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Oh Honey! The Benefits Of Raw Honey In Skin Care Are Significant

  • 5 min read

Raw honey in skin care is a match made in heaven

Honey isn’t just for sweetening toast and tea. Honey is one of nature’s true MVPs. Historically, honey has been used to suppress coughs, treat burns, diaper rash, psoriasis and even dress wounds. Medicinal honey makes for a good wound dressing because it’s able to moisturize the wound, stimulate tissue growth, collagen synthesis, and blood vessel formation, inhibit microbial infections, soothe tissue inflammation, and keep gauze from sticking to the wound. And it can make your face glow!

Manuka honey, a honey variant from New Zealand, has an added antimicrobial mechanism. Manuka honey contains a compound named methyglyoxal. This compound can even inhibit the growth of methicillin resistant Staph aureus (MRSA). It's the basis of Medihoney, which the FDA approved in 2007 for use in treating wounds and skin ulcers.

Everyday Skin Care Routines

Raw honey offers significant skincare benefits. Honey contains proteins and minerals that can help your skin glow. Many of the vitamins that act as antioxidants like vitamin C, biotin (B9), nicotinic acid (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), and thiamine (B1) are found in raw honey. Antioxidants are essential for an optimal anti-aging regimen. Honey also has intrinsic antimicrobial properties. Honey contains an enzyme called glucose oxidase. Glucose oxidase catalyzes a reaction that produces hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide can then go on to wreak havoc on the bacterial cells.

Honey as a Vehicle for Other Ingredients

From the cosmetic perspective, honey is a great vehicle. This means it can be used to hold other active ingredients like essential oils. High amounts of honey in a product are used to create ointments. Lower concentrations can be used in foams and creams. You can usually find honey containing products in concentrations between 1% and 10%.

Honey has Humectant and Hygroscopic Properties.

Humectants are essentially moisturizers. Being hygroscopic means something attracts and holds water. This is why you see honey in so many moisturizing facial products. Honey’s humectant properties are due to the large amounts of glucose and fructose. These sugars are able to form bonds with water.

Honey is also used in hair for conditioning. It can penetrate into the hair shaft to restore hair’s elasticity. 

We put raw honey in our new Baby Face Soap for sensitive skin. It smells good too!  

What's The Best Kind Of Honey To Use In Skin Care?

  • Completely raw honey appears chunky or crystallised, with bits of wax, pollen, propolis and honeycomb. Rather than being harmful, these are packed with the good stuff. Unless you know a bee keeper, it can be a bit difficult to find. 
  • Unfiltered raw (or strained) honey: The most easily available kind of raw honey and the best for skincare. Processing is limited to a simple filtering that removes the larger bits of wax and pollen, so enzymes remain intact. This is what we use in our Baby Face Soap.
  • Filtered raw honey: If you really can’t stand bits floating around in your honey, this is your best bet. The honey is heated slightly, then passed through a fine filter to remove pollen and propolis, leaving behind a much cleaner liquid. However, “cleaner” doesn’t mean “better”, because it’s lower on the nutrition scale.
  • Ultra-filtered, pasteurised and highly processed honey that no longer contains pollen isn’t honey according the FDA. However, the FDA isn’t checking honey sold here to see if it contains pollen. One recent study found that 75 percent of honey sold in the U.S. has had its pollen filtered out.

How To Trust You're Buying Real Manuka Honey

Manuka honey isn't cheap. Nor should it be. But if you opt for using Manuka honey, it's important to undertstand that over 80% of honey sold around the world as Manuka honey is fraudulently labelled.

  • Manuka honey never comes from China. Or India. Or USA. Or France.
  • Real manuka honey only comes from New Zealand. If you want authentic certified Manuka honey you should only buy honey which carries the UMF registered trademark and the licence # of the producer, and it will only be packed and labelled in New Zealand.
  • Strictly speaking there is probably very little Manuka honey that could be described as 100% Manuka nectar because honey bees will range for several miles to collect whatever nectar is available to them from plant species that are in flower.
  • Beekeepers intending to get the purest Manuka honey will only introduce their hives to areas when the Manuka plants are coming into full flower to ensure that the nectar the bees collect will be highly dominant in Manuka nectar.
  • In isolated parts of New Zealand the Manuka species leptospermum scoparium is so dominant that there is very little alternative available to the bees during Manuka flowering.
  • Read the fine print. The UMF rating (Unique Manuka Factor, indicates levels of antibacterial activity.
  • The minimum UMF rating recognized is UMF5, however, it is not considered beneficial unless it carries a UMF 10+ level of antibacterial activity in the honey. Anything ranging from UMF10-UMF15 is a useful level, and anything UMF16 and up is considered a superior quality.acterial potency). 
  • A UMF between 14 and 16 is ideal for skincare, while 20+ is used for surgical dressings. Make sure it says “active” or “bio-active” on the label. 

If Manuka honey doesn't fit into your budget right now, there are some great raw unfiltered honeys on the market. We prefer to use Y.S. Eco Bee Farms Raw Honey. It's unfiltered, unpasteurized, kosher and is not only organic certified but also GMO free. Organic bee colonies are not maintained with the use of any chemicals. This unfiltered honey is a great source of amino acid and B vitamins

Use Raw Unflitered Honey Nightly For A Face Mask

Keep a container of unfliltered raw honey dedicated to this purpose. Honey has a very low pH, around 3.5 on average, so a lot of bacteria cannot survive in honey.  For a lot of bacteria to thrive, it needs a pH of closer to a 7 on the scale. Resist the urge to use highly processed honey. That's more likely to increase acne and other infection because a huge part of honey’s benefits come from its enzymatic components. When it’s processed or pasteurised, many of these enzymes are destroyed. Unfortunately, there aren’t any set standards for labeling honey. The more clear the honey, the more filtered it is.

Wash your face and pat dry. Then spread a thin layer of raw honey over your entire face. Let it sit for 30 minute, or leave it on as you shower. Then rinse off thoroughly with warm water. If you use raw honey that has a honeycomb in it, it can add some gentle exfoliating. You’ll be surprised how easily it emulsifies and slips off with just a bit of water, without any any stickiness or residue.

If you're not impressed by the power on honey by now, we'll add one more property in honor of the month of October and Halloween. Creole women in Lousiana use honey to treat skin ailments AND in potions to ward off ghosts.

Skin care and paranormal prevention. Now that’s some serious double duty.