Topical curcumin gel applied after mild to moderate burns and scalds appears to be more effective in relieving symptoms and improved healing of the affected skin when compared to oral curcumin, according to findings published online in BioDiscovery (Feb. 24, 2017).
“Curcumin gel appears to work much better when used on the skin because the gel preparation allows curcumin to penetrate the skin, inhibit phosphorylase kinase and reduce inflammation,” said Dr. Madalene Heng, clinical professor of dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles.
“When taken by mouth, curcumin is very poorly absorbed into the body, and may not work as well. Nonetheless, our tests have shown that when the substance is used in a topical gel, the effect is notable,” said Dr. Heng, who was quoted in a press release.
Curcumin, an ingredient found in the spice turmeric, has been the centre of many scientific studies for its possible medicinal value, providing possible benefits for different human illnesses.
Findings from this study suggest that the use of curcumin gel on burns and scalds reduced the severity of the injury, lessened pain and inflammation, and improved healing with less than expected scarring, or even no scarring, of the affected skin.
Dr. Heng believes that the effectiveness of curcumin gel on the skin is related to its potent anti-inflammatory activity. Based on studies that she has done both in the laboratory and in patients over 25 years, the key to curcumin’s effectiveness on burns and scalds is that it is a natural inhibitor of the enzyme phosphorylase kinase.
Dr. Heng says that she uses curcumin gel for burns, scalds and other skin conditions as complementary treatment, in addition to standard treatment usually recommended for such conditions.