Curcumin: the ultimate anti-ageing herb?
The 10,147 studies on curcumin's benefits
Turmeric is a fine example of how food and aesthetics have started to merge seamlessly in the last few years. From turmeric lattes to turmeric facials, the boundaries between food nutrients and skincare/beauty treatment actives are becoming more and more blurred.
“Turmeric is currently the most researched and most promising health-boosting food ingredient. Already 10,147 studies have been contacted about curcumin, it’s most important constituent, and more and more studies are being published every single week”, reports nutritionist, anti-ageing specialist and cosmetic formulator, Georgios Tzenichristos.
“I have been closely following these studies for the last 3 years and it seems more and more are being conducted, especially in the past year”, Georgios adds.
Most of these studies focus on curcumin’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-ageing, anti-tumour, anti-fibrotic and lipolytic actions, all of which positively affect our overall health, and skin health, in particular.
So is eating turmeric or applying turmeric on your skin a cure all? “Of course not”, explains Georgios, “There are no miracle cures. Besides, there are known bioavailability problems. But the research clearly suggests that turmeric and curcumin do help in multiple ways in protecting our health and keeping us young. And every year scientists discover new, previously unknown health benefits of curcumin”.
Turmeric in food and supplements
Despite curcumin’s poor bioavailability, with daily consumption (think curries, soups or even the, oh so fashionable lately, turmeric and coconut milk lattes) it all adds up every day.
Curcumin supplements, on the other hand, are divided into three categories: plain curcumin; bioavailable curcumin, contained in liposomes or other fast absorption matrix; and THC, the active metabolite of curcumin in the body.
Turmeric in skin care
In skin care and beauty the last few years emphasis has been placed on fighting inflammation, oxidative damage and collagen damage with several natural actives, including curcumin.
Amateur attempts on using turmeric for facial care in the last few years have involved naive approaches, such turmeric pastes applied on the skin. But turmeric facial masks, despite how instagrammable they are, have failed to become more widely adopted, for four reasons:
Turmeric’s deep yellow-orange colour makes the whole process an unpleasant mess
Turmeric powder contains 21% fibre, which creates a barrier on the skin and blocks the absorption of curcumin, making the whole exercise pointless
This is in addition to the poor availability of curcumin itself
Only 2% of curcumin powder is curcumin, which is way too little curcumin for leaving skin with a yellow-orange tint for hours after after the removal of the mask
All in all, curcumin face masks are all drawbacks and no advantages.
On the other hand, just like with food supplements, more sophisticated approaches comprise the use of liposomal curcumin or pure THC. The latter, being white, highly absorbable and concentrated, truly delivers curcumin’s promise.
London-based LipoTherapeia, a small, innovative aesthetic practice focusing only on skin tightening, anti-ageing and cellulite, have recently launched two treatments that make use of curcumin’s potential.
Meso-CRF® Body | Turmeric is a skin tightening / anti-cellulite treatment, which combines radiofrequency with high concentrations of pure THC, as well as EGCG from green tea extract, cocoa polyphenols, pure resveratrol and hyaluronic acid.
Meso-CRF® Facial, on the other hand, aims to boost skin youthfulness and firmness with an altered combination of radiofrequency, THC and several other natural actives.
Despite the strong yellow, green, brown and purple colours associated with these natural compounds, Meso-CRF treatments are surprisingly “white”.
“Don't imagine we apply green or yellow stuff on skin. THC from turmeric is white, EGCG from green tea is off-white/pink, resveratrol from red grape skin is grey-white and even cocoa has a light beige colour, due to a natural special process that also increases bioavailability. All in all, we make the most of those amazing natural compounds, without the mess and the colour stains”, adds Georgios.
Radiofrequency in those treatments increases the absorption of actives by 500%, and of it course plays it’s own role in stimulating circulation, skin tightening and cellulite removal.
And the results speak for themselves, with a cult following and 6-week waiting lists being the norm during the summer months.
The future is yellow
All in all, the potential of those amazing food ingredients, and especially that of curcumin, has hardly been realised. However, the more research is being released every single day, the more curcumin will be incorporated in beauty treatments, skincare products, functional foods, supplements and food recipes.
The future is bright, the future is yellow (and perhaps white too).
LipoTherapeia | The Hale Clinic, 7 Park Crescent, London, W1B 1PF | 0207 118 2014
Georgios Tzenichristos can be contacted on 0207 118 2014 or at lipotherapeia.com/contact. Georgios would be pleased to collaborate on articles on natural compounds for health and beauty.
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