Curcumin Vs. Turmeric: Which is Best For My Skin?

Ingredients

Curcumin Vs. Turmeric: Which is Best For My Skin?

If you follow skincare trends, whether you’re an industry novice or a seasoned expert, you’ve certainly noticed the rise of turmeric in recent years. Perhaps you felt compelled to do a bit of research on your own. Why is turmeric popping up in so many products? Is it even legit? Is there such a thing as too much turmeric?


Well, even if you’ve only dedicated a few articles worth of research to the subject, you’ve probably encountered another buzzworthy term: curcumin, turmeric’s inseparable counterpart.


Adding curcumin to the equation makes the whole thing even more confusing. What is curcumin, and why does every single blog mention the stuff?!


It’s true—curcumin and turmeric are closely intertwined, and it’s hard to discuss one without mentioning the other. The relationship can be quite puzzling.


Fortunately, we’re here to answer all of these valid questions and more. Read on for a crash course on turmeric, curcumin, and all the ways these two substances may benefit your skin.

 

What Is Turmeric? 

 

To understand this topic to the fullest extent, we need to begin with the basics. What is turmeric, exactly?


You probably know turmeric as the bright, orangey-yellow powdered spice that’s available in any grocery store spice aisle. It’s commonly used in Indian curries, but it can be added to any type of dish, like rice, soup, veggies, smoothies, or tea. Turmeric has a bitter, peppery, earthy flavor. 


It’s true that you tend to see turmeric in its powdered form, but did you know that it actually comes from a plant? The turmeric plant (or Curcuma longa, if you want to get fancy) is part of the ginger family. It’s native to Southeast Asia, where it has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.


Today, turmeric has reached Western audiences. In recent years, turmeric supplements have gained popularity. These supplements may provide a range of health benefits (which we will discuss later on). In addition, turmeric has extended its reach into another field: skincare.


Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. This makes it an excellent candidate for fighting acne, healing the skin, promoting a healthy glow, and much more. This is why so many skincare products these days include turmeric as an active ingredient.


In both skincare and medicine alike, turmeric is one of the most powerful superfoods available. It’s hard to believe it comes directly from the earth. And it tastes good, too? What can’t turmeric do?

 

So... What’s Curcumin? 

 

Now, you may be asking one important question: if turmeric is so all-powerful, then what does curcumin have to offer?


Well, turmeric would be far less superfood-y without curcumin, the principal component of the yellow spice.


You see, turmeric gets its flavor, color, and many of its beneficial properties from a group of chemical compounds labeled curcuminoids. This group includes demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and good old curcumin. 


Curcumin is considered to be the most active component of turmeric. It’s the ingredient that gives turmeric its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers. Notably, it only makes up about 3% of turmeric by weight.


Most studies on the effects of turmeric used extracts from the plant that contained high levels of turmeric. Essentially, this means that many of the known benefits of turmeric can be attributed to curcumin. 

 

Which Is Better for Skin? 

 

So, we’ve still got one more burning question to address. Which is better for skin, curcumin or turmeric? The answer is complicated. 


As you now know, curcumin is basically the star of the turmeric show. When it comes to taking turmeric supplements orally, most experts recommend one that contains high levels of curcumin, or even pure curcumin. To enjoy the health benefits of turmeric to the full extent, you should take a supplement that is specifically designed for maximum curcumin absorption.


That being said, using turmeric for skincare is a little different. You apply it topically as opposed to ingesting it. Therefore, absorption into the digestive system isn’t a major concern.


Likewise, the only way to purchase pure curcumin is as a supplement. So, if you’re looking to make a DIY mask, for example, you’re going to have to use turmeric. 


Is it worth it to use turmeric on your skin? Will your skin still feel the effects of the curcumin, even if it’s not pure? We say yes! 


Most skincare products on the market contain turmeric, not curcumin alone, for a reason. It still offers plenty of skin-saving benefits, with curcumin being responsible for many of them. Now, let’s delve into some of the specific uses of curcumin compared to those of turmeric.

 

The Benefits of Curcumin 

 

Let’s begin by discussing the benefits that have been attributed to curcumin. Specifically, let’s talk about its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


As an anti-inflammatory substance, curcumin is excellent for treating a whole range of conditions. It helps reduce inflammation, which often manifests as redness, itchiness, burning, blisters, pimples, and more. 


Thus, when applied to the skin, curcumin may help decrease these symptoms. 


