Honey, along with coconut oil, has to be one of the most universally beneficial natural beauty products. It doesn’t matter what type of skin you have, whether it’s dry, oily, acne-prone, sensitive, inflamed, aging; there’s no one who can’t get better skin when you wash your face with honey.
Honey is naturally made by bees collecting flower nectar and storing it in honeycombs to create the sweet, thick liquid we know and love. That liquid is full of about 300 ingredients that help both oily and dry skin—some of the well known ones being vitamin B, calcium, zinc, potassium and iron. Honey is rich in antioxidants, it’s antibacterial and has enzyme activity that helps make your skin glow.
To be clear though, I’m not just talking about any honey. You need to know what you’re shopping for. Most mainstream honey has been pasteurized and ultra-filtered, which means it has been heated to remove any microorganisms and pollutants. However, in this process, many beneficial substances such as vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants, royal jelly, bee pollen and beeswax are also removed or destroyed. (1)
Benefits of Honey for Skin
Honey is full of flavonoids, hydrogen peroxide, and phenolic acid dermal benefits. Raw, unpasteurized honey is one of Mother Nature’s power players you definitely want to be part of your skincare routine. Some of the top benefits and uses include:
- Cleanses pores
- Treats Acne
- Exfoliate your Skin
- Fade Scars
- Hydrates Skin
- Helps Skin Conditions
Honey is what’s called a natural humectant (draws moisture into the skin). If your skin is in need of a hydrating boost, this is the perfect ingredient. It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and acts as an anti-viral/anti-fungal (2).
How to buy the best honey for your skin
When choosing honey to use for a face wash, you want to be sure to choose a raw, unfiltered honey. This will ensure that the beneficial properties are intact and present. If possible When shopping for honey, you want to look for a raw, unpasteurized product. The best honey has been only roughly filtered to remove any major particulates, with the living product otherwise left intact. The thing is, pasteurized honey doesn’t normally have “pasteurized” written on the label because pasteurizing is standard practice for mainstream commercial honey. Anything that says “pure honey,” “real honey” or “100 percent honey” has been pasteurized. If it doesn’t explicitly say “raw” on the package, you don’t want it.
What else to look for in a good honey? Ideally, you’ll be able to find raw honey produced in your local area, which is not only more sustainable but can also provide more health benefits by helping your body and immune system adapt to the specific environment you live in. Once you’ve set yourself up with some quality honey, it’s time to get washing!
Medicinal Value of Honey
The use of honey for skincare goes back to the medical texts of Egyptian, Greek, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, more than thousands of years back. Honey has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used as a wound dressing to promote rapid and improved healing. These effects are due to honey’s anti-bacterial action, secondary to its high acidity, osmotic effect, anti-oxidant content and hydrogen peroxide content (3).
How to wash your face with honey
Ready to get started? This can be a great nighttime ritual.
- Remove any makeup using a natural oil
- If you have long hair, tie it back out of the way otherwise, it will end up a sticky mess.
- Put a small blob of honey in the palm of your hand, and rub hands together to warm the honey.
- Massage it all over your face for a minute or two.
- Last rinse with warm water.
That’s it! Enjoy your soft, glowing skin. You can follow this routine daily to help maintain your fresh looking skin. The more often you incorporate honey into your beauty routine, the greater the chances you’ll see results. Honey is a natural preservative and contains anti-aging properties- and is naturally antibacterial.
It’s also important to consider avoiding honey if you’re allergic to pollen, celery or bee venom. If you’re unsure, try testing a bit on a small area of your skin for a reaction or consult with your doctor about doing an allergy test. Finally, make sure you’re removing the honey from your face completely after trying out a face mask, treatment or cleanser. Any honey left can attract dirt, which can lead to breakouts (and the last thing you want is clogged pores and acne).
As always, please consult a dermatologist for any recurring skin ailments, and before changing your skincare routine.
(1) What is fake honey and how to spot it
(2) Antifungal activity of four honeys of different types from algeria against pathogenic yeast: candida albicans and rhodotorula sp.
(3) Evidence for Clinical Use of Honey in Wound Healing as an Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory Anti-oxidant and Anti-viral Agent: A Review
by Cara Lucas