Are acne, aging, dryness and pigmentation your major skin issues? Using honey as a topical treatment can resolve such concerns in just a matter of weeks.
Owing to the complex procedure involved in making honey, it is endowed with magical skin benefitting properties. From brightening skin tone, delaying skin aging, preventing acne to healing major wounds, burns and infections, honey does it all. It is also suitable for most skin types and can be easily included in one’s skin care routine.
So read on to know the benefits of honey for your skin and how to use it for achieving desired results.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Says
“Honey has been used as an effective antimicrobial agent for skin infections, surgical procedures, wounds and burns. Honey also acts as an excellent humectant, and helps restore the skin barrier.”
Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor Of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
What Is Honey?
Honey  is the sticky, sweet, viscous substance made by honeybees from flower nectar, plant secretions and excreta of insects that suck on plants. After collecting the honey, the worker bees pass it on to the house bees who dry and store it in the honeycomb.
As the honey is passed from bee to bee, its pH levels and chemical composition alters to give it the therapeutic properties it is known for.
The extraction and use of honey for medical, beauty and food purposes dates back to ancient times. Archeologists have found tomb paintings in Egypt that belong to 3000 BC referring to the use of honey. The mention of honey as a food sweetener and a booster of good health is also found in the literature of Aristotle and Hippocrates.
While honey has already found its place in traditional and Ayurvedic medicines, after various researches it is now an indispensable ingredient in the modern pharmaceutical and skincare industry too.
Is Honey Good For Skin?
Honey has amazing beauty-enhancing and skin-healing properties. It is rich in various natural compounds such as flavonoids, amino acids, vitamins, phenolic acids, minerals and carotenoids. Due to its powerful chemical composition, using honey on the face daily can moisturize, protect, strengthen and heal your skin.
Dr. Zeel, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix says that, “Honey is referred to as Makshika (made by flies) and Kshaudra in Ayurvedic texts. It is categorized based on colors and the kind of plants the bees collect nectar from. Honey has been used as an effective antimicrobial agent for skin infections, surgical procedures, wounds and burns. Honey also acts an excellent humectant, and helps restore the skin barrier.”
Hundreds of varieties of honey exist in the world today. Each has a unique chemical composition and medicinal properties depending on its source of extraction and method of production.
Top 8 Benefits Of Honey For Skin
1. Brightens Uneven Skin Tone
The presence of organic acids such as gluconic acid, ascorbic acid, flavonoids such as quercetin and natural enzymes in honey make it a natural remedy for hyperpigmentation.
Topical application of honey can heal acne scars, blemishes and sun tan on your skin. It also helps to exfoliate dead cells and accelerate your cell renewal rate. It thus gives you beautiful glowing skin in a short time.
2. Helps Retain Moisture
The humectant nature of honey helps to draw in and retain essential moisture into your skin. This prevents dry skin and keeps your skin hydrated.
3. Delays Skin Aging
Honey has powerful antioxidant  properties. Phytochemicals such as flavonoids (apigenin, quercetin, chrysin), phenolic acids (ellagic, caffeic), enzymes, tocopherols and peptides work in combination to scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative stress that can damage your skin cells.
Oxidative stress is also a primary cause of premature skin aging which can be kept at bay by including honey in your skincare routine.
4. Prevents Skin Infections
Honey is a natural antimicrobial  agent which is effective against a wide range of bacterial, fungal and viral infections. It can inhibit the growth of more than 60 species of bacteria and thus prevent a range of skin diseases.
When topically applied on wounds and other skin lesions, honey’s acidic nature prevents pathogens from thriving and proliferating on the affected areas. It also strengthens your overall skin immunity and helps your body fight various health conditions.
5. Heals Skin Inflammation
Honey is often used as a topical treatment for skin inflammatory conditions such as eczema. Its osmotic effect draws away excess water from inflamed lesions and its anti-inflammatory properties inhibit certain inflammatory factors, thus reducing edema. It is also known to reduce pain and skin irritation in the affected area.
6. Anti-Acne Treatment
Applying honey on your pimples not only heals them but also prevents scarring. Honey treats acne in various ways. The enzyme glucose oxidase breaks down to form hydrogen peroxide and inhibits bacterial activity in your acne lesions.
Further, honey’s acidic  properties create an unfavorable environment for bacterial growth. Its exfoliatory abilities unclog pores and its anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling, prevent pain and promote quick healing of your acne condition.