Because it fights inflammation, curcumin is ideal for treating acne (specifically, inflammatory acne). It kills the bacteria, P. acnes, that causes this issue. In this way, it may help reduce the severity and frequency of acne breakouts. 


Along those same lines, curcumin helps calm and soothe inflamed skin. It may reduce redness, lessen irritation, and improve the overall appearance of the skin. It can even help repair skin damage, like acne scarring. 


Now, let’s turn to the antioxidant side of curcumin. Why are antioxidants important, anyway?


Basically, antioxidants protect the skin against free radicals—unstable molecules that may damage healthy cells. Using antioxidant ingredients on your skin may reduce signs of aging, brighten the skin tone, and stimulate collagen production. All in all, antioxidants are great for keeping the skin healthy and glowing. 


As you can see, curcumin brings a lot to the table. The fact that turmeric is both an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant substance is the main reason it is so popular in skincare. Turmeric has curcumin to thank for that.

 

The Benefits of Turmeric 

 

So, what about turmeric itself? Are the other compounds in turmeric responsible for any of its skin benefits?


It’s hard to say. Most of the benefits of turmeric are closely wrapped up with curcumin. However, some studies show that turmeric, as a whole, may inhibit fungal growth. To that end, when all of its chemical compounds work together, it is more effective than curcumin alone. So that’s something.

 ###CTA###

Turmeric Vs. Curcumin: The Verdict 

 

At the end of the day, it’s nearly impossible to study turmeric and curcumin separately. Curcumin is an integral component of turmeric, and without it, turmeric just wouldn’t be itself.


When it comes to skincare, turmeric is basically your only choice. Most products use turmeric, not curcumin alone. Overall, you will still enjoy all the benefits of curcumin even in this state.


One thing is absolutely certain: turmeric-based products will make your skin feel amazing. If you’re looking to dip your toes in the water, consider trying our Vitamin C Clay Mask. With turmeric as one of its main ingredients, this mask encapsulates everything there is to love about the superfood.

 

Sources

 

Turmeric | National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health


Curcumin | Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University


10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin | Healthline


Turmeric vs. Curcumin: Which Should You Take? | Healthline

Return to Blog
Curcumin Vs. Turmeric: Which is Best For My Skin?

Ingredients

Curcumin Vs. Turmeric: Which is Best For My Skin?

If you follow skincare trends, whether you’re an industry novice or a seasoned expert, you’ve certainly noticed the rise of turmeric in recent years. Perhaps you felt compelled to do a bit of research on your own. Why is turmeric popping up in so many products? Is it even legit? Is there such a thing as too much turmeric?


Well, even if you’ve only dedicated a few articles worth of research to the subject, you’ve probably encountered another buzzworthy term: curcumin, turmeric’s inseparable counterpart.


Adding curcumin to the equation makes the whole thing even more confusing. What is curcumin, and why does every single blog mention the stuff?!


It’s true—curcumin and turmeric are closely intertwined, and it’s hard to discuss one without mentioning the other. The relationship can be quite puzzling.


Fortunately, we’re here to answer all of these valid questions and more. Read on for a crash course on turmeric, curcumin, and all the ways these two substances may benefit your skin.

 

What Is Turmeric? 

 

To understand this topic to the fullest extent, we need to begin with the basics. What is turmeric, exactly?


You probably know turmeric as the bright, orangey-yellow powdered spice that’s available in any grocery store spice aisle. It’s commonly used in Indian curries, but it can be added to any type of dish, like rice, soup, veggies, smoothies, or tea. Turmeric has a bitter, peppery, earthy flavor. 


It’s true that you tend to see turmeric in its powdered form, but did you know that it actually comes from a plant? The turmeric plant (or Curcuma longa, if you want to get fancy) is part of the ginger family. It’s native to Southeast Asia, where it has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.


Today, turmeric has reached Western audiences. In recent years, turmeric supplements have gained popularity. These supplements may provide a range of health benefits (which we will discuss later on). In addition, turmeric has extended its reach into another field: skincare.


Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. This makes it an excellent candidate for fighting acne, healing the skin, promoting a healthy glow, and much more. This is why so many skincare products these days include turmeric as an active ingredient.


In both skincare and medicine alike, turmeric is one of the most powerful superfoods available. It’s hard to believe it comes directly from the earth. And it tastes good, too? What can’t turmeric do?

 

So... What’s Curcumin? 

