Skin Benefits of Honey + How to Use It for Skin Care

Honey is a common tenant of almost every kitchen - sweetening your breakfast pancakes and coffee! However, it's also a real beauty gem, used in skincare for centuries.

September 30, 2021 5 minutes read

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Honey is one of the oldest, tried-and-tested home remedies for hydrating and soothing dry and irritated skin. Women around the world have used it for skin and hair care for ages.

Thanks to the high content of enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, this gift of nature is truly a skincare gem – it can do anything from brightening and softening to healing and cleansing the skin. So, move over coconut oil, olive oil, and turmeric because the new hero is coming into town – the sweet and golden honey.

Keep reading to learn more about its benefits for the skin and how to use it in your skincare routine.

Honey Benefits for Skin

Besides being a great sugar substitute and tasty addition to your throat-healing tea, this superfood can also be applied directly to your face, bringing a wide array of skin benefits.

So, where does honey come from, and why is it so good for our skin? Honey is produced by bees that collect flower nectar and store it in honeycombs to create the precious, sweet liquid we love. This liquid is packed with components beneficial for our skin. Some of these components are niacin (a form of vitamin B), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), riboflavin (vitamin B2), zinc, and potassium, among many others.

Honey is rich in antioxidants, proteins, and antibacterial agents that can soothe and heal several skin conditions and give you a healthy and radiant complexion.

So, let's sum up its benefits for the skin:

#1: It's Moisturizing.

The most praised benefit of honey for the skin is its moisturizing property. Honey acts as a natural humectant and emollient, drawing water into the skin and keeping it hydrated and nourished [source]. Besides, thanks to its high antioxidant content, it also soothes the skin at the same time, making it perfect for dry, cracked skin and chapped lips.

#2: It's Anti-Aging.

Honey is rich in antioxidants and enzymes that protect the skin from the free radicals damage, preventing oxidative stress and slowing down the process of aging [source]. While a topical application of honey won't erase your fine lines and wrinkle, it will reduce their appearance and prevent the formation of new ones.

Studies suggest that the antioxidant property of honey is linked to its brightness, and, therefore, the darker the honey, the higher its antioxidant value.

#3: It's Anti-Inflammatory.

Honey owes its potent anti-inflammatory properties to the high content of phenolic and flavonoid compounds. In addition, due to its strong antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, honey is a potent natural remedy for a variety of inflammatory skin disorders, such as eczema. According to a 2017 study, manuka honey reduced atopic dermatitis lesions in 14 patients.

#4: It Helps With Acne.

Acne is often the result of an overgrowth of bacteria on the skin. Honey is naturally antibacterial, so it's great for fighting these acne-causing bacteria [source]. In addition, the high content of antioxidants helps alleviate the inflammation, swelling, and redness that acne usually leaves behind.

#5: It's Exfoliating.

Raw honey acts as a natural exfoliator, removing dead skin cells from the surface layer of the skin [source]. Since it's also hydrating and soothing, honey can energize and plum your skin and bring your dull complexion back to life.

#6: It Heals Wounds and Scars.

Honey is one of the oldest natural remedies for wound healing due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. In addition, it contains numerous compounds that strengthen the skin's protective barrier and stimulate tissue repair, fastening the healing process of wounds, cuts, and burns [source].

In addition, its enzymatic activity leads to the production of trace amounts of hydrogen peroxide [source]. This means that honey also acts as a mild skin lightening agent, helping fade hyperpigmentation and post-acne marks.

#7: It's Cleansing.

Since honey is so powerful in combating bacteria, we could also say that it has strong antiseptic properties and can be used as a natural skin cleanser [source]. It's effective at removing dirt and cleansing pores while maintaining the skin's PH levels and hydrating it simultaneously.

