The Skin Saving Properties of Honey
The Skin Saving Properties of Honey.
— The secret skin ingredient for a radiant complexion.
✎ Kat Guerrero
When I lived in New Zealand, I called a little town with an abundance of fresh produce and backyard farms home. Every few weeks, my neighbour (a keen beekeeper) would come to my house and gift me a small jar of Manuka honey. In addition to her affable personality, her complexion was insane for someone that spent hours in the sun and sea over a lifetime. After a few of these neighbourly visits, I had to ask her the inevitable: her skincare secret.
Honey. Lots of honey. On the skin, in her food, and in her life.
Call me convinced.
There’s nothing as luxurious and gratifying as the translucent golden hue and buttery sweet taste of fresh honey. Turns out, the health and wellness world agrees that honey is delicious - not only for culinary delights but as a secret weapon for revitalising skin.
Bear with me as we go through a quick biology lesson:
Honey, of course, comes from bees. Honeybees need two different types of food: nectar (juice collected from the inside of flowers) and pollen (small grains on the exterior of flowers). Once honeybees do their rounds and collect pollen/nectar, they return to the hive to undergo a sophisticated and time-intensive collaboration. The honey/pollen is passed from one bee to another by mouth so they can reduce the moisture content until the nectar condenses into honey. Keep in mind the two vital actions that happen during this process: the pollination of flowers (that, by the way, the environment depends on) and the transition of nectar to honey.
History of Honey in Beauty
The ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans kept honey in their beauty and medicinal arsenal because of its powerful benefits. Historical ladies and gents, like Cleopatra, supposedly treated themselves to mixtures of milk and honey to maintain a youthful glow. In addition to having amino acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes, honey has a incredibly high level of antioxidant.
Fun fact: unprocessed, raw honey doesn’t go bad. Honey contains hydrogen peroxide, sugar, and acidity, which prevent the growth of bacteria. That’s why you’ll find honey being used for natural medicine and skincare. Honey is also revered in the skincare community because it is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and contains antioxidants.
Antibacterial: In current and past natural medicine practices, honey is highly regarded for its antibacterial property and wound-healing powers. Through the process of transforming pollen to honey, the liquid encourages the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a key oxidiser and antiseptic. Keep in mind that while all honey boasts antibacterial property, the exact levels depend on the sources of nectar.
Anti-inflammatory: Because of honey’s high levels of phenolic acids, it’s known for its anti-inflammatory properties, particularly when topically applied. Honey prevents swelling and redness from skin irritation and preserves the skin’s moisture.
Antioxidant: Honey is rich with phenolic acids and flavonoids, two bioavailable antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralise the skin from free radical production and helps create a protective barrier for the skin cells. It also firms the skin, reduces inflammation, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and encourages blood flow.
Honey’s healing properties are reflected through its ability to treat acne, slow down visual ageing, boost complexion, and unclog pores. While we love treating the skin to expertly crafted honey remedies (see list of our must-have products below), sometimes it’s nice to appreciate the healing powers of nature on their own. Before incorporating honey in your day-to-day, remember that its benefits cannot be fully appreciated unless the skin's pores are de-congested.
Our ~ natural applications ~ of honey?
Mix a honey mask: With the best quality raw honey you can find, mix one tablespoon with an essential oil of choice. Apply to your face and let sit for up to a half hour. Wipe off with a warm washcloth.
Spot-treat: Feeling like your skin is about to break out? Prevent further irritation by spot-treating acne spots overnight.
Traditional make-up remover, meet honey.
Keep in mind that not all honey has the same healing properties. Try to find local, raw, unfiltered honey. By choosing local honey, your skin will become accustomed to local pollen, which in turn builds immunity. Honey that is over-processed loses its amino acids and chemical bonds, which depletes it nutritional and biological content.
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