Eating antioxidant-rich foods and taking vitamin and mineral supplements may help ward off the signs of aging, but researchers have discovered that some spices have certain properties that can help reduce inflammation and also help keep wrinkles at bay.
Madalene Heng, M.D., the Professor of Medicine/Dermatology at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine recently reported on the health and skin benefits of curcumin, the key phytochemical found in the spice turmeric.
She says that the compounds can be used to treat inflammation and may even help with scar and wound repair. These anti-inflammatory powers may help reduce fine lines and sun-damaged skin, and even reduce the appearance of fresh scars.
Curcumin is powerful enough to inhibit secretion of the post-injury compound known as phosphorylase kinase which is involved in the inflammatory response and creates certain types of skin growths and scars.
Dr. Heng explains that curcumin can be applied in a gel form directly onto the scars or damaged skin twice per day. The skin will slowly begin to heal and reform, and the anti-inflammatory powers of the compound can help reduce soreness, redness and itchy skin. However, one of the drawbacks of using this compound is the temporary yellow coloring that is often left behind; the spice also has a very strong odor which can be unpleasant for those who are sensitive to smell.
Curcumin is best used on top of the skin, and not ingested as a spice, because of the body's ability to absorb and metabolize its anti-aging properties.
Consuming antioxidant-rich food is another viable strategy for keeping skin in good health. Researchers continue to laud the benefits of foods such as ginger and tomatoes because they contain a significant amount of anti-inflammatory compounds and may ward off certain diseases. Antioxidant-rich foods help to neutralize free radicals in the body so that the body can protect itself from toxins in the environment.
According to Dr. Baumann of the Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute, "Curcumin is excellent for wrinkles and can curb inflammation and the formation of free radicals. And supplements of curcumin can help a patient tolerate Retin A better through its anti-inflammatory effects. Supplementing curcumin with retinoids and green tea can only be beneficial in curbing the speed at which the skin ages."