Skip to main content

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

  1. blog
  2. > Ingredients

Can turmeric help improve symptoms of rosacea?

Not only is it a popular spice in many cuisines around the world—it may also be used in skincare.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Mar 4, 2024 • 9 min read
Medically reviewed by Elise Griffin, PA-C
turmeric smoothie glass bottle
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Mar 4, 2024 • 9 min read
Medically reviewed by Elise Griffin, PA-C
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.

In this article

What is rosacea?
More

Summary

  • Rosacea is a chronic skin condition characterized by flare-ups, with symptoms that can include facial redness and acne-like bumps.

  • The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but alcohol, spicy food, and citrus are common triggers.

  • Turmeric is a Southeast Asian spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

  • While some research shows that turmeric may help with facial redness, more studies are needed to tell if it can help treat rosacea.

  • Other ways to help improve symptoms of rosacea include using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and limiting your heat exposure.

  • For conventional treatments, look for proven ingredients like ivermectin, metronidazole, and azelaic acid to help treat 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 currently isn’t strong evidence to support using turmeric for rosacea, it does have anti-inflammatory properties that may—theoretically—help with its 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 you need to know about turmeric (beyond the kitchen), share ways to use this spice that may help reduce rosacea symptoms, and go over 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.³ 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.⁴

We still don’t know what causes rosacea, but research suggests it may be due to a number of elements, including an overreactive immune system, genetics, skin mites (Demodex), intestinal bacteria (Helicobacter pylori), or a combination of these factors.⁵ It often occurs in fair-skinned individuals between the ages of 30 and 50. Currently, there’s no cure, but you can manage rosacea by learning what triggers your flare-ups and taking steps to avoid them.⁶

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 turmeric) may help reduce the appearance of rosacea symptoms like facial redness.

The National Rosacea Society considers these foods to be common triggers (but remember, triggers vary from person to person):⁷

  • 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. You may want to skip things such as hot peppers (like jalapeño and habanero), but spices like turmeric are fine!

  • 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 called polyphenols, which naturally occur in plants.⁸ Polyphenols have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.⁹ That’s why, when used in food or drinks, some people claim turmeric may help with managing rosacea.

Curcumin may help with a variety of skin conditions where inflammation is involved, such as psoriasis.¹⁰ Turmeric may also assist with healing wounds and preventing skin redness associated with rosacea.¹¹ In fact, a polyherbal combination including the spice was found to reduce facial redness by as much as 40%, compared to a placebo.¹²

So does this mean that topically applied turmeric is an effective tool to manage rosacea symptoms? Not exactly. While helping reduce facial redness and inflammation may be the area where this spice can have the most impact, more research is ultimately needed before we can say for sure if turmeric is an effective remedy.¹³

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try it out in the meantime as a dietary supplement! One tasty and easy way to add turmeric to your diet is with golden milk, or Haldi doodh, a traditional beverage from India made with turmeric powder, milk (including non-dairy options), and other spices. As always, it’s important to consult your medical provider prior to adding new supplements.

Turmeric in topical skincare

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. 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 it’s right for you.

That said, turmeric is not a substitute for a good skincare routine, which includes regular use of a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen that works 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 turmeric masks for rosacea: 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 5-10 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 all triggers as much as possible to help prevent rosacea flare-ups. Here are some tips 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 with clinically proven ingredients, like those 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, provide expert advice, and answer questions you may have.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

curology bottle
curology bottle

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. Sign up for a 30-day trial today!**

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

  • Hot—as in temperature—food or drinks

  • Spicy foods—as in peppery

  • Vinegar, citrus, and tomatoes

  • Certain types of dairy and chocolate

What is turmeric good for?

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.

What clears rosacea fast?

While there may not be a perfect solution that can get rid of your rosacea right away, the key is to focus on clinically proven ingredients that can help treat the symptoms of rosacea. If you’re not sure where to start, our Custom FormulaRx* can contain active ingredients known to help treat rosacea, if right for you.

Can turmeric cure redness on the face?

Some research shows that turmeric may help prevent skin redness, but more research is needed to determine its effectiveness in this area. 

• • •

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

  1. Hollinger, J.C., 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. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Rosacea: Who gets and causes. (n.d.).

  4. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Rosacea: Who gets and causes. Ibid.

  5. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Rosacea: Who gets and causes. Ibid.

  6. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Rosacea: Who gets and causes. Ibid.

  7. National Rosacea Society. Factors That May Trigger Rosacea Flare-Ups. (n.d.).

  8. Shimizu, K., et al. Anti-inflammatory Action of Curcumin and Its Use in the Treatment of Lifestyle-related Diseases. European Cardiology Review. (July 2019).

  9. Shimizu, K., et al. Anti-inflammatory Action of Curcumin and Its Use in the Treatment of Lifestyle-related Diseases. European Cardiology Review. Ibid.

  10. Lorenzo, R.D., et al. Clinical Studies on Topical Curcumin. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. (2023, November 26).

  11. Barbalho, S.M., et al. Dermatological effects of Curcuma species: a systematic review. Clin Exp Dermatol. (July 2021).

  12. Vaughn, A.R., et al. Dietary supplementation with turmeric polyherbal formulation decreases facial redness: a randomized double-blind controlled pilot study. J Integr Med. (January 2019).

  13. Sarnoff, D.S. Therapeutic Update on Rosacea. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. (January 2014).

Elise Griffin is a certified physician assistant at Curology. She received her Master of Medical Science in physician assistant studies from Nova Southeastern University in Jacksonville, FL.

*Restrictions apply. See website for full details and important safety information.

**Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary.

• • •
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.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Elise Griffin, Physician Assistant Curology

Elise Griffin, PA-C

Related Articles

Does dermaplaning cause acne? Experts explain5 ways to calm sensitive skin, according to dermatology expertsThe 6 best chemical exfoliators for glowing skinHow long does a rosacea flare-up last? Experts explainPeptides for skin: Unpacking their skincare influence

Popular Articles

Ask Curology: Is my cold breaking me out?Slugging: The dermatologist-approved skincare hack going viral on TikTokTretinoin vs retinol: What’s the difference?How to create a self-care routine that actually sticksYour 2023 skincare horoscope
Try prescription skincare
30-day trial. Subject to consultation. Cancel anytime.
Get routine essentials
Hand grabbing product on display with other Curology Custom Formula bottles on a white shelf.
Hand grabbing product on display with other Curology Custom Formula bottles on a white shelf.

Good skin days ahead

Join the 1M+ patients who’ve tackled everything from acne, to fine lines, to hair thinning with prescription-powered treatments, personalized by a Licensed Dermatology Provider.
Ingredients proven to tackle
  • Breakouts
  • Redness
  • Fine lines
  • Dark spots
  • Hair thinning

$29.95/month

*Subject to consultation. Cancel anytime.
Get StartedShop ProductsWhy CurologyGuidesOur StoryCommunity
All Rights Reserved 2014-2024 Curology Inc.
Terms of ServicePrivacy Notice
Do Not Sell My Personal Information