The Curcumin Skin Connection
We don’t often think of curcumin to support skin health but perhaps we should.
Traditional Chinese medicine has used curcumin to support skin health for years. That’s because curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that supports healthy inflammation in many organs of the body including the skin.* How does curcumin impact the skin when it comes to sun exposure? According to a 2018 cellular study published in the journal Molecular Medical Reports, curcumin supports skin health via several mechanism including its interaction with reactive oxygen species, expression of matrix metalloproteinase, nuclear factor -kB (NF-kB), and AP-1 transcription factor.*
In addition, elevated phosphorylase kinase (PhK) activity has been identified with some skin issues. PhK is among the earliest enzymes that are released and is responsible for the activation of NF-kB, which then activates different genes related to inflammation, fibroblastic proliferation, and myofibroblast conversion. The authors of a 2013 review published in the AAPS Journal reported that curcumin exerts its health-supporting effects on the skin via “…modulation of PhK activity.”*
A 2018 paper published in Phytotherapy Research concludes that curcumin is safe, nontoxic, and nonmutagenic at recommended doses. Preliminary research is also looking at topical uses of curcumin.
Sun exposure is a big deal and should be addressed in clinical practice. In addition to recommending natural (mineral) sunscreen, there is now another tool in the tool box for integrative practitioners and that’s curcumin.
Research has shown that curcumin can support many parts of the human body including the immune system, heart, brain, joints, and gastrointestinal tract. We can now add skin to that growing list.*
Gupta SC, Patchva S, Aggarwal BB. AAPS Journal. 2013;15(1):195-218.
Heng M. BioDiscovery. 2017;20.
Heng M. International Journal of Dermatology and Clinical Research. 2017;3(1):10-17.
Liu X, Zhang R, Shi H, et al. Molecular Medical Reports. 2018;17(5):7227-7237.
Nguyen TA, Friedman AJ. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 2013;12(10).
Soleimani V, Sahebkar A, Hosseinzadeh H. Phytotherapy Research. 2018;32(6):985-995.
Vaughn AR, Branum A, Sivamani RK. Phytotherapy Research. 2016;30(8):1243-64.