Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 116
Turmeric: Role in hypertrichosis and acne

Department of Dermatology, PSG Hospitals, Peelamedu, Coimbatore - 641 004, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
C R Srinivas
Department of Dermatology, PSG Hospitals, Peelamedu, Coimbatore - 641 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.33294

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How to cite this article:
Shaffrathul JH, Karthick PS, Rai R, Srinivas C R. Turmeric: Role in hypertrichosis and acne. Indian J Dermatol 2007;52:116

How to cite this URL:
Shaffrathul JH, Karthick PS, Rai R, Srinivas C R. Turmeric: Role in hypertrichosis and acne. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2007 [cited 2023 Jan 31];52:116. Available from:

Turmeric is used traditionally by Hindus for many religious purposes and in food as colouring agent. It is reported to have wound healing, [1] antitumor, [2] anticancer, [2] antioxidant, [2] antiinflammatory [2] antimicrobial [3] and antifungal [3] effects. It is reported to have an anti-inflammatory effect in arthritis, [4] rheumatism, [4] acne, [4] skin allergy [4] and ulcers. [4] Turmeric is a Rhizome from the plant curcuma longa and curcurmin is its active ingredient. Women use it regularly in South India to decrease hair growth and prevent acne. We undertook this study to determine whether the usage of turmeric reduces hair growth and prevents acne.

73 female staff nurses, attenders and menial workers of a multi specialty hospital, were questioned regarding the duration of using turmeric and reasons for using turmeric. They were examined for Acne and hypertrichosis. Subjects with hypertrichosis were graded according to Freeman Galleway score. [5] Acne was graded as follows [6]

Grade I (Mild) : Comedones, occasional papules

Grade II (Moderate) : Papules, comedones, few pustules

Grade III (Severe) : Predominant pustules, nodules, abscesses

Grade IV (Cystic) : Mainly cysts, abscesses, widespread scarring

Among the 73 women 35 were using turmeric (cases) and 38 were not using turmeric (controls). None of the subjects were using turmeric for increased hair growth.

Among the 35 who were using turmeric 13 (37.1%) had acne and among 38 who were not using turmeric 14 (36.8%) had acne over face. The P value was >0.05 ( P =0.07) which was not statistically significant.

Among 35 who were using turmeric 24 (68.5%) had increased hair growth and among 38 who were not using turmeric 17 (44.7%) had increased hair growth over face which was statistically significant with a P value of <0.05.

27 out of 35 were using turmeric for more than 5 years and among them 18 (66.7%) had hypertrichosis and P did not have (33.3%) hypertrichosis.

This study showed no statistical difference in the P value among the subjects with acne who used turmeric and those who did not use turmeric. Subjects who were using turmeric did not have decreased hair growth when compared with those who were not using turmeric. Turmeric stains both hair and skin. This yellow hair on the a yellow skin, gives a camouflage effect and so the hair looks less visible. We demonstrated this by taking few strands of black hair and some of them were smeared with turmeric. Those hairs which were smeared with and without turmeric were placed on a yellow background. Those hairs which was colored with turmeric appeared less visible than the hairs without turmeric.

From this study we conclude that turmeric does not decrease hair growth has no influence on acne.

   References Top

1.Biswas TK, Mukherjee B. Plant medicines of Indian origin for wound healing activity: A review. Int J Low Extrem Wounds 2003;2:25-39.  Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
2.Duvoix A, Blasius R, Delhalle S, Schnekenburger M, Morceau F, Henry E, et al . Chemopreventive and therapeutic effects of curcumin. Cancer Lett 2005;223:181-90.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
3.Weber WM, Hunsaker LA, Abcouwer SF, Deck LM, Vander Jagt DL. Anti-oxidan t activities of curcumin and related enones. Bioorg Med Chem 2005;13:3811-20.  Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
4.Darshan S, Doreswamy R. Patented anti-inflammatory plant drug development from traditional medicine. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2005;15:1793-7.  Back to cited text no. 4      
5.Ferriman D, Gallwey JD. Clinical assessment of body hair growth in women. J Clin Endocrinol 1961;21:1440-7.  Back to cited text no. 5      
6.Tutakne MA, Chari KV. Acne, rosacea and perioral dermatitis. In : Valia RG, Valia A R, editors. IADVL Textbook and Atlas of Dermatology. 2 nd ed. Mumbai: Bhalani; 2001. p.695.  Back to cited text no. 6      

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