7. Accelerates Wound Healing
Owing to honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it has been used as a wound healing  agent since ancient days. During World War I the Russians used honey therapy to prevent Sepsis. Also, Germans used honey with cod liver oil to treat wounds and burns of varying severity.
A study reported that when sterilized Manuka honey was applied on a leg amputation wound that was severely infected with Staph bacteria, it calmed the area and then ensured complete healing in as little time as 10 weeks.
8. May Prevent Skin-Cancer
Recent studies claim that honey may have anticancer properties . Moreover, honey’s anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant and ulcer healing properties help battle common cancer-causing conditions such as inflammation, infection, free radicals and ulcers in the body.
How To Use Honey For Skin Whitening?
Manuka honey or any other unpasteurized honey is considered best for fading blemishes and preparing face packs for skin whitening.
A. Honey Spot Treatment
You can use honey as a spot treatment to fade your acne scars, sun spots or blemishes on the face. Simply cleanse your face and leave it slightly damp. Now apply the honey on the pigmented areas and gently massage for better absorption. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes and wash off.
You can even leave the honey on your face overnight and wash off with lukewarm water in the morning.
B. Honey Face Packs
The following face packs help enhance your skin tone and fade hyperpigmentation.
1. Papaya And Honey
Take a cup of ripe papaya cubes and mash it to make a paste. Add a tablespoon of unpasteurised honey and apply on your skin. Let it stand for 20 minutes before washing it off with a cool rinse.
2. Lemon And Honey
Add 1 part of lemon juice to 3 parts of honey. Apply on your face, hands and other skin areas that have uneven skin tone. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before washing off with lukewarm water.
3. Turmeric, Sandalwood, Milk And Honey
Mix equal parts of turmeric and sandalwood powder. Add 1-2 tablespoons of honey and a small amount of raw milk to make a paste. Apply this mask on your face and wash off after 30 to 40 minutes.
4. Saffron, Yashtimadhu, Milk And Honey
Soak a teaspoon of saffron in a small amount of milk for an hour. Add a tablespoon of yashtimadhu and honey to this and apply on your face. Wash off after an hour for clear, bright skin.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Honey On The Face?
While honey does not have any specific side effects when applied topically, it is always advisable to do a patch test before applying a new kind of honey for the first time on your skin. However, raw honey extracted directly from honeycombs may cause skin irritations due to the presence of unwanted substances in it. Also, those who are allergic to pollen and bee products such as beeswax, bee venom must use honey with precaution.
Vedix Tip: To battle dry skin issues add honey to your choice of carrier oil and massage daily before taking a bath.
Frequently Asked Questions About Honey In Skincare
1. Is Honey Good For Oily Skin?
Using honey can benefit oily skin. This is because honey has an exfoliative action that clears sebum plugs and prevents pore-clogging. Its antibacterial properties prevent acne and its humectant nature helps maintain moisture balance. Honey being a natural antioxidant keeps oily skin healthy.
2. What Skin Type Is Honey Good For?
The antioxidant and therapeutic properties of honey make it useful for all skin types. Thus it can be safely included in one’s daily skin care routine.
3. Can One Apply Honey On The Face Daily?
Honey is safe for daily use on the face. You can either use it as a spot treatment or add it to your face masks. If the honey feels too thick and sticky, you can dilute it with a few drops of water and apply it on your face.
4. How Long Should You Leave Honey On Your Face?
Honey can be left on the face for several minutes. You can even add it to your moisturizer and apply or leave it overnight to promote skin healing.
The Last Word
Honey is nature’s most precious gift to mankind. With a plethora of skin and health benefits, honey can be used to treat most of your skin issues. However, be aware of commercial honey which has sugar syrup added to it and contains flavors and colors that imitate real honey. Pure, unpasteurized honey may be on the expensive side, but including it in your daily skin care routine can give you beautiful, problem-free, naturally glowing skin in no time.Know Your Dosha Now
1. Honey: It’s History And Religious Significance: A Review, 2014 January
2. Evidence For Clinical Use Of Honey In Wound Healing As An Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Oxidant And Anti-Viral Agent: A Review, 2013 July
3. Honey’s Ability To Counter Bacterial Infections Arises From Both Bactericidal Compounds And QS Inhibition, 2012 April
4. The Impact Of Manuka Honey Dressings On The Surface pH Of Chronic Wounds, 2008 June
5. Honey: A Reservoir For Microorganisms And An Inhibitory Agent For Microbes, 2007 September
6. Does Honey Have The Characteristics Of Natural Cancer Vaccine?, 2012 October- December
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