How to Use Turmeric for Skin Whitening: 8 Recipes to Fade Dark Spots

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Turmeric is often a go-to natural ingredient for treating a variety of different health conditions. From heart disease to cancer to arthritis, turmeric can help the human body in so many ways.

So, it only makes sense that the body’s largest organ, the skin, would benefit from turmeric too. But what exactly does turmeric do for the skin when applied topically?

Is it capable of lightening hyperpigmentation? And if so, how do you go about using it for the best results? Read on – we’re about to answer all of those questions!

Is Turmeric Good for Fading Dark Spots? Here are the Skin Benefits That Turmeric Brings

Turmeric soap for whitening skin

One of the biggest skin benefits that turmeric offers is its ability to lighten and brighten the skin.

This is largely due to its curcumin content, an extremely powerful antioxidant that inhibits excess melanin production, therefore preventing your skin from darkening.

In fact, research has found that turmeric is capable of brightening the skin tone in just three weeks [1].

While many ingredients focus on just one aspect of skincare, turmeric is a true multi-tasker.

In addition to whitening the skin, it also reduces sun damage and skin aging, while making the skin more elastic and supple. 

Being an anti-inflammatory, turmeric can help with acne and psoriasis too, soothing the skin to bring it back into balance.

How to Use Turmeric for Noticeable Before and After Skin Lightening Results

If lightening and brightening your skin is your aim, here are some of the best turmeric-based DIY products to whip up at home:

A Skin Whitening Face Mask Made From Turmeric and Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is known for being one of the most effective DIY skin lightening ingredients out there. Why? Because it’s bursting with citric acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid that not only exfoliates away discolored skin cells but also has a bleaching effect on existing dark spots.

Combine those properties with turmeric’s benefits by mixing 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder with a few drops of lemon juice. Add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to form a paste, and then apply this to your skin. Leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

RELATED: Apple Cider Vinegar for Skin Whitening

A Moisturizing Turmeric and Honey Face Mask

Honey is incredibly moisturizing. It acts as a humectant, meaning that it draws moisture in from the environment around it, which has a plumping effect on skin cells. Honey also contains enzymes that help to lighten and brighten the skin, giving it a radiant glow.

To enjoy these benefits, mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder with half a teaspoon of honey to form a thick paste. Use this as a mask all over your face, rinsing off after 15 minutes. Alternatively, use it as a spot treatment on discolored patches.

Turmeric with lemon honey and ginger

An Exfoliating Paste Made from Turmeric and Yogurt 

Speeding up cell turnover, which is the rate at which your skin produces fresh, evenly colored skin cells to replace its older cells, is one of the best ways to encourage dark spots to fade on their own.

One of the best ingredients for exfoliating discolored skin is lactic acid – not only does it gently but effectively remove dead skin cells, but it also hydrates the skin and inhibits excess melanin production.

All you need to do to make this exfoliant is mix 1 tablespoon of yogurt with 1 tablespoon of turmeric. Adjust the ratio of ingredients as needed to form a coarse paste. Then, massage this into your skin to exfoliate, before rinsing off.

A Turmeric and Coconut Oil Moisturizer for Dry Skin

Coconut oil is a great ingredient for lightening and brightening the skin, and it also happens to be incredibly hydrating too. In fact, many people with dry skin use pure coconut oil as a moisturizer, benefiting from the ingredient’s numerous antioxidants as well.

If you have dry skin in need of a moisture fix, get yourself some raw organic coconut oil. Scoop 1 teaspoon out of the jar and mix this with half a teaspoon of turmeric powder, before applying this to your skin like a moisturizer.

RELATED: How to Lighten Skin Naturally

A Turmeric and Milk Face Pack to Soothe Your Skin

Turmeric and milk ingredients for skincare

Remember how we mentioned that yogurt is a great source of lactic acid? Well, milk contains this exfoliant too, making it ideal for skin lightening. Milk also hydrates the skin while soothing irritation.

You’ll need 1-2 tablespoons of milk (ideally raw milk) and 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder. Mix this together and then apply it to your skin. Wait until it dries before rinsing it off.

A Lightening and Tightening Paste Made From Turmeric and Olive Oil

Just like turmeric, olive oil is a multi-tasker. Although it doesn’t inhibit melanin production, it blocks UV damage, therefore preventing dark spots from darkening even further.

Studies also show olive oil to be a potent anti-inflammatory [2] capable of reducing fine lines and wrinkles while soothing and hydrating the skin.

To make a skin lightening paste using olive oil, mix equal parts olive oil and turmeric powder – 1 tablespoon of each is a good place to start. Apply the paste to your skin, focusing on discolored areas. Leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

An Anti-Aging Mask Recipe Made From Turmeric and Rose Water

Turmeric with detox water for cleansing and skincare use

Not only does rose water balance out the skin’s pH level (making it a popular ingredient in toners), but it also balances out an uneven skin tone, giving the complexion a brighter glow. Even better, it’s packed with antioxidants that hydrate and protect the skin, while reducing the signs of aging.

Mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder with 1 tablespoon of rose water. We would also recommend adding in a few drops of almond oil for extra skin-plumping benefits. Then, apply the resulting paste to your skin and wait for 20 minutes before rinsing it off.

A Brightening Turmeric and Baking Soda Mask

Baking soda is loved for how it can lighten the skin. In addition to being a bleaching agent, it also exfoliates, tackling hyperpigmentation from two different angles.

Our favorite way to use baking soda and turmeric together is in a mask. Mix together 1 tablespoon of each ingredient, before slowly stirring in 1 tablespoon of raw honey. Once everything has been well combined, apply the mask to your face and leave it on for 20-30 minutes before rinsing.


Q: How fast does turmeric whiten skin?

Turmeric can whiten the skin in just three weeks.

Q: Does turmeric lighten skin permanently?

Unfortunately, the skin lightening effects of turmeric aren’t permanent, although they can last for several weeks after you stop using the ingredient.

Woman's face with turmeric facial mask

Q: Can we apply turmeric on face daily?

Yes, turmeric is safe enough to be applied to the face daily.

Q: Which turmeric is best for skin whitening?

Turmeric powders that have a high curcumin content are the best for skin whitening.

Q: How long does it take for turmeric to lighten skin?

When used regularly, turmeric can lighten the skin in under a month.

Q: Does turmeric darken skin?

No, turmeric doesn’t darken the skin. In fact, it has skin lightening properties instead.

Q: Are there any side effects of applying turmeric on face?

The only side effect of applying turmeric topically would be an allergic reaction. To prevent this, always perform a patch test of your DIY recipe before applying it to the rest of your skin.

Q: Is it safe to use nimbu and turmeric powder on my skin?

Yes, it’s safe to use nimbu (lemon) and turmeric powder together on your skin. Both have skin lightening benefits that complement each other.

Q: Does drinking turmeric water for fair skin work?

Yes, consuming turmeric in any form will help to give you fairer skin.

Q: How to make turmeric oil for skin lightening?

The easiest way to make turmeric oil for skin lightening is to infuse a carrier oil with turmeric powder.


If you’re hoping to whiten your skin using natural ingredients, then turmeric is definitely worth a try, especially if you combine this golden spice with other natural lightening compounds.

What makes things even better is that turmeric offers up so many other skin benefits too, making it the perfect addition to any skincare routine.



Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.