Randomized Controlled Pilot Study of Dietary Supplementation with Turmeric or Herbal Combination Tablets on Skin Barrier Function in Healthy Subjects

Alexandra R. Vaughn, Ashley K. Clark, Manisha Notay, Raja K Sivamani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To compare the effects of turmeric tablets and turmeric-containing herbal combination tablets versus placebo on skin barrier function and sebum production by measuring facial sebum and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) in healthy subjects. This study was a prospective, double-blinded, rater-blinded, randomized pilot study. Thirty-three generally healthy participants were recruited from the UC Davis Department of Dermatology clinic and the surrounding community from 2016 to 2017, 30 participants were enrolled, and 28 participants completed the study. Thirty individuals were recruited and randomized to the placebo, turmeric, or herbal combination tablet groups. The participants were instructed to take the intervention tablets by mouth twice daily for 4 weeks. Facial sebum production and TEWL were assessed at baseline and 4 weeks. Twenty-eight participants completed the study and there were no adverse events. There were no significant changes in sebum excretion rate in any group after 4 weeks compared with baseline. In the herbal combination tablet group, there was a significant decrease in TEWL (P = .003). No significant changes in TEWL were detected in the turmeric or placebo groups. Turmeric-containing herbal combination tablets significantly decreased TEWL after 4 weeks of twice-daily supplementation. There were no adverse events in any of the three intervention arms. Overall, our findings spark future interest in determining how oral supplementation with herbal formulations may improve skin barrier function and skin appearance, and potentially offer alternative or complementary treatment options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1260-1265
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medicinal Food
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018



  • curcumin
  • sebum
  • skin barrier
  • turmeric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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