How Is Honey Good for Your Skin?

Medically Reviewed on 1/5/2022

Honey has so many skin benefits that it often appears as an ingredient in commercial skincare products. You can also use honey straight from the jar if you want to get all the effects without other ingredients.
Honey has so many skin benefits that it often appears as an ingredient in commercial skincare products. You can also use honey straight from the jar if you want to get all the effects without other ingredients.

There is a long tradition of using pantry items for skincare. Just think of the familiar image of people with cucumber slices over their eyes, for example. Another food that is great for the skin is honey.

Honey has so many skin benefits that it often appears as an ingredient in commercial skincare products. You can also use honey straight from the jar if you want to get all the effects without other ingredients. You may find that honey is your new favorite skincare secret.

Benefits of honey

Honey isn’t just a sweetener to add to a nice cup of tea. It’s a complex substance that bees make as their primary form of sustenance. Honey is the end result of a long process where bees collect nectar, process it with enzymes from their honey stomachs, store it in honeycombs, and dry it until it reaches a viscous consistency.

This process results in a substance that is high in natural sugars, proteins and amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It also contains enzymes that have numerous health effects, including:

  • Wound healing
  • Antibacterial effects
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Anti-fungal effects
  • Antiviral effects
  • Antidiabetic effects

Choosing honey for skincare

Some experts suggest you look for raw, unpasteurized honey. Raw honey is cloudier than pasteurized versions and might have tiny flecks of beeswax in it. Honey can also be more solid when it hasn’t been heated during processing. Raw honey can have the same texture as coconut oil when it’s in a solid state.

Manuka honey has a strong reputation for its skincare benefits, and it’s used as an ingredient in many products. This is honey made with nectar from Manuka bushes, which have health benefits of their own. Manuka is native to Australia and New Zealand, so all Manuka honey in the United States is imported from those countries. Local honey also has benefits for skincare, so you don’t need to exclusively use imported Manuka honey.

Using honey on skin

Moisturizing mask

Honey is a humectant, meaning it draws and retains moisture. Honey also contains antioxidants that have anti-aging effects. You can moisten your skin, then spread a thin layer of honey over your entire face. Leave it in place for 20 to 30 minutes. Once you remove the mask, your skin should feel hydrated and soft.

Treating dark spots

Honey contains natural hydrogen peroxide, so applying it to scars or areas of hyperpigmentation may fade them over time.

Scalp health

The anti-fungal properties in honey can help with symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis, a condition where your scalp develops patches of scaly skin that can flake and itch. You can apply honey to your damp scalp and scrub the skin gently, like using shampoo. Leave it on your skin for a few minutes to intensify the anti-fungal effect.

Sunburn

Honey has been used as a burn treatment in traditional medicine for centuries. Research supports using it for burns, though for severe burns, you should consult a doctor. For a mild burn, such as sunburn, you can apply honey directly to dampened skin.

Skin conditions

Research shows that there may be benefits to applying honey to skin affected by eczema or psoriasis. Talk to your doctor about adding honey to your typical treatment routine.

If you prefer to use commercial skincare products that contain honey, take a look at the ingredients list before purchasing. Cosmetics list ingredients in the order of highest concentration to lowest concentration. You can get a rough idea of how significant a proportion of honey a product has based on where it is located on the list of ingredients.

If you have an allergy to bees or bee products, you should talk to your doctor before using honey for skincare.

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Medically Reviewed on 1/5/2022
References
Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine: "Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity."

Byrdie: "Honey For Face: Benefits, How to Use, and More."

Cosmetics Business: "A guide on how to write cosmetics ingredient lists in EU, US and Canada."

Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology: "Honey in dermatology and skincare: a review."

National Honey Board: "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS."