If you’re following me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed I haven’t been posting much over the holiday season.
I wish I could tell you it’s because I was having too much fun travelling around, eating panettone and enjoying quality time with my family. The truth is a lot less glamorous: I was in bed with the flu. 🙁
One of the few things that helps me feel better when I have the flu, or even just a bad cold, is a hot cup of tea with lemon and honey. The warmth soothes my inflamed throat and the honey has anti-inflammatory properties that help my immune system fight those nasty buggers. Works like a charm.
This got me thinking, is honey a miracle worker for skin too or are you slathering on those DIY honey face masks and Korean honey essences for nothing?
Let’s take a look at what science says:
What Is Honey?
Honey is a thick, golden liquid bees make from the nectar of flowers. These industrious little animals collect the nectar, mix it with their own enzymes (you don’t want to know how they do that – it’ll ruin honey for you, trust me!) and store it into their beehive for eating when food is scarce.
Honey is mostly sugar with a sprinkle of antioxidants and vitamins thrown in for good measure.
What Does Honey Do For Your Skin?
This delicious nectar is quite the multitasker. Here’s all honey does for your skin:
- Antibacterial: It inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi, helping wounds heal faster. It works thanks to its high osmolarity (high sugar/low water combo) that sucks water out of bacterial cells and its ability to release the bacteria killer hydrogen peroxide. Some say it works against P.Acnes, the bacteria that causes acne. The scientific jury’s still out on this but it seems honey may help create an inhospitable environment for P.Acnes.
- Anti-inflammatory: It soothes pain and reduces swelling, speeding up the healing process.
- Antioxidant: It contains a small amount of antioxidants to prevent premature wrinkles.
- Humectant: It attracts water from the air into the skin. This keeps skin well hydrated, plumps it up and makes it softer to the touch.
Related: What Are Humectants And Why Do You Need Them In Your Skincare Routine?
Struggling to put together a skincare routine that banishes dryness and makes your skin supple and dewy? Download your FREE “Best Skincare Routine For Dry Skin” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):
Does It Matter What Type Of Honey You Use?
That’s a tricky question. All types of honeys have different compositions. This depends on what types of flowers bees use to make honey and where those flowers grow.
As a rule, though, it doesn’t seem to matter if honey is raw or pasteurised. Both work just as well. But Manuka honey has stronger antibacterial activity than other types of honey.
Even so, I don’t recommend you put honey on your skin as is. Honey has a very acidic pH (between 1.5 to 2) that’s too harsh for your skin. I prefer to get my fix from pH balanced skincare products – as long as they contain enough honey. If you see it listed towards the bottom, don’t bother!
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Honey?
- Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask With Echinacea Green Envy ($56.00): available at Cult Beauty and Sephora.
- Farmacy Honey Savior All-In-One Skin Repair Salve with Eachinacea Green Envy Honey ($34.00): available at Cult Beauty and Sephora.
- Fresh Creme Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask ($150.00): available at Nordstrom.
The Bottom Line
Honey is a skincare multitasker: it can hydrate skin, fight wrinkles and help wounds heal faster. But the jury’s still out there on whether or not it can get rid of acne too.