular spice known for its natural anti-inflammatory properties, and that’s exactly why this ancient root is used for more than just cooking. Although there isn’t strong evidence to support using turmeric for rosacea, it does have anti-inflammatory properties that may theoretically help with the symptoms.¹ There is also some anecdotal evidence supporting that incorporating it into your diet may help decrease facial redness.²

Here we’ll explain what turmeric is, share ways to use this spice that may help reduce rosacea symptoms and provide a list of other tips for managing rosacea.

What is rosacea?

Before we get too deep into the topic of turmeric and rosacea, let’s review what rosacea is and how it shows up on your skin. Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that affects more than 14 million Americans. It can result in a variety of symptoms that come in cycles known as “flare-ups,” including acne-like bumps (not acne, which is different), visible blood vessels (telangiectasias) flushing, and facial redness that usually appear on the nose and cheeks.³

We still don’t know what causes rosacea, but research suggests it may be due to a number of factors, including an overreactive immune system, genetics, skin mites (Demodex), intestinal bacteria (Helicobacter pylori), or a combination of these. It often occurs in fair-skinned individuals between the ages of 30 and 50.⁴ Currently, there’s no cure, but you can manage rosacea by learning what triggers your flare-ups and taking steps to avoid them. 

What exactly triggers rosacea to flare up varies from person to person. So, if you have rosacea, knowing your personal triggers is key in helping to prevent flare-ups from happening in the first place.

How does food relate to rosacea? 

We know certain foods are common triggers for people with rosacea, but that doesn't mean those foods cause rosacea. Remember, no one knows the exact cause. It has been suggested that some supplements (like tumeric) may help reduce the appearance of rosacea symptoms like facial redness. But that doesn’t mean they’re a cure for rosacea—again, there’s no known cure yet! 

The National Rosacea Society considers these foods to be common triggers (but remember, triggers vary from person to person):⁵ 

  • Alcohol, especially red wine, champagne, bourbon, and gin, may lead to flare-ups.

  • Hot foods or drinks—as in temperature—may also trigger flare-ups. 

  • Spicy foods have also been linked to flare-ups. That doesn’t mean you can’t use spices like turmeric. But you may want to skip things such as hot peppers (like jalapeño and habanero).

  • Vinegar, citrus, and tomatoes may also lead to flare-ups in some people. The same goes for certain types of dairy and chocolate. 

What is turmeric good for?

As a dietary supplement, turmeric contains several beneficial organic chemical compounds. One of those is curcumin, which belongs to a category of chemicals naturally occurring in plants known as polyphenols. Polyphenols have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.⁶ That’s why, when used in food or drinks, some people claim turmeric may help with “healing rosacea from the inside out”. 

Although there’s not a proven turmeric drink for rosacea, one option that's tasty and easy to prepare is golden milk, or Haldi doodh, a traditional beverage from India made with turmeric powder, milk (including non-dairy options), and other spices.

ayurvedic drink healthy juice

Turmeric in topical skincare

As an anti-inflammatory aid, turmeric powder can be ingested by adding it to beverages or taking curcumin capsules. It can also be used topically. But before you add turmeric powder to your skincare routine, it’s important to know that its yellow-orange color can easily stain your skin, clothes, and certain materials like porcelain. 

When it comes to your skin, many DIY recipes use turmeric powder or oil. If you have sensitive skin, consider performing a patch test to see how your skin reacts before using it. And in this case, if your skin has a reaction to the product, it may be best to not use turmeric as a topical treatment. If you are considering oral turmeric supplements, check with your healthcare provider to be sure this is right for you. 

That said, turmeric is not a substitute for a good skincare routine that includes regular use of a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen that work well with your skin type to address your skin concerns. If you decide to use turmeric for blushing or spot treatments, do so as an add-on to your regular skincare routine. Here are some ways you can use turmeric as part of your skincare routine, should you choose to do so: 

  • Simple face masks: Mix a pinch of turmeric powder with a dollop of raw honey and water or aloe vera. Apply evenly on your face and rinse clean after five to 10 minutes. 

  • Easy spot treatment: In theory, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties may help with acne lesions! You might try using turmeric oil or make a paste using turmeric powder and water.

To learn more about turmeric and its possible benefits, be sure to check out our post on how turmeric may help improve your skin.

Other ways to help manage rosacea

In addition to watching out for certain foods and drinks, it’s important to minimize your exposure to triggers as much as possible to help prevent rosacea flare-ups. Here are some tips (along with a few others) to help do just that: 

  • Keep a diary: Maintaining a daily log to document flare-ups will help identify the specific triggers (including food and drinks) that may cause them. Remember, triggers vary from person to person, and avoiding them is easier when you know what yours are.

  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30: Sunscreen helps protect your skin against harmful UV rays, which may help reduce flare-ups (not to mention the signs of premature aging). Use it every day!

  • Protect yourself from cold weather: Using scarves or other face coverings will help reduce your face’s exposure to the elements. If warm beverages are a trigger for you, avoid warming up with hot water. 

  • Keep cool: Limiting your exposure to extreme heat may also help reduce flare-ups.  

  • Use rosacea-friendly skin care products: Choose products specifically designed for sensitive skin, or consider a personalized prescription formula from Curology. 

Curology can treat rosacea 

Curology was founded by dermatologists in 2014 to help people treat skin conditions like rosacea, acne, signs of aging, and hyperpigmentation. As a Curology member, you’ll have access to one of our in-house licensed dermatology providers to help you manage your symptoms of rosacea with a personalized treatment plan and provide expert advice and answer any questions you may have.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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Our team of medical professionals will examine your skin and assess your skincare goals to provide custom treatment options. If Curology is right for you, we’ll create a personalized prescription formula using ingredients proven to treat rosacea like ivermectin, metronidazole, and azelaic acid. You'll also get other recommended products that may help address your specific skincare concerns. Your first 30 days are free—just pay $4.95 (plus tax) to cover shipping and handling.*

FAQs

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that affects more than 14 million Americans. It can result in a variety of symptoms that come in cycles known as “flare-ups,” including acne-like bumps (not acne, which is different), visible blood vessels (telangiectasias) flushing, and facial redness that usually appear on the nose and cheeks.

How does food relate to rosacea?

The National Rosacea Society considers these foods to be common triggers (but remember, triggers vary from person to person): 

  • Alcohol, especially red wine, champagne, bourbon, and gin, may lead to flare-ups.

  • Hot foods or drinks—as in temperature—may also trigger flare-ups. 

  • Spicy foods have also been linked to flare-ups. That doesn’t mean you can’t use spices like turmeric.

  • Vinegar, citrus, and tomatoes may also lead to flare-ups in some people. The same goes for certain types of dairy and chocolate. 

What is turmeric good for?

As a dietary supplement, turmeric contains several beneficial organic chemical compounds. One of those is curcumin, which belongs to a category of chemicals naturally occurring in plants known as polyphenols. Polyphenols have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Jasmine C. Hollinger MD, et al. Are Natural Ingredients Effective in the Management of Hyperpigmentation? A Systematic Review.The Journal of CLinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. (February 2018).

  2. National Rosacea Society. Turmeric. (n.d.).

  3. Gallo R. L., et al. Standard classification and pathophysiology of rosacea: The 2017 update by the National Rosacea Society Expert Committee. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (2017, October 28).

  4. American Academy of Dermatology. Rosacea: Who gets and causes. (n.d.).

  5. National Rosacea Society. Factors that may trigger rosacea flare-ups. (n.d.).

  6. Shimizu K., et al. Anti-inflammatory action of curcumin and its use in the treatment of lifestyle-related diseases. European Cardiology Review. (July 2019).

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• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
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Curology Team

Elise Griffin, Physician Assistant Curology

Elise Griffin, PA-C

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