How to Use Honey for Skin Care

As you can see, honey is incredibly versatile and beneficial for the skin. If you want to boost your beauty arsenal with this all-purpose natural ingredient (choose raw and unpasteurized honey), here are several ideas for your DIY home-spa treatments:

#1: Moisturizer

Of course, you can always use pure raw honey as a moisturizer and simply apply it generously all over your previously cleansed face. Leave it on for about 10 to 15 minutes (or if you have time on your hands, leave it on for longer, up to half an hour), then rinse with lukewarm water and continue with your moisturizer.

Another way to use honey in your moisturizing routine is to mix up this quick hydrating honey and egg-yolk face mask. Combine one teaspoon of honey with one egg yolk, mix well and apply to cleansed face. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water.

#2: Exfoliator

To make a gentle honey exfoliator, mix two teaspoons of honey and one teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Make a paste by mixing the ingredients together and apply to your face. Let it sit for about five minutes, then rinse by massaging your face with light circular motions.

#3: Acne Treatment

For treating acne and soothing acne-caused redness and swelling, you can mix one teaspoon of honey with several drops of tea tree oil (not more than two to three drops). Apply the mask to cleansed face, leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water.

#4: Facial Cleanser

Honey is very efficient at dissolving and removing excess oil and dirt. To make it spreadable and even more dissolving, you can combine one teaspoon of honey with one or two tablespoons of your favorite cleansing oil (like jojoba or olive oil). Rub the mixture gently onto your face, then rinse with lukewarm water (avoid the area around your eyes).

#5: Body Scrub

For this scrumptious body scrub, you'll need honey and ground almonds. Mix one tablespoon of ground almonds with one tablespoon of honey to form a paste (depending on the size of the area you want to treat, you can easily increase the quantities). Rub onto your skin using gentle circular motions, then rinse.

#6: Bath Soak

Step up your relaxation routine by giving yourself Cleopatra-worthy honey and milk bath soak. Dissolve two bigger tablespoons of raw honey in one cup of warm water first, then combine it with one cup of milk. Pour the mixture into your warm bath, and sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil. Sit back, soak, and relax.

#7: Lip Balm and Exfoliator

Honey is packed with antioxidants, enzymes, and minerals that can bring instant relief to chapped and dry lips. Simply apply raw honey to your lips and leave it on for as long as you can (even though irresistible, try not to lick it off).

Or, for an additional exfoliating effect, you can use raw, crystallized honey. The tiny sugary granules will gently exfoliate your lips while hydrating and nourishing them at the same time.

#8: Sunburn and Wound Healing

For soothing sunburns, and inflamed and irritated skin, a win-win combination would be honey and aloe vera gel. Combine one teaspoon of honey with two teaspoons of aloe vera gel and apply to the desired area. Leave for about ten minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water. This mask will bring you instant relief, plus it's gentle enough to use every day.

Risks and Side Effects of Using Honey

If you are allergic to honey, you shouldn't eat it or apply it to your skin. Also, suppose you're allergic to pollen, bees, or bee venom. In that case, you should also avoid topical application of honey and other bee by-products, such as propolis.

If you're not sure you have any of these allergies, we would encourage you to do a small patch test before applying honey to larger areas of the body. Apply a tiny amount of honey to your skin and wait for several hours. If there are no reactions in the form of redness, rash, or swelling, you're good to go. If your skin reacts in any way, discontinue using honey and wash it off of your skin immediately.

It's also important to note that honey is potentially unsafe for very young children and babies under 12 months. It can cause botulism poisoning, an intestinal disease.

Takeaway...

We could say that honey has a well-deserved place in the world of beauty and that it's one of the best home remedies for a reason. Its ability to soften, heal, moisturize, and protect the skin makes it a favorite choice among DIY beauty enthusiasts.

Although raw honey may be more expensive than other types of honey, it's still a relatively reasonable solution compared to other cosmetic products available on the market. Plus, it doesn't contain any preservatives, artificial fragrances, or dyes, making it perfectly safe for everybody (unless you're allergic to it).

We've given you a handful of reasons to try incorporating honey into your skincare routine and plenty of interesting recipes. So try some out, and we promise you won't be disappointed!

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