We’ve long known about honey’s reputation as a healing “remedy”, especially when it comes to our health. To sooth sore throats, we drink warm water with honey and lemon; we even partake of a spoonful of Manuka honey before bedtime to make sleep easier. We’ve also heard that you can apply honey to cuts to help them heal faster (a 2005 study found that topical application of honey improved the conditions of patients suffering from wounds and leg ulcers).
But what about as skincare?
For starters, honey is actually an “active” ingredient that works to draw moisture into your skin. Secondly, the anti-inflammatory properties of honey can help to soothe irritated or inflamed skin. Thirdly, our skin has a natural protective barrier that defends our skin from environmental damage. But as we age, this natural immunity is reduced. Honey, with its antioxidant properties, can help protect your skin from the oxidative damage resulting from the weakened walls of your skin.
If you’ve googled some DIY face mask recipes using ingredients you can find at home, you’ll notice that a lot of them use honey as well!
There are different grades of honey as well as types, with Manuka being one of the most beneficial. Manuka sourced from New Zealand in particular has been known for its strong levels of efficacy, which is also one of the reasons it’s a lot more expensive than your garden variety jar.
The honey is also supposed to stimulate collagen production in the skin while helping to repair damage and maintain your hydration barrier, thanks to the high natural sugar content in the honey. A study by the School of Medicine at Cardiff University in the UK actually found that a component of Manuka honey can help to stimulate immune cells in the body.
Keen to try out honey-based skincare? Kiehl’s has just launched a brand new face cream, with Manuka honey and Korean red ginseng root as key ingredients. It’s called the Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream, $95 for 50ml, and it’s supposed to be incredibly nourishing while helping your skin maintain hydration levels and also recover from skin damage.
The cream has quite a rich consistency due to the use of honey, making it best used at night. I found that after just a week of using it, my skin looks noticeably smoother than before, which is pretty impressive!
Another skincare range that uses honey is the brand Bskin, which actually has the advantage of three decades of experience in the bee wellness products industry. The skincare line includes something called B-Complex Water (B20), which is a custom blend of Jeju spring water, natural extracts of honey, royal jelly, propolis and pollen. The brand also offers a White Glow range to brighten and plump up the skin, as well as a Vita Advanced range to restore elasticity, deal with ageing, while keeping the skin hydrated.