 

Now, you may be asking one important question: if turmeric is so all-powerful, then what does curcumin have to offer?


Well, turmeric would be far less superfood-y without curcumin, the principal component of the yellow spice.


You see, turmeric gets its flavor, color, and many of its beneficial properties from a group of chemical compounds labeled curcuminoids. This group includes demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and good old curcumin. 


Curcumin is considered to be the most active component of turmeric. It’s the ingredient that gives turmeric its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers. Notably, it only makes up about 3% of turmeric by weight.


Most studies on the effects of turmeric used extracts from the plant that contained high levels of turmeric. Essentially, this means that many of the known benefits of turmeric can be attributed to curcumin. 

 

Which Is Better for Skin? 

 

So, we’ve still got one more burning question to address. Which is better for skin, curcumin or turmeric? The answer is complicated. 


As you now know, curcumin is basically the star of the turmeric show. When it comes to taking turmeric supplements orally, most experts recommend one that contains high levels of curcumin, or even pure curcumin. To enjoy the health benefits of turmeric to the full extent, you should take a supplement that is specifically designed for maximum curcumin absorption.


That being said, using turmeric for skincare is a little different. You apply it topically as opposed to ingesting it. Therefore, absorption into the digestive system isn’t a major concern.


Likewise, the only way to purchase pure curcumin is as a supplement. So, if you’re looking to make a DIY mask, for example, you’re going to have to use turmeric. 


Is it worth it to use turmeric on your skin? Will your skin still feel the effects of the curcumin, even if it’s not pure? We say yes! 


Most skincare products on the market contain turmeric, not curcumin alone, for a reason. It still offers plenty of skin-saving benefits, with curcumin being responsible for many of them. Now, let’s delve into some of the specific uses of curcumin compared to those of turmeric.

 

The Benefits of Curcumin 

 

Let’s begin by discussing the benefits that have been attributed to curcumin. Specifically, let’s talk about its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


As an anti-inflammatory substance, curcumin is excellent for treating a whole range of conditions. It helps reduce inflammation, which often manifests as redness, itchiness, burning, blisters, pimples, and more. 


Thus, when applied to the skin, curcumin may help decrease these symptoms. 


Because it fights inflammation, curcumin is ideal for treating acne (specifically, inflammatory acne). It kills the bacteria, P. acnes, that causes this issue. In this way, it may help reduce the severity and frequency of acne breakouts. 


Along those same lines, curcumin helps calm and soothe inflamed skin. It may reduce redness, lessen irritation, and improve the overall appearance of the skin. It can even help repair skin damage, like acne scarring. 


Now, let’s turn to the antioxidant side of curcumin. Why are antioxidants important, anyway?


Basically, antioxidants protect the skin against free radicals—unstable molecules that may damage healthy cells. Using antioxidant ingredients on your skin may reduce signs of aging, brighten the skin tone, and stimulate collagen production. All in all, antioxidants are great for keeping the skin healthy and glowing. 


As you can see, curcumin brings a lot to the table. The fact that turmeric is both an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant substance is the main reason it is so popular in skincare. Turmeric has curcumin to thank for that.

 

The Benefits of Turmeric 

 

So, what about turmeric itself? Are the other compounds in turmeric responsible for any of its skin benefits?


It’s hard to say. Most of the benefits of turmeric are closely wrapped up with curcumin. However, some studies show that turmeric, as a whole, may inhibit fungal growth. To that end, when all of its chemical compounds work together, it is more effective than curcumin alone. So that’s something.

 ###CTA###

Turmeric Vs. Curcumin: The Verdict 

 

At the end of the day, it’s nearly impossible to study turmeric and curcumin separately. Curcumin is an integral component of turmeric, and without it, turmeric just wouldn’t be itself.


When it comes to skincare, turmeric is basically your only choice. Most products use turmeric, not curcumin alone. Overall, you will still enjoy all the benefits of curcumin even in this state.


One thing is absolutely certain: turmeric-based products will make your skin feel amazing. If you’re looking to dip your toes in the water, consider trying our Vitamin C Clay Mask. With turmeric as one of its main ingredients, this mask encapsulates everything there is to love about the superfood.

 

Sources

 

Turmeric | National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health


Curcumin | Linus Pauling Institute | Oregon State University


10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin | Healthline


Turmeric vs. Curcumin: Which Should You Take? | Healthline

Return to Blog