What are the benefits of Manuka Honey for skin care?

Guest post by

Alice Smellie

Award winning journalist Alice Smellie has written health and beauty features for leading national media outlets including The Daily Mail, Marie Claire and The Daily Telegraph.

Author views are not our own.

Honey on your face? Surely stickiness can’t be a skincare solution? Well, as it happens, if you have a few spots, or irritated or dry skin, a velvety feeling and sweet smelling cream containing Manuka Honey might be just the fix you need. The honey is named after the New Zealand Mānuka bush on whose flowers the bees feed, and it has some quite extraordinary properties.

Of course honey has been used for health and beauty reasons for centuries. Many of the historical applications have now been proven in clinical studies, and there are plenty of youthful looking fans of Manuka Honey products, including such dewy skinned beauties as Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson.1

Back in ancient times honey was used by such great nations as the Egyptians, Greek and Romans to treat wounds.2

Even back then, it was recognised (if not named) as having antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and applied to patients.

More recent science has proven that honey, and Manuka in particular, does indeed have extremely good healing powers.

A 2015 Cochrane Review (a round up of all available studies - and a gold standard of research) points out that there is high quality evidence that honey heals certain burns more swiftly than conventional dressings3. In addition, there’s evidence that it’s more effective than antiseptic for healing after surgery. It also has tissue regenerating properties4 as well as recurring swelling, pain and scarring.

This all may sound like a bit of an aside - we’re talking bathroom shelves after all, not medicine cupboards, but actually it’s great news for those seeking younger looking and radiant skin. There’s little more effective in the beauty world than medical science filtering down into aesthetic innovation or great skincare!

Naturally (see what we did there), this all boils down to the chemical composition of the sweet stuff, and the incredible ingredients which make it an ideal addition to your skincare routine.5

Honey contains masses of sugar and water. But it also contains an enzyme which produces hydrogen peroxide. That’s right - the stuff used to lighten hair. This is in minute quantities, and it kills bacteria. Therefore, it helps to clear spotty skin, but without causing any inflammation.

The exciting thing about hydrogen peroxide in honey is that it stays active for several days, so not only do existing bacteria die, but more bacteria can’t take hold.

Manuka Honey Skincare

Manuka Honey takes this activity to another level because it's not just relying on the peroxide, but also contains high levels of an antimicrobial compound called methylglyoxal (MGO). It’s this active element which makes it so special, and the more there is, the stronger the honey. It’s MGO which makes Manuka |Honey a cut above the others and a unique substance.

Honey generally has also been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties, and because of the MGO, Manuka Honey is the most effective.

This particular point was investigated by New Zealand scientists who showed that a bee protein (found in all honey) plus the MGO made Manuka more anti-inflammatory than common or garden honey6. At Manuka Doctor, the MGO level is tested twice, so they can be sure that the labelling is accurate.

Honey is also osmotic7. This means that the massive quantities of sugar in it soak up surrounding moisture, meaning that bacteria die. Again, this means that Manuka Honey skincare may be ideal if you have spot prone skin. And by creating a moist healing environment, it helps skin to retain moisture and stay hydrated. This moisturising effect helps with elasticity and the texture of your complexion.

Rather than applying Manuka Honey directly to your skin (though some swear by it as a face mask), you’re better off using the sweet-smelling products made by Manuka Doctor.

The ApiClear Balancing range contains Manuka Honey, and is ideal for those wishing to balance out oil levels or have blemish prone skin. The Anti-Redness Calming Moisturiser is a light cream which instantly hydrates without feeling in the least bit greasy.

Or if your concern is more about anti-ageing, then the ApiNourish Age Defying Serum or Repairing Skin Cream both contain Purified Bee Venom, which has been shown to have anti-wrinkle qualities8. The Skin Cream is instantly drunk up by dry skin, which is left feeling smooth and dewy.

No matter what your skin concerns, you can rest assured that you’re putting ethically harvested and proven ingredients on your face. Bee happy!

Sources
1. CELEBRITIES: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4361616/Which-manuka-honey-really-good-you.html, https://www.cochrane.org/CD005083/WOUNDS_honey-as-a-topical-treatment-for-acute-and-chronic-wounds
2. HISTORIAL USE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3048876/
3. WOUND HEALING: https://www.cochrane.org/CD005083/WOUNDS_honey-as-a-topical-treatment-for-acute-and-chronic-wounds
4. TISSUE REGENERATION: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28901255
5. CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF HONEY: http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2001/loveridge/index-page3.html, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-54528/The-healing-power-honey.html
6. MGO + INFLAMMATION: https://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10289/6661/NZBeekeepr%20ID%20of%20anti-inflammatory.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
7. OSMOSIS: https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/1702-how-honey-heals-wounds
8. BEE VENOM, WRINKLES: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4598227